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Youthful talent lifts Barca over Juventus

By NICK PAPADIS
College Contributor Network

For the fourth consecutive time, Juventus fell short in the UEFA Champions League Final. With an aging lineup, the Italian giants were no match for a youthful and skilled Barcelona side.

Barcelona's treble this season can largely be attributed to the youth and star power in their three star strikers. The front three, led by Lionel Messi, contributed enough goals for Barcelona to win 50 of their 60 games this season.

Messi was joined by Neymar and Luis Suarez, who both scored in the 3-1 win over Juventus in the Champions League Final.

This strike force of three of the world's top forwards was too much for the aging back line of Juventus. With 29-year-old Leonardo Bonucci, the youngest of Juventus' defenders, the Old Lady was no match for Spanish Champions.

Throughout the match, Barcelona was able to continually test veteran keeper Gianluigi Buffon. Though Buffon did an exemplary job of protecting his team's net, the continual counterattack and poor defensive effort proved to be too much for the Italian.

Barcelona offers a unique challenge that no other teams in Europe present. While most of Europe's top teams may only have goal-scoring threats coming from the center of the pitch, Barcelona's fluid style and dynamic strikers make defense difficult, especially for an aged back-four such as that of Juventus.

Not many teams have the depth or experience in defense as Juventus, but while experience can be crucial as a defender, speed is necessary to stopping Messi and Co.

Juve had many opportunities attacking, but Massimiliano Allegri's decision to try to use experience over youth and speed may have been the difference in the final.

The key to beating Barca is preventing them from scoring, which was a serious issue given the speed advantage of the Barcelona attack.

With all three goal-scorers for Barcelona being signings from the previous two seasons, the side's outlook is very bright.

Luis Enrique's side replicated the treble accomplished by Pep Guardiola in his first season as man-in-charge. The true test will be if Enrique is able to continue his success in his coming season.

Nick Papadis is a junior at American University majoring in broadcast journalism and broadcasts AU Men's Soccer amongst other sports. Nick is an avid Liverpool fan. Follow him on twitter @NPSoccerTalk
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