.- L’Osservatore Romano, that Vatican's newspaper, has praised the F.C. Barcelona soccer team for its example of sportsmanship in the European Champions League final against Manchester United, which was played Wednesday at the Olympic Stadium in Rome.
The newspaper praised Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola, the players and the fans for their exemplary conduct “in an atmosphere that is often plagued with maddening controversies and criminal violence.”
LOR noted the impressive “technique and imagination” of the Spanish team and offered special praise for Guardiola, who as a first-time coach has won the titles of several important European tournaments.
The paper noted that Guardiola could have used the moment to speak about his own sense of satisfaction over the triumph, but instead he chose to begin his post-game remarks by paying tribute to the Italian player Paolo Maldini, who is retiring after 25 years in the game and whose last game was marred by a group of fanatics who defamed him with offensive posters.
LOR also noted the sportsmanship of Manchester coach Alex Ferguson, who was graceful in accepting the team’s loss and in praising Barcelona for its victory.