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Barcelona vs Manchester United on Final Champion League 2009

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Manchester United centre-back Rio Ferdinand says he is "fine" to play against Barcelona in Wednesday's Champions League final.


The 30-year-old has been out for three weeks with a calf injury and missed the 1-0 win at Hull on Sunday.

"There's no way I'd play if my fitness was detrimental to the team - there's no problems. I am fine," he said.

Barcelona's Thierry Henry and Andres Iniesta appear to have overcome their injuries and trained on Monday.

However, coach Pep Guardiola, is remaining tight-lipped about the availability of both players.

"We still have one training session," said Guardiola.

"We will see what their condition is. If they are well, they will play.

"Of course I am confident because they are here and they are with us and for us."

Striker Henry, who played against Barca on the losing Arsenal team in the 2006 final, has had a ligament problem since beating Real Madrid 6-2 on 2 May, while midfielder Iniesta has been struggling with a thigh injury.

Barcelona midfielder Xavi Hernandez is optimistic the two players will take part in Rome.

"The overall impression is good, as much for the players as us knowing we can have them," he said.

Barca have won the Spanish league and cup titles and reached the Champions League final in coach Guardiola's first campaign at the Nou Camp.

Henry and Iniesta will travel with the squad, along with young defenders Alberto Botia and Marc Muniesa, the 17-year-old who was sent off on his Barca debut in Saturday's 1-0 home defeat by Osasuna.


It was also announced on Monday that Switzerland's Massimo Busacca will be the referee for the Champions League final.

The 40-year-old refereed the all-Spanish Uefa Cup title match between Sevilla and Espanyol in 2007, as well as the United and Barcelona Champions League semi-final last season.

Ferdinand will be delighted to be on the mend, having not played since the Champions League semi-final second-leg win over Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium on 5 May.

Jonny Evans, impressive at the back for United throughout the season, has been on stand-by to partner Nemanja Vidic in case Ferdinand fails to recover.

Despite Barcelona boasting the creativity of the likes of Hernandez, Samuel Eto'o and Lionel Messi, United's Patrice Evra believes his team can use last year's semi-final win against their Spanish opposition as inspiration.

The French left-back said: "I was confident before the games because I train every day against players like Cristiano Ronaldo, Carlos Tevez and Wayne Rooney. You have a lot of quality there."

The match has been dubbed "the dream final" by some, with two of Europe's most attacking teams and Guardiola says there is no question of his side abandoning their principles in the biggest match of the season.

"You either play with ambition or you have no chance," he said.

"We will go to Rome with the aim of showing the world what we have done all year."


Man Utd (from): Van der Sar, Kuszczak, O'Shea, Rafael, Neville, Ferdinand, Vidic, Evans, Evra, Nani, Ronaldo, Scholes, Anderson, Carrick, Giggs, Park, Rooney, Tevez, Berbatov, Welbeck, Macheda.

BIG MATCH STATS

This will be the 10th meeting between FC Barcelona and Manchester United in European competition. United have won three times, Barcelona have won twice and there have been four draws.

The two clubs have previously played each other in a European final, Manchester United emerging 2-1 winners of the 1991 Cup Winners' Cup final.

Barcelona have been eliminated from European competition by the Red Devils on three occasions, but have themselves never knocked United out over one or two legs.

The first ever encounter between the clubs in the Champions League was in October 1994 and ended in a 2-2 draw. Paul Scholes came on as a substitute in the 66th minute and Barcelona's current head coach Josep Guardiola played the whole match for Barca.

Scholes and Ryan Giggs both scored in the 3-3 Champions League draw against the Spaniards at Old Trafford in September 1998, and Scholes also scored United's winner in last season's semi-final against Barca.

CLUB FORM

FC BARCELONA

This is their 16th European final (excluding Super Cups); nine of the previous 15 have been won, including their last two. It is their sixth final in the Champions Cup/Champions League and they are going for their third win.

Since beating Arsenal in the 2006 Champions League final, they have played eight European matches against English opposition and won just once.

Their participation in European competition has been ended by an English club in three of the last four seasons, most recently by Manchester United in last season's semi-finals.

Unbeaten in their six CL matches but the last three have been drawn.

Need to score one goal to total 850 in European competition (including Super Cups), but defeat would take their total of matches lost in Europe to 100 (including Super Cups). Also three goals shy of conceding 200 in Champions Cup/Champions League matches.

Aiming to become the first Spanish club to win a triple of league, cup and Champions Cup/Champions League.

MANCHESTER UNITED

Playing in their fifth European final (excluding Super Cups) and defending a 100% record in such matches; participated in three CC/CL finals and won the lot.

The first club since Valencia CF (2000 and 2001) to reach successive Champions League finals; victory will see them becoming the first club to win two successive Champions League titles.

Five of their last six matches against Spanish opposition have ended goalless with only last season's CL semi-final second leg against Barcelona (1-0 win) bucking the trend. United have not lost to Spanish opposition in their last seven fixtures.

Unbeaten in 25 Champions League matches, a competition record.

The only club to complete two unbeaten Champions League seasons (1998-99 and 2007-08) and can make it a third if they avoid defeat here.

Five goals short of 500 scored in European competition (including Super Cups).

Aiming to become the first English club to claim quadruple honours of league, League Cup, World Club Championship and Champions Cup/Champions League.

KEY PLAYER NOTES

Barcelona's Lionel Messi is the Champions League's top scorer this season with eight goals. However, he has failed to score against English opposition in 10 Champions League matches in his career.

If selected, Andres Iniesta will be making his 50th appearance in a Champions League match. He made his CL debut on 29 October 2002 playing for the whole of Barcelona's 1-0 win at Club Brugge.

Dani Alves and Eric Abidal are both suspended for the Champions League final. Carles Puyol returns from suspension.

Current Barcelona central defender Gerard Pique began his career at Manchester United.

Manchester United goalkeeper Edwin van der Sar will be playing in a Champions League final for the fourth time and will be only the seventh player to play in so many finals.

Van der Sar will become the third oldest person ever - behind Italians Dino Zoff and Paolo Maldini - to play in a CC/CL final.

Van der Sar, Paul Scholes, Ryan Giggs, Gary Neville and Wes Brown can all win the Champions League for the third time in their careers. Ten players have already achieved this.

Cristiano Ronaldo has scored four goals in this season's knockout phase and is joint top scorer since the group phase with Barcelona's Thierry Henry and Chelsea's Didier Drogba.

However, Ronaldo has failed to score in his six matches against Spanish opposition and missed a third minute penalty in the first leg of last season's CL semi-final against Barca.

Wayne Rooney is the only player from either squad to have played all 12 of his club's Champions League matches this season.

Darren Fletcher is suspended for this year's Champions League final.

OTHER MISCELLANEOUS FACTS

Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson can become only the second person ever, after Bob Paisley, to win the Champions Cup/Champions League three times as head coach.

He can also equal Giovanni Trapattoni's record of five European trophies (excluding Super Cups) as head coach.

The 67 year old Scot is the most decorated manager in English and Scottish football with 31 major titles (excluding the World Club Championship).

In all Sir Alex has won 33 pieces of silverware as Manchester United manager; 11 Premier League titles, five FA Cups, three League Cups, two Champions League titles, the 2008 Club World Cup, the 1992 Super Cup, the 1991 Uefa Cup, the 1999 Inter-Continental Cup, and the FA Charity/Community Shield eight times (one of which was shared).

FC Barcelona head coach Josep Guardiola is the eighth person to reach the Champions Cup/Champions League final in his first ever season as a head coach.

Guardiola will be the third youngest coach to win the Champions Cup/Champions League if Barcelona finish on top. He will be the youngest winning head coach in the Champions League era if Barcelona win.

Guardiola can also become the sixth head coach to win the competition as player and head coach. Both of the previous victorious Barcelona head coaches, Johan Cruijff and Frank Rijkaard have achieved this.

Mark Hughes scored both goals for Manchester United in the 1991 Cup Winners' Cup final against his former club Barcelona, for whom he scored just four league goals in the 1986-87 season.

Other who played for both clubs include Laurent Blanc, Jordi Cruijff and Henrik Larsson, the latter played a crucial part in Barcelona's 2006 Champions League final win against Arsenal.


2 Responses to "Barcelona vs Manchester United on Final Champion League 2009"
hemanth said :
May 27, 2009 at 9:38 PM
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