Monthly Archives: May 2011

Arts & photography..

Red hot chili pepper with smoke

Photography is both an art and a science. Photography allows us to express our feeling and emotions, but to do so we need to master the scientific part of the medium. Unlike a painter, who is in direct contact with his subject and his canvas, a photographer is separated from his subject by the camera and from his “canvas” by computers and printers today and by darkroom equipment previously.

The scientific aspects of photography can be both overwhelming and fascinating, so much so that for some photographers photography comes to be just that: a scientific process that they attempt to master over their lifetime. However, to achieve mastery of the technical side of photography is to address only one of the two aspects of photography. The result is often technically excellent photographs that lack emotion and “seeing” qualities.

What's difference between arts & photography..?

From equipment reviews, to image processing techniques, to tips on how to be a more efficient photographer, to stories about what works and what doesn’t, there is no shortage of material on the subject. Nothing wrong with that. In fact, I have contributed my share of articles on this subject and I will continue to do so. Again, the scientific aspect of photography is very important and learning as much as you can about it is certainly worth your time and efforts.

However, learning about the artistic aspect of photography is just as important. Unfortunately, there is a much lesser amount of information on photography as art. Far fewer essays are being written, far fewer discussions are taking place, and far less information, help and tips are available. It is as if photographers, for the most part, discovered how much they have to learn about photographic science and, overwhelmed and enchanted by equipment and technique, stopped there and looked no further. It may also be that some photographers, or photographic instructors, are uncomfortable writing about photography as art, or lack the practice and knowledge to do so.

 

Copyright 2011 by Reflections on Photography & Arts

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United searching “World’s Best”…?

Welcome to Manchester United

Manchester United have money (apparently) and the Glazers have encouraged Fergie to go for the “world’s best players” (apparently). So forget about being humble or ‘practical’, and be a bit more bold and less guarded than before to think big about the big name(s) we could be going for this summer.

• Sir Alex Ferguson told to target world’s best players
• Owners ‘relaxed’ about spending large sums on transfers

Manchester United’s owners have made it clear to Sir Alex Ferguson that he has a substantial transfer budget at his disposal for big-name targets during a summer in which the club’s bank account is expected to swell to more than £160m.

The £17m signing of the Atlético Madrid goalkeeper David de Gea will not be the last big signing during a close season in which the club will spend more than in recent years, and Ferguson has been given the green light to target the best players in the world.

The Glazers have consistently maintained that the manager has funds to spend, but fans have questioned the club’s ability to compete for the biggest names in recent years, amid concern at the club’s debt levels and interest commitments.

Having smashed the pay ceiling to give Wayne Rooney a contract worth around £200,000 a week in the wake of his threat to leave, the owners are said to be relaxed about the prospect of Ferguson breaking the bank to sign a marquee name.

It was the sale of Cristiano Ronaldo to Real Madrid for £80m in 2009, followed by the departure of Carlos Tevez to Manchester City weeks later, that raised concerns among Manchester United fans worried that the demands of servicing the loans loaded on to the club had left it unable to compete for the best players.

Club insiders say that any acquisitions will have to fit the template followed by Manchester United under the Glazers, with an emphasis on younger players who will retain value. The club has bought one player in the past 14 years who was over 27 and cost more than £3m – Dimitar Berbatov for £31m.

Wesley Sneijder

Inter Milan boss Leonardo has intimated he is prepared to sell midfield star Wesley Sneijder. Speaking after the end of the Serie A season the Brazilian did not move to end interest in the Dutchman. Instead, he said that ‘no player is non-transferable’ with Manchester United said to be in pole position to land the midfield maestro as a replacement for veteran Paul Scholes.

According to Manchester United’s most recent accounts, the club have £113m in the bank. That has fuelled suspicions that the owners will withdraw some of it in dividends but insiders claim it is there for transfers and to guard against unforeseen events.

That figure is expected to rise to more than £160m by the end of the summer, if it follows the pattern of previous seasons, once season-ticket revenue for the coming season is banked. Despite racking up a record pre-tax loss of £109m last year, much of that was attributable to one-off costs associated with a £500m bond issue.

The chief executive, David Gill, has repeatedly stated that the club will comfortably be able to pay the £45m annual interest on those bonds, especially as it now owns 26% of them itself, and still has about £60m in cash every year thanks to global growth in commercial and TV revenues.

Copyright 2011 by manutdtalk.com & click-manchester

Glory, Glory Man United..!!

Manchester United celebrate

Manchester United lifted the Premier League trophy at Old Trafford on Sunday, a week after clinching the title at Blackburn.

After a dramatic final day of the season Sir Alex Ferguson’s men got their hands on the trophy for the first time in two years. United finished nine points clear of nearest rivals Chelsea.

Having beaten Blackpool 4-2 – thanks to goals from Park Ji-Sung, Anderson, an Ian Evatt own goal and Michael Owen – Ferguson and his side lifted the trophy in front of their adoring fans, sparking wild scenes of celebration at the Theatre of Dreams.

Vidic lifts the Barclays Premier League trophy

Edwin van der Sar played his last game at Old Trafford and said after the game: ‘I want to thank the manager, he bought me six years ago, maybe a couple of years too late. I wish I’d done it [joined United] earlier.

‘I have thoroughly enjoyed my time here. The fans and the other players have been magnificent. I’ll always keep a warm place in my heart for Manchester United, the world’s biggest club.’

Van der Sar still has one more competitive match to play of course – the Champions League final against Barcelona. ‘See you next Saturday. Let’s get that trophy,’ he added.

Wayne Rooney has admitted Manchester United were flattered by the eventual size of their title triumph.

United finished nine points clear of runners-up Chelsea, their biggest margin of victory for more than a decade.

It hardly tells the whole story of an arduous campaign – if the Blues had won at Old Trafford three weeks ago, they would have gone top themselves.

It sounds easy but it wasn’t, nowhere near,’ said Rooney. ‘That Chelsea game was massive. If we had lost that game they would have been in the leading position. But we showed our true spirit to win after that, Chelsea’s season was over.’

Although United led through Park Ji-sung, once more they were forced to delve into their huge reserves of spirit to overcome a Blackpool side who were eventually condemned to the drop.
Anderson netted a second-half leveller before an Ian Evatt own goal put the champions in front at Old Trafford.

Michael Owen made it 4-2 and ensured United head into Saturday’s Champions League final confrontation with Barcelona at Wembley in confident mood.

A banner displaying Manchester United's 19 league titles behind the statue of Sir Matt Busby

‘You never get bored of celebrations like this,’ said Rooney. ‘This is what you play football to do, to win trophies and medals. The first half of the season was a bit of a write off for me but since the turn of the year I feel I have contributed.

Ferguson holds on to his manager of the year gong

‘We have won games and I have really enjoyed it. It has been a squad effort.  The manager said last week there are 21 players who qualify for a medal, which shows how much we have used the squad and spread the games out amongst the players.’

Copyright 2011 by The Daily Mail

Battlefield 3 leaps ahead of its time..!!

GAME INFO

Battlefield 3 leaps ahead of its time with the power of Frostbite™ 2, the next instalment of DICE’s cutting-edge game engine. This state-of-the-art technology is the foundation on which Battlefield 3 is built, delivering enhanced visual quality, a grand sense of scale, massive destruction, dynamic audio and incredibly lifelike character animations. As bullets whiz by, walls crumble, and explosions throw you to the ground, the battlefield feels more alive and interactive than ever before. In Battlefield 3, players step into the role of the elite U.S. Marines where they will experience heart-pounding missions across diverse locations including Paris, Tehran and New York.

Pre-order Battlefield 3 to receive the digital expansion pack

Frostbite 2 – Battlefield 3 introduces Frostbite 2, the incredible technology that takes animation, destruction, lighting, scale and audio to new heights.  Built upon this powerful game engine, Battlefield 3 immerses players physically and emotionally to the world around them like never before.

Feel the Battle — Feel the impact of bullets and explosions, drag your fallen comrades into safety, and mount your weapon on almost any part of the terrain.  Battlefield 3’s cutting edge animation, spectacular visuals and real as hell battle gameplay attack your senses and make you feel the visceral warrior’s experience like no other FPS.

Unparalleled Vehicle Warfare — The best online vehicle warfare experience gets even better with a fitting sonic boom as fighter jets headline an impressive lineup of land, air and sea vehicles. Other returning fan favourite features include 64 players for PC and prone.

Urban Combat — Take the fight to iconic and unexpected places in the USA, Middle East, and Europe including claustrophobic streets, metropolitan downtowns, and open, vehicle-friendly landscapes as you fight your way through the war of tomorrow.

Copyright 2011 by EA Sports/Battlefield3

Finally.. Arrival of a record 19th league title at Old Trafford

Sir Alex Ferguson is confident United will win the title

Sir Alex Ferguson hailed the imminent arrival of a record 19th league title at Old Trafford after Manchester United’s victory over closest challengers Chelsea. United need a point from their last two games to clinch the title and edge ahead of Liverpool’s 18 championships. Manager Ferguson vowed that his team would not make any mistakes. He said: ‘We will get the point we need. There is no doubt about it.’

Title is ours.. Red Devils !!

Wayne Rooney was involved in one moment of controversy when he appeared to aim two fingers at Chelsea fans in the first half. However, it was difficult to tell if that was indeed his intention. Rooney, who is no stranger to controversy and who picked up a two-game ban for swearing into a camera at West Ham only last month, was not available for comment.

Ferguson was understandably delighted with his side, adding: ‘It’s fantastic being the most successful team in the country in terms of championship victories. ‘As soon as we got that first one in 1992 the door opened to us. It’s an incredible achievement. I would not have believed this all those years ago. But we improved and improved.’

Chicharito opens the scoring for Manchester United

United were given the perfect start when Mexican Javier Hernandez scored after 36 seconds. Captain Nemanja Vidic added a second before a disappointing Chelsea team pulled a goal back through Frank Lampard to make United sweat on victory. ‘We do it all the time,’ said Ferguson. ‘We could have scored six in the second half but we didn’t. All those poor souls in the stand were sitting there having heart attacks and biting their nails. I was one of them.

Captain Vidic celebrates scoring United's second goal

‘But I thought we did really well on the whole. We kept going forward and creating chances and I thought the players were magnificent. ‘We will give Blackburn and Blackpool 100 per cent respect. They are great clubs and are our neighbours and we don’t want to see either of them go down. But we have to do our job.’

Asked if his team could falter in sight of the line like the racehorse Devon Loch in the 1956 Grand National, Ferguson added: ‘Don’t mention Devon Loch. My dad backed that horse!’ For Chelsea coach Carlo Ancelotti, it was a dispiriting afternoon. Ferguson gave the Italian backing in his programme notes, writing: ‘He doesn’t deserve to be questioned or his future queried the way it has been this season.’

Nevertheless, Ancelotti faces a crucial meeting with Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich at the end of the season. He said: ‘You know my position. I would like to stay but it’s the decision of the club. I don’t know if this game reflects badly on me. They must take into consideration all the season. I’m honest to say we didn’t do our best this season. It can happen. Last year was fantastic. This year was a little bit different.

‘The players have done well and I want to thank them.  For two months we were  the best team in the Premier League. But we didn’t do  our best today.’

United now need just a point to seal the Premier League crown and move clear of Liverpool as the most prolific championship winners of all time. Sir Alex Ferguson hails high & mighty Manchester United..!!

Copyright 2011 by The Daily Mail & The Sun

Beckham and son escape injury and citation after 405 Freeway accident

Beckham and his son Brooklyn escaped uninjured after the multiple car collision

David Beckham and his 12-year-old son Brooklyn had a ‘lucky escape’ when their car was involved in a multiple-car pile-up yesterday on one of the busiest freeways in Los Angeles.

The 36-year-old former England captain and his son, who were both wearing seatbelts, were unhurt in the rush hour collision. LA Galaxy star Beckham was at the wheel of his luxury black Cadillac Escalade when it became the third car in the pile-up. The collision resulted from a gold Mitsubishi stalling in the fast lane due to mechanical problems, a California Highway Patrol spokeswoman said.

‘Yesterday at approximately 9.13am he [Beckham] was involved with a collision on the southbound 405 Freeway just south of Artesia Boulevard,’ said the spokeswoman. The accident happened on the 405 Freeway, near Torrance, a small coastal community just outside of Los Angeles. Beckham and his son were described as shaken but not in need of medical treatment.

His two younger sons and pregnant wife Victoria were not in the car at the time. The driver of the Mitsubishi, a 40-year-old Los Angeles man, was taken to hospital after complaining of pain but was not seriously injured, the spokeswoman said.

A source close to the footballer told MailOnline that the collision was not serious. ‘The biggest commotion was when people realised it was David Beckham,’ he said. Police were at the scene but Beckham was not arrested or questioned. 

A second source added: ‘David and Brooklyn were shaken up and shocked by the experience but medically they were both fine. ‘It was a lucky escape and both were wearing seatbelts, otherwise they would have been more seriously hurt. ‘The car that stalled was in the car pool lane on the highway. It’s a fast lane for cars with two or more passengers.

Torrance, a small coastal community, is located south west of Los Angeles

‘When it stalled, David and the other drivers swerved to avoid it but they couldn’t get out of the way in time.  ‘David’s car was taken away from the scene by a tow truck. It had lost a front bumper in the collision.’ The Beckhams only recently returned to Los Angeles after attending the royal wedding in London.

Copyright 2011 by The Daily Mail & Associated Press

Find a Parking Spot thru smartphones

A smartphone app in San Francisco

SAN FRANCISCO — It is the urban driver’s most agonizing everyday experience: the search for an empty parking place. It is part sleuthing and part blood sport. Circling, narrowly missing a spot, outmaneuvering other motorists to finally ease into a space only to discover that it is off limits during working hours.

In this city, it is also a vexing traffic problem. Drivers cruising for parking spots generate 30 percent of all downtown congestion, city officials estimate. Now San Francisco professes to have found a solution — a phone app for spot-seekers that displays information about areas with available spaces.

The system, introduced last month, relies on wireless sensors embedded in streets and city garages that can tell within seconds if a spot has opened up. Monique Soltami, a TV food and wine reporter, said she and her sister spent 25 minutes on Friday trying to park. “We were praying to the parking god that we’d find a spot,” she said. “If we had the app, we would not have to pray to the parking god.”

But the system could come with serious consequences. Safety advocates say that drivers on the prowl for parking could wind up focusing on their phones, not the road. “It could be really distracting,” said Daniel Simons, a professor of psychology at the University of Illinois, where he studies the science of attention. And, he said, it could also be dangerous: “Most people are looking for parking spaces in places that have a lot of traffic and a lot of pedestrians.”

City officials acknowledge the potential problem. They are urging drivers to pull over before they pull up the city’s iPhone app, or to do so before they leave home. But the spots can disappear quickly, as any circling driver knows, and for plugged-in motorists in the habit of texting or glancing at the GPS, the urge to use the parking app is certain to mount as the frustration does.

Nathaniel Ford, executive director of the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, said safety could actually improve if drivers quickly found a spot instead of circling and getting frustrated. “I get you off the streets as quickly as possible,” he said.

City drivers can testify to the frustration. Ms. Soltami drives into the city several times a week, she said, and spends 20 to 30 minutes searching for a spot each time. “That’s at least an hour I lose every week just looking for parking. It’s very frustrating,” she said.

City officials in San Francisco introduced the app

She said she had heard about the new app, but had not yet downloaded it.

The $20 million parking project here, called SFpark, is backed by the Transportation Department and the Federal Highway Administration, which are looking into how to ease congestion and driver angst by making the most of limited parking.

San Francisco has put sensors into 7,000 metered parking spots and 12,250 spots in city garages. If spaces in an area open up, the sensors communicate wirelessly with computers that in turn make the information available to app users within a minute, said Mr. Ford, of the transportation agency. On the app, a map shows which blocks have lots of places (blue) and which are full (red).

San Francisco’s is by far the most widespread approach that several cities, universities and private parking garages are experimenting with.

Last December, Los Angeles worked with a company called Streetline to introduce a system covering spaces in West Hollywood, and it is expanding the program elsewhere. Streetline has since set up smaller projects on Roosevelt Island in New York City’s East River, as well as at the University of Maryland and in Forth Worth, Tex.

More than 12,000 people have downloaded San Francisco’s app, which is available now only for the iPhone but which city officials say they hope to bring to all similar devices.

Eventually officials hope to be able to make regular adjustments to pricing on parking meters — which can be programmed remotely — and at garages so they can spread out demand, raising prices in areas where competition is fiercest and lowering it elsewhere.

Donald Shoup, a professor of urban planning at the University of California, Los Angeles, who studies parking issues and is serving as an adviser on the San Francisco project, said cities and traffic experts were closely watching the federally funded experiments in San Francisco and Los Angeles.

“If it works in San Francisco, the whole world will take notice,” Professor Shoup said.

Research conducted by Professor Shoup found that drivers looking for parking in a particular 15-block district in Los Angeles drove an estimated 950,000 miles a year, equivalent to four trips to the moon.

Those wasted miles are bad for the environment, driver anxiety, the efficiency of bus systems and pedestrian safety, Mr. Ford said. San Francisco has the dubious honor of having the highest rate among big cities for accidents involving pedestrians and cars.

When it is started up, the city’s parking app warns drivers not to use the system while in motion. But safety advocates said that might not be sufficient. After all, they say, texting while driving is illegal in California and in many states, but a number of surveys, including one by the Pew Research Center, show that many Americans do it anyway. .

Elizabeth Stampe, executive director of Walk San Francisco, a pedestrian advocacy group, said she hoped the new parking app would lead to fewer accidents.

“It’s an innovative idea,” she said. “The safe way for people to use the device is for them to pull over, which they know they should do. The question is whether they will.”

But Ms. Soltami, the TV reporter, said using the app would probably join the array of activities already performed by drivers.

“We’re already looking at Google Maps and Facebook on the phone while we drive,” she said. “Aren’t we always looking at something on our phone, or changing the radio, or drinking coffee? You’re always slightly distracted when you’re driving.”

Copyright 2011 by The New York Times

Bring on Barca..!! We’ll thwart you to pieces…

Glory Glory Man United

Manchester United will head to Wembley seeking Champions League final revenge against Barcelona later this month after sweeping aside Schalke in their semi-final second leg at Old Trafford.

Sir Alex Ferguson’s United side have the opportunity to erase memories of their 2009 final defeat by Barcelona in Rome and head to Wembley full of confidence after one of the most one-sided knockout ties of recent years.

Ferguson said: ‘We have no need to be frightened of Barcelona and there is no reason why we should not go to the final full of confidence. Our form has been good and we are having a fantastic season.

‘There should be no terror and we can’t be frightened out of our skin. Our job is to find a solution to what Barcelona do. ‘Of course I would prefer to be facing Brechin in the final, with the greatest of respect to them! ‘But at the start of the season I would have wanted to steer clear of Barcelona until the final and we have managed to do that.’

Valencia goal helps Man Utd to their 4-1 victory

The fact the final is at Wembley, where United lifted their first European crown in 1968, will add to the sense of occasion. Barca also like Wembley. They won the first of their three European Cups in London 19 years ago. This was officially the most one-sided semi-final in Champions League history. No team had ever triumphed by five goals on aggregate.

United beat Benfica 4-1 to lift the European Cup for the first time at Wembley in 1968. But they lost the 2009 final 2-0 to Barca in Rome.

Van der Sar added: “It will be a great occasion and hopefully a better outcome than a couple of years ago.”

Asked if there was a sense of destiny about United getting to Wembley after their legendary 1968 triumph, Ferguson said: “Let’s hope so – this club has done destiny many times.”

Old Trafford been magnificient atmosphere when Red Devils fan sing & chant’s “Wembley, Wembley… We’re the famous Man United & We’re going to Wembley”…

Sir Alex doesn't believe United have anything to be scared of when facing Barca in the final

Ferguson has often looked back on the 2-0 defeat by Barcelona in Rome with regret, claiming that his team simply got things wrong on the night. He added: ‘They are at their peak but we are more experienced and our form has been good.’  Ferguson made eight changes from the team that lost in the Barclays Premier League to Arsenal on Sunday but the gamble paid off. Ferguson said: ‘I did not sleep thinking about it. I woke up four times and picked four different teams, but when you see them produce a performance like that you think there is no reason not to play these players. Barcelona are the team of the moment and it’s fantastic to watch, but we know what we have to do.’

Pep shocked eyes seen United demolition against FC Schalke 04.. Red Devils will fire us at Wembley.. God save us from them..!!

Ferguson revealed he may speak to his friend, the Real Madrid manager Jose Mourinho, before the final. Real lost their Champions League semi-final to the Catalan team but did recently beat them in the Spanish Cup final. Ferguson added: ‘I speak to him a lot and I spoke to him last week. We have our own knowledge of Barcelona, but Jose is very helpful that way and you can always take information.’

Copyright 2011 by Daily Mail & The Sun

Wembley, here we come.. Barcelona 1 Real Madrid 1 (agg 3-1)

We're coming to get you Red Devils

Barcelona are on their way to Wembley. At the end of Spain’s fourth clasico in 18 days, Catalonia erupted with pleasure at the joyous fact that Barca have reached their third Champions League final in six years.

They won the first two and given that Wembley was the scene of the club’s first European Cup in 1992, and that manager Pep Guardiola was part of that dreamy team assembled by Johan Cruyff, Barcelona will relish London on May 28th.

Ronaldo was incensed by the performance of the referee

After last week’s spite-filled first leg in the Bernabeu, this was an altogether calmer encounter. Until afterwards, that is, when Real Madrid players led by Cristiano Ronaldo lined up to re-state Jose Mourinho’s conspiracy theories.

‘Barcelona are a very difficult team to beat because they get outside help,’ said Ronaldo.

‘The difference between the two teams was the referee,” added Xabi Alonso.

Mourinho’s assistant Aitor Karanka also chipped in. ‘Mourinho was right,’ he said. ‘He said that it would be impossible for us to go through. Tonight proved that it was impossible and 100 million people saw it.’

There were other claims long into the night. It felt orchestrated and churlish. This was not a dirty game, it was the first of the season’s five clasicos in which Real did not have a player sent off.

As Madrid moaned, Barca players danced. In a memorable scene just after the final whistle a circle of them tossed Eric Abidal in the air. The Frenchman was diagnosed with a tumor less than two months ago but his recovery has been of near Lazarus proportions. He was introduced by Guardiola as a 90th minute substitute.

These were images Catalans will treasure. The football world will also have breathed a sigh of relief. Although there was enough niggle for there to be six bookings – 5-1 to Real Madrid – referee Franck De Bleeckere kept a lid on the tension by showing restraint.

The players participated too – in the main – and while there was a pitch intruder just after half-time and a flare thrown from Barcelona seats into the travelling fans’ area, Uefa will have a shorter list to deal with than last week.

Whether it was the hullabaloo that met the angst-ridden first leg, or that Real had to chase the match, this was a far better football occasion. There was no ‘kettling’ of the referee.

Barcelona may also point out that the absence of malice in the shape of Mourinho should not be overlooked. Banned from the visitors’ dugout after the raucous first leg, Mourinho failed to get off the Real team bus and was said to be watching on TV in his hotel room. It was a gesture he made at Chelsea during a previous Uefa ban six years ago.

From there Mourinho saw his team play with considerably more adventure and personality than seven days earlier.

Led admirably by Alonso and Ronaldo on the pitch, Real contributed to a match that was open from the first minute. They also had Iker Casillas to thank as Barcelona gradually overcame their historic opponents midway through the first half and threatened to submerge them.

Stopped in his tracks

Lionel Messi was suddenly in his element then having been quiet by his noisy standards. Still just 23, the magical Argentine was a driving presence hell-bent on scoring his 53rd goal of the season. Eleven of Real’s 29 Madrid fouls were on Messi.

Casillas thwarted his scoring ambition but one of the many attractions of this Barca side is that they have diamonds everywhere. Andres Iniesta’s art was missing in Madrid last week but when he speared a superb diagonal pass to Pedro in the 54th minute, Barca had their lead.

Pedro, one of those who causes consternation with his occasional acting, controlled the pass equally skilfully and struck it beyond Casillas. Even Mourinho would be prepared to acknowledge this was a ‘clean’ goal in more than one way.

To their credit Real showed character of the sporting sort after that. Needing to score first to put their hosts on edge, Gonzalo Higuain had a ‘goal’ disallowed two minutes into the second half – which provoked Ronaldo’s “outside help” statement. Yet Ronaldo threw himself to the turf in the build-up.

So Pedro’s goal made it 3-0 on aggregate but nine minutes after it, Angel Di Maria, a willing worker all night, smacked the post and Marcelo was there to bounce in the rebound.

Eric Abidal made an emotional return

With over 25 minutes left a quick second would have changed the atmosphere. But Madrid never really came close to that and Mourinho – and his bosses – will surely reflect that had they displayed the same attacking conviction in their own stadium they could be at Wembley.

Instead it is Barca, probably to face Manchester United. Sir Alex Ferguson was expected here and he will have seen familiar talents. Guardiola’s side defeated United 2-0 in Rome three years ago and seven of their starting XI from then were on show.

Barcelona goal against Real Madrid

Barcelona await United or Schalke in the Champions League final at Wembley after finishing the job against bitter rivals Real Madrid.

The tie on the night finished 1-1, enough to send Pep Guardiola’s side through 3-1 on aggregate following their first-leg triumph at the Bernabeu.

In a far better advert for Spanish football, there was a controversial moment when Gonzalo Higuain had a goal ruled out for a foul when Cristiano Ronaldo tumbled into Javier Mascherano. Soon afterwards, a wonderful pass by Andres Iniesta split the Real defence and Pedro calmly fired home to ease any nerves for the Catalan giants. But Real made a fight of things with Marcelo levelling after Angel di Maria’s unselfish reaction to his original shot coming back off a post.

Wembley here we come!

Guardiola rejected Madrid’s conspiracy claims once again. He said: ‘It has been a tough 20 days and we have played the richest team in the world many times. The referee may have had an influence but we were very good in the second match.’ Whatever happened to dignity in defeat?

Of the return to Wembley, he happily added: ‘Football’s coming home.’

Barca will compete in the showpiece event on May 28 with the Red Devils looking to set up a repeat of the 2009 final in Rome.

Copyright 2011 by Daily Mail, The Sun &  manutd.com