Barcelona's triumph leads to violence

BARCELONA, Spain — More than 100 people were arrested and 153 injured in the Catalonia region as celebrations turned violent following Barcelona's victory over Manchester United in the Champions League final.

Polic said 119 arrests were made in Bacelona for public disorder, vandalism and disobeying police orders, while 15 others were apprehended in the Catalan towns of Lleida, Tarragona, Girona, Granollers and Igualada.

Eighty-nine police officers were among the injured, with two taken to a hospital.

Barcelona city hall said that around 500 people were involved in the violence, which caused damage valued at between $102,700 and $138,900.

Trouble had also flared at previous celebrations in Barcelona earlier this month after the team won the Copa del Rey and then the Spanish league title.

An estimated 100,000 jubilant supporters gathered at the Canaletes fountain on Las Ramblas, the traditional site for celebrating the club's wins, soon after the team beat defending champion Manchester United 2-0 in Rome on Wednesday.

Some lit flares and set off fireworks to toast a victory that meant Barcelona had become the first Spanish team to win the treble of Europe's top club competition together with the domestic league and cup in a single season.

Only four European teams have previously achieved the feat — United, Ajax, PSV Eindhoven and Celtic.

Barcelona, which has now won the Champions League three times, was to arrive at the city's El Prat airport later today. The club advised supporters not to travel to the airport as they would not be able to see the players.

The team was then scheduled to travel on an open-topped bus in a parade through the city to its Camp Nou stadium, where players would address the crowd amid music, lights and fireworks.

Today, Spain's press hailed Barcelona and its first-season coach, 38-year-old Pep Guardiola, for the greatest season in the club's history.

National El Pais said Barcelona "crowns itself the best team in the world," while sports daily Marca described the Catalan team as "a work of art."

Sports daily As added: "Actually, yes, perfection does exist," in praise of the Catalan team's silky skills.

Guardiola, the sixth man to have won the European Cup as both player and coach, received lavish praise.

"No coach in the world has achieved what Pep has in his first season. How do we thank Pep for changing the dynamics of the dressing room and producing the best football ever seen?" asked Barcelona-based daily Sport.

Barcelona has the chance to win three more titles later this year.

In August, it plays Athletic Bilbao in the Spanish Super Cup and Shakhtar Donetsk in the European Super Cup. Guardiola's team will then compete in December for the Club World Cup in Abu Dhabi, the United Arab Emirates.


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