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Manchester United’s Red Devils will be wearing angelic white in Wednesday’s Champions League final, just how Alex Ferguson likes it.
Barcelona are the nominal home team for the ‘dream final’ in Rome and as their famous claret and blue tops clash with United’s usual red and their first choice blue away kit, the holders will wander onto the pristine Stadio Olimpico pitch in white.
“We’ll wear white, we are very happy with that,” Ferguson beamed.
Of course United wore white the last time they met and beat Barca in a European final, the 1991 Cup Winners’ Cup showpiece in English clubs’ first year back in Europe after Heysel.
Former Barcelona striker Mark Hughes scored twice in the 2-1 win in Rotterdam.
What’s your prediction this time?
PHOTO: Manchester United coach Alex Ferguson arrives for a news conference ahead of Wednesday’s UEFA Champions League final soccer match against Barcelona at the Olympic Stadium in Rome May 26, 2009. REUTERS/Max Rossi
Just three years ago Juve were facing up to the fact they’d be playing in Serie B after being found guilty of match-fixing.
Now, they sit third in Serie A with two games to go but that is not good enough for the Old Lady of Turin. The risk they might miss out on an automatic Champions League spot was too great.
When you consider the importance Barcelona attaches to its Catalan identity, and the number of great local players the club has produced, it seems strange that Catalan coaches, or at least first team coaches, have had so little influence.
There have been a few, from Roma Forns back in 1927 through Josep Samitier, the great former player, and more recently the likes of Llorenc Serra Ferrer (actually Mallorquin) and Charly Rexach.
Manchester United have captured their 18th English league title after securing the point they needed in a 0-0 draw at home to Arsenal.
It was a subdued display by United but the celebrations began when the final whistle sealed a hat-trick of titles and moved them alongside Liverpool as England’s most crowned club.
from Left field:
There were nervous moments for Barcelona in the first half of the King's Cup final but a three-goal nine-minute burst from Lionel Messi, Bojan Krkic and Xavi helped them to a 4-1 win over Athletic Bilbao and the first leg of a possible treble.
The league title could be their this weekend, on Saturday if Real Madrid fail to win at Villarreal or failing that on Sunday if they can manage a point at Real Mallorca.
Maybe Norwegian referee Tom Henning Ovrebo was wrong on all the big decisions in Wednesday’s Champions League semi-final second leg — it absolutely does not justify Chelsea’s reaction.
UEFA’s “Respect” campaign was, again, left in tatters as pandemonium erupted after Andres Iniesta’s late equaliser sent Barcelona through on the away goals rule.
Barcelona snatched a place in the Champions League final, and left Chelsea players furious, when a last-gasp goal from Andres Iniesta earned them a 1-1 draw in their semi-final second leg and victory on away goals.
Barcelona will play holders Manchester United in the Rome final on May 27 after a stunning reversal of fortunes in the semi-final second leg.
Don’t be surprised if you see this message on eBay in the next few days: “FOR SALE: 57,000 red and white flags as good as new — only waved for eight minutes. Apply Arsenal FC, Emirates Stadium, North London.”
For Arsenal’s fans not only stopped waving their freebie flags after eight minutes, but they also stopped believing in their side after an hour as thousands of them trooped away from the stadium no longer able to watch as Manchester United demolished their young team.
Manchester United midfielder Darren Fletcher will miss the Champions League final in Rome later this month after UEFA said there was no chance of overturning the red card he received against Arsenal on Tuesday.
Fletcher conceded a penalty in United’s 3-1 semi-final second leg win in London after he brought down Cesc Fabregas, but replays showed he touched the ball first.
A couple of early thoughts on Manchester United’s ruthless demonstration of superiority against Arsenal tonight (click here for the full match report).
1. United are over that little blip they had against Liverpool and Fulham and look to be timing their run-in to perfection. They have no significant injuries, Cristiano Ronaldo seems to be getting his mojo back and, as they showed once again against Arsenal, they ooze class right the way through the team.