BBC BLOGS - Steve Wilson
« Previous | Main | Next »

Man Utd determined to join elite club

Steve Wilson | 08:30 UK time, Friday, 8 May 2009

So Manchester United are just one game from glory - one game from joining an elite band of European football's most successful clubs.

The names rolled off the tongue of Sir Alex Ferguson himself on Monday at his press conference prior to the Champions League victory over Arsenal. "My biggest regret is we haven't won the European Cup more times," he said. "We have a terrific history but it is not the same as Real Madrid, AC Milan, Liverpool, Bayern Munich or Ajax. We have regrets about that."

Real Madrid (nine wins), AC Milan (seven), Liverpool (five), Bayern Munich (four) and Ajax (four) are the members of that special club which Manchester United crave to join. United are not far behind with three wins - in 1968, 1999 and 2008 - and could draw level and maybe even eclipse Liverpool, Bayern and Ajax by the time Ferguson retires.

What's more, if United beat Barcelona in Rome later this month, then the 67-year-old Scot will join Bob Paisley as the only manager to win the European Cup three times.

manutd_99_595.jpg

Barca, of course, will be looking to enhance their own standing as far as Europe's most important competition goes. I was lucky enough to be at Wembley when they beat Sampdoria in the 1992 final. In fact, I was working as a pitch-side reporter for Capital Radio and standing about five yards behind the goal at the tunnel end. Had there been no net on that goal, Ronald Koeman's winning free-kick may well have taken my head off.

It's amazing to think that Barcelona had never won the European Cup until that day. Their quest for success had become an obsession fuelled by Real Madrid's multiple successes. Twice Barca had been beaten in the final; first in 1961 by Benfica but most painfully in 1986, when, in Seville, they missed all four spotkicks in a penalty shoot-out loss to Steaua Bucharest.

When they finally broke their duck at Wembley, the celebrations were wild. I remember being part of a pack of mainly Spanish journalists chasing manager Johan Cruyff down the tunnel in the hope of getting a reaction. Between serene drags on his cigarette, he said a few words with the air of a man who knew his place among the gods was assured.

Barcelona were thrashed by AC Milan in the final of 1994, but notched their second success by beating Arsenal in Paris in 2006. Five finals, two wins. No wonder they are hungry for more.

Unlike Barcelona - and unlike the five clubs whose records Ferguson covets - United have never lost a European final. Nor has their manager, who also won the Cup Winners' Cup with Aberdeen in 1983 thanks to a shock 2-1 win over Real Madrid.

I'm confident this year's final will be a classic game worthy of two great clubs. "Great" but also driven by having something still to prove.

Error: Too many requests have been made during a short time period so you have been blocked.

Comments

Page 1 of 2

  • Comment number 1.

    I believe Manchester United have got a fantastic chance to win this because Barca's fragile defence has been dealt a double hammer blow with the suspensions of Abidal & Alves.
    It's going to be a fantastic game, much better than last year's semi-finals.

  • Comment number 2.

    Commiserations to Chelsea for missing out on a place in the final, although I think this will be the final all the neutrals wanted.

    I really hope Sir Alex can continue his fantastic record of never losing a European final.

    My big worry about this final is a non-footballing matter. The predicted trouble in Rome. I really hope there is no repeats of the violence we have seen over the last few years when English teams play in Rome.

    My prediction for the game: 2-2 draw with Vidic sent off for conceding a last minute penalty.

  • Comment number 3.

    I reckon Utd will win. In my opinion Barca shouldn't even be in the final so it would be wrong for them to win it.
    I usually dislike Chelsea heavily but couldn't help feeling sorry for them.
    Either way I'd still expect Utd to win though.

    A lot of times Utd haven't won the CL is when we have either been really close or robbed by the ref (e.g. porto) but I think we are already in the elite band of clubs because of how many times we have got to the final stages.

  • Comment number 4.

    This is a great chance for United to join the elite group of teams who've won the Champions League 3 times, along with Real Madrid and AC Milan.

    It's also a great chance to become the first side ever to defend it in the CL era, and when you look at United's team it's obvious that there's every chance if they do beat Barcelona that they could go on and join the legendary sides who've won it 3 years on the trot next season.

    Personally I'm delighted that the two best sides are in the final, and not least because the media build-up to this game should be focussed on the prospects of a top class football match, and not on the assorted nonsense angles 'moving on' Chelsea stories from Moscow last year.

  • Comment number 5.

    As a neutral this is the final I wanted to see. No disrespect to Chelsea but an all english final just doesn't give me that European Cup final feeling.

    The great Barcelona v the equally impressive Manchester United, what a night it promises to be. I'm praying that it'll be a classic, as with all the quality players on show it'd be a travesty if the footballing world are given a tame boring final.

    I would like to see Man Utd win it again, but to be honest if Barca turn up and turn on the style who can complain if the Catalans are crowned kings of Europe!

  • Comment number 6.

    I won't expect a cracking match, there's too much at stake, it may end up being one people remember but it will be cautious stuff to begin with, I was at Rotterdam in 1991 to see us be Barcelona 2-1, another result along those lines will make me happy.

  • Comment number 7.

    I just hope that the exciting Barcelona, who have been sweeping aside all before them in Spain, turn up and give us a game to remember. If they play as they did against Chelsea in both legs Manchester United will win at a canter, and nobody (other than perhaps United fans) wants to see a one-sided final.

  • Comment number 8.

    Is it just me or does Steve Wilson look a lot like Smiffy (Gavin and Stacey) in that picture?
    I know it's not very related to the article but couldn't help it.

  • Comment number 9.

    I had previously feared that Barcelona were the only team capable of stopping us in the final and was hoping for a Bayern Munich & Chelsea win. However, after watching them play against Chelsea for 180 minutes im quite confident United can go on to become the first team to ever defend the champions league. This is severley helped by both Barcelona's first choice full backs being suspended, aswell as Marquez and Millito being injured for the final. I just think if United match Barcelonas formation of 4 3 3 and play rooney ronaldo and park upfront as against Arsenal, Barcas defence will not be able to cope with such problems.

  • Comment number 10.

    no team can win EVERY final they are in, liverpool did till heysel. dont kno wo to feel about this 1, think chelsea would have given united a stern defensive show, however, barca n ubited tend to attack alot, which leaves the game open, and for a spectator and a neutral (sort of, i really hope united loose tbh), the game should flow really well, and hopefully provide alot more than last years final.

    as for defending the CHAMPIONS LEAGUE CUP... please just hold on will ya... all that is there is a name change guys, plenty of teams have defended the CUP, n thats what they play for, not the name for gods sake, as comendable that it is, its laughable that u can try n use the name as a means of standing out, just defending the cup should b enough.

    think the problem teams have had this year with barca is that they do try to fight fire with fire, and they have all failed, any team taht has defended like chelsea did, espanyol did too,with 2 very nice break away goals after sucking in barca. uniteds biggest threat to themselves to to try n play barca at their own game, united should do what served them well n broke some long standing records, n that is defend solid n use ronaldo, rooney et al to break n counter (ie 3rd against arsenal). but hey, im not fergie n he usually proves himself right with tactics, but thats how i think his mind will work on this match.

  • Comment number 11.

    # 4 Rotterdam,

    I just love the way Utd fans never include Liverpool in the European elite.

    It took Paisley 7 years to win 3 European cups, almost the same time it took SAF to win the league.

    No doubt Utd are already up there with the European elite but so too are LIverpool. However, not accordig to Utd fans. Why is this? I've heard numerous arguements.

    Originally it was because 2 of them were won on pens, that is until last season's bore draw and subsequent Terry slip handing them the trophy. There's also the fact that one was won against Bruges, hardly Euro greats. Hmmm, Benfica were Euro greats at one point in time, 1968 I'd wager. Liverpool beat a 'poor' Real madrid, they would be poor wouldn't they? And finally Liverpool won by luck in Istanbul because AC Milan capitulated and Liverpool ended up playing for pens. I'm preety sure if Utd had come from 3 down against players of the calibre that AC had at the time; it would be regarded as the greatest ever acheivement by their fans and the media alike.

    Even the Utd manager has the grace to include LIverpool in the elite list, maybe Utd fans could have the humility to do likewise, no?

    Having said that, I'm convinced Utd will beat Barca and fair play to them if they do.

  • Comment number 12.

    I agree with No.10. The way to play Barca is to draw them forward into a solid defence and hit them on the break. We've seen over 4 semi-finals now that the 2 top English defences can comfortably hold the Barca attack and expose their defence on the break.

    It's the obvious tactical approach to gain an advantage. To go at them in an open game is to make the game a lottery that could go either way.

    Utd have the option of either approach while Barca can only play one way and that's what gives Utd the edge. Chelsea exposed their defence repeatedly on Wednesday but just failed to put them away.

  • Comment number 13.

    The problem for Barca is that, when they come up against a team that can really defend, it's a problem for them to break that defence down. They will enjoy lots of possesion, just as Arsenal did at the Emirates on Tuesday, but will ultimately struggle to score. I am not saying that they are not capable, just that they won't be able to "out-score" United. United will line up with the 4 3 3/ 4 5 1, with Ronaldo up top and Rooney on the left- and you have to back them to score against Barca's weakend backline.

    If they do successfully defend their title it is significant. The eventual winners must play more games than the winners of the old format. The fact that no team has ever defended the Champions League, as we know it, tells you how dificult to achieve this is.

    I just hope that no blood is spilt on the streets of Rome. It seems the Roman supporters have trouble behaving themselves. I can't help that feel that if consistent satbbings had ocurred in an English city a lot more would have been made of it. However, it's the English who still carry this reputation for being hooligans on their shoulders.

  • Comment number 14.

    SMIFFY!

    '"Great" but also driven by having something still to prove.' especially against their domestic rivals' success in the cup.

    "Great" but also driven by having something still to prove.

  • Comment number 15.

  • Comment number 16.

    No'11- There is no doubt in my mind that Liverpool are one of the greatest European teams. Having lived in Spain I can tell you that it's Liverpool the Spanish think of when discussing English teams in Europe. 5 trophies says it all. So, whilst we all acknowledge Liverpool's standing in the game, you can't blame United supporters from not wanting to admit it! A whole childhood watching you lot clean up is something I would prefer not to talk about! It is a measure of your past success that we don't talk about your former glory!

  • Comment number 17.

    The tie is on..will Ronaldo show that he's the worth winning world best this year? the match gonna prove, can Valdes stop Rooney and Ronaldo? its gonna tell. Drogba had lots of open chances stop diving refs warn C.Ronaldo that was the case with Drogba and was ruled as diving now that C.Ronaldo doesn't dive anymore believe Puyol gonna give us a penalty with a red card as he walks down the tunnel. Belleti had a clear chance to tap in for Anelka to finish but sent it to Valdes, with the solid rock of which we stand comprising of world best defenders Vidic and Ferdinand with Evra and Oshea on the wing with Carrick and Anderson hopefully we play Giggs or Raphael as replacement for Fletcher would pay. We gotta play like Chelsea in defence and lock Iniesta, Messi, Xavi, Henry, Eto'o, and all is well.. with the players mentioned above for man.u then the fans will sing GLORY GLORY MAN.UTD AS THE REDS GO MARCHING ON... WHEN THE REFS POINTS TO VALDES AND VAN DER SAR AND DECLARES ITS ALL OVER... MAN.UTD 3 VS 1 BARCELONA.... ITS GONNA LOOK LIKE A MIRACLE... WE RULE THE WORLD OF SOCCER... MANCHESTER UNITED FOREVER

  • Comment number 18.

    dandolinho....I agree the trophy handed to the winner is the same but the Champions League is an entirely different competition to the "old" European Cup.
    No team has defended it for a very good reason, the competition is a lot tougher.
    With a good draw in the old days you could avoid anyone half decent until the semi finals. These days there are strong odds you will play someone decent from the round of last 16 onwards.
    Plenty of very good sides have tried to defend it and come up short. In fact United are only the second team to return to the final the season after winning it.
    I think in 4 of the last 5 years the previous winner was knocked out in the round of 16.
    United have had to go 25 matches unbeaten to make it to back to back finals. That is some going by anyones standards.

  • Comment number 19.

    # 16,

    Fair dos mate, but it swings both ways. I wouldn't expect Utd fans to laud LIverpool's former glories but I would expect them not to denegrate them in the name of bitterness.

  • Comment number 20.

    "now that C.Ronaldo doesn't dive anymore"

    did i read that right?

    judie... true its a different set up, but, back in the day, it wasnt easier, it was pure knock out all the way, no seeding (which is farcical tbh), the teams u played wer ALL champions of their respective leagues. and just as u could avoid the champions of the big countries, u could also just be in the firing line n get the biggest teams all the way, which goes bk to the seeding, it wouldnt happen, country immunity, seeded groups n the likes...

    dont get me wrong, uniteds acheivement, just getting to the final is worthy of note, not to mention that they could defend it, and credit to them (through gritted teeth)

  • Comment number 21.

    ScottishScouser...Im an ardent United fan but i can quite easily acknowledge Liverpools place at Europes top table.

    Fair play to Paisley, his achievement is unmatched in the British game BUT he inherited a very good team/club from My Shankly did he not? A team already used to European success.
    The team SAF inherited were not involved in European football, they were also to be fair a shambles compared to where they are now. The foundations that took 5 years to build are the reason United are still successful now.
    The foundations Shankly built (boot room etc) were the reason Liverpool were successful until Dalglish left.

    I think you'll find most proper United fans who appreciate football and arent blinkered will realise that Liverpools achievements from 75-85 were pretty special, as much as i hated it at the time!

  • Comment number 22.

    #3 How do Barce not deserve to be in the final? At times this season their football has been sublime and near perfect.

    They were poor in the 2nd leg against Chelsea granted, but in the first leg they had numerous chances. In the last couple of days we have heard about the terrible performance from the ref but in my opinion none of their penalty claims were 'stone-wallers' - perhaps if Drogba didn't spend most of his time trying to con referees they wouldn't be so reluctant to award him a penalty? There has also been little mention of Anelka diving which resulted in Abidal being sent off. The behaviour of Ballack, Terry etc etc was disgraceful so for me, Chelsea do not deserve to be in a Champions League final.

    I am not a Man Utd fan but it is exciting to see 2 clubs with a geniune history compete in the final and not some mediocre mid-table (at best) club who are in the competition thanks to being bank-rolled by a billionaire!

  • Comment number 23.

    Re: comment 10.

    The 'Champions Leageue' is more than just a name change, there was also a change in format making it a different competition. The group stages were introduced and more teams are eligible to participate in the new format.
    Even so no team has retained the European Cup since 1990 when Milan retained it. It's almost 20 years since a side has retained the trophy which I find astounding and certainly adds to the euphoria of Utd winning it again (I know I'm assuming but I'm a Utd fan).

    Apart from the comment about the champs lg being nothing more than a name change, I thnk you make extremely valid points. You can't win every game and you can't win every final you participate, probablity dictates this as highly unlikely. I also agree with your repsonse about playing against Barce.

    The truth is Barce only play one way, but they simply are the best at it. On a much lower scale, Villa showed if you only play one-way you have to be the best at it and they have been touted as the best counter attacking side in the prem. Utd's strength comes from the rotation and that we can play in various styles depending on the personell we use. I think the full back areas will be there to exploit through the loss of Abidal and Alves and moreover if SAF has watched 'El Classico' he'll see that Barce struggle dealing with aerial threats. Ronaldo and Vidic time to step up to the plate!

  • Comment number 24.

    @capetrib: "There has also been little mention of Anelka diving which resulted in Abidal being sent off."

    That would be because he didn't dive and in thousands of other postings on the match that's the first time i've seen that suggested. He was thru on goal so why would he dive?

    Abidal accidentally clipped his heel. There was no intent, both were running flat out at the time. Abidal should not have been sent off as the whole world have acknowledged but to suggest Anelka dived is nonsense.

    And as a Man Utd fan I think 2 of their penalty claims were "stonewallers".

  • Comment number 25.

    JudieRudie,

    Obviously, there are plenty of Utd fans that will give credit where it's due. Just like there are LIverpool fans that will pick apart Utd's acheivements. Both sets of fans hate seeing the other clean up. I can only see another united victory in Rome. Lets hope it's a safe trip for you lads.

  • Comment number 26.

    "I think the full back areas will be there to exploit through the loss of Abidal and Alves and moreover if SAF has watched 'El Classico' he'll see that Barce struggle dealing with aerial threats. Ronaldo and Vidic time to step up to the plate!"

    agree totally on that, crossing is not a major part of the spannish game as it is in england, so less time is directed at defending such situations, which is another reason why spannish teams have struggled against the english (yossi against madrid in madrid springs to mind, not the tallest is he lol).

    but i feel, on the other hand, liverpool, fulham (to a lesser extent) and porto shown that if u put enough pressure on the united defence then u can get alot of joy out of it (which uopon till those games not many teams actually had).

    another thing id point out and have noticed is that if united employ evra to do what he is very good at n that is running that line, u may find messi going that side n having acres of space, something im sure fergie has thought about, but its a little catch 22, u either use him back more n have barca almost camped or u take that risk so u can keep barca pushed further up field n exploit the fragile back 4 they have.

  • Comment number 27.

    @ 25

    Pains me to say it but I suspect United will edge it too.

    Hopefully it's a class game with some of the planet's finest players all performing with NO play acting (won't hold my breath on that one) to appease the neutrals.

    Hopefully us lot can pull our fingers out next year as 18/5 doesn't sound so good next to 18/4 - or even better, lets win the league this year so we can say 19/5 :-D

  • Comment number 28.

    The old European Cup was harder to qualify for but a hell of a lot easier to win once you were in it. I honestly don't see how anyone can argue with that. As a United fan I often roll out names like Bruges and Malmo and just laugh that they were actually finalists. But the argument is far more effective when I say Hibs of Malta, Sarajevo and Gornik Zabrze - these are the teams United beat in 67/68 on the way to the semi-finals.

    Now fair enough, at the time they were decent teams and they had earned the right to be there. But these days their modern equivalents would be lucky to even scramble through the qualifying stage.

    United played two proper opponents that season, Real Madrid and Benfica, and the pattern is repeated time after time in the old format. Look at 1984 for example and you'll see that Roma and Liverpool knocked out Dundee Utd and Dinamo Bucharest in the semi-finals. In 1977 Liverpool's route to the final featured the classic comeback against the superior St. Etienne side. But it also featured wins against Crusaders of Northern Ireland, Trabsonspor and in the semi-finals FC Zurich. As I say, the pattern of just one or two serious opponents is repeated many times throughout the entire history of the European Cup in the old format.

    Now compare that to today's format and you can see that the finalists have taken out Inter Milan, Lyon, FC Porto, Bayern Munich, Arsenal and Chelsea. Now if you want to say that some of those are just the teams on the up at the time, such as Lyon and Chelsea then fair enough I suppose, although you are seriously stretching it to compare them with some of the canon-fodder I've already mentioned from the old days. But you still cannot argue with the reality, which is that in the last decade those teams account for 4 beaten finalists and 2 winners. On top of that, United and Barcelona themselves have won another 3 between them. It is without question a vastly greater standard of competition in the modern format.

    Finally back to the original point, which is that it is easier to qualify now but harder to win. Aside from getting past Villarreal and beating Arsenal, United have already beaten the champions of Denmark, Scotland, Portugal and Italy, a decent run in the old format by any stretch. And yet arguably the best team in Europe and the world apart from United themselves still lies in wait in the final.

  • Comment number 29.

    Here's one - the last four cups have been won by arguably the worse team. Last year, Chelsea hit the woodwork twice and I felt they had the edge. AC Milan in 2007 were not as strong as Liverpool. Their players were older and didn't dominate the game. Barcelona scraped a win against a good Arsenal team in 2006 (the sending-off clouded the whole game though, so it's hard to judge who was really better) and in 2005, AC Milan WERE a much better side than Liverpool; they had Crespo, Kaka and Shevchenko in top form, even if the latter did miss the decisive penalty. Most Liverpool fans happily admit they were the underdogs for the game and that they owe a lot to Dudek. Going further back, 1999, United were hammered for 90 minutes against Munich, before showing great spirit to score two late goals. At the time, I was just glad United won, but looking back at highlights of the game really made me appreciate how well Bayern Munich had played.

    Based on all this, which you are free to argue with (my judgment is very blinkered at times), I think United will win as Barca have been better throughout the competition, except the semi-finals - but then they had much harder opposition and two first-choice CBs out. Their results against Lyon and Bayern cannot be ignored, whereas United were less than impressive agianst Porto and arguably a bit fortunate against Milan, who carved out a number of chances and couldn't capitalise. Barca will dominate possession and probably have more shots, but United will carve out a couple of clear opportunities and win through Ronaldo.

  • Comment number 30.

    rotters

    i agree with ya there m8, but u have to take into account that those teams of equal nowadays have to contend with alot more. there is so much moioney in football now, that teams like st etienne, malmo et al all have their most prized assests robbed off them at a young age or a soon as the blossom. not many of the teams playing had foreigners, english teams didnt have many at all outside the home countries. so adding money and all the talent it can buy does give teams a huge advantage over the smaller teams. the prem has had the top 4, barring the odd occasion the same top 4 for a while now, n it looks like that may continue.

    sevilla, who are a great team atm, have their best player pinched off them for example, n they wont make another cl appearance by the looks of things, while barca utilise him on the way to a CL final.

    im not arguing that the CL now is weaker, not by any stretch, but in the same breath id like to add, that in comparrisson to the day, the CL before the name n format change (to mearly make more money, again not something to gripe at, god knows we have made enough money out of it), was just as difficult for different reasons.

  • Comment number 31.

    #22,
    I see what you're saying but barca, as good a football as they play, lack that killer edge need to score against good premiership opposition. They created barely anything that was a scoring chance. They spend too much time trying to make the 'perfect' goal as it were.

    The Chelsea players' responses were natural. I'm sure a lot of teams would have reacted in similar fashions if it happened to them.
    Yeah Abidal shouldn't have been sent off THEN, the ref clearly had a shocker.

    it was the final i hoped for since the beginning of the season, but after seeing the chelsea match i think utd will win with ease.

  • Comment number 32.

    And who is to say Rotterdam that had there been the foresight by UEFA to have a group stage in the 70s and 80s may well have done well in that. You can only play in the tournament format at that time. It's hypothetical like my point above to say the competition winners now seem to be more worthy of the trophy. There's more money and huge squads, not to mention 7 subs and travel is far easier now compared to the 70s and 80s. I'm sure Liverpool didn't name squads of 22 in 1977.

    Anyway enjoy the trip, I'm not to proud to say I'm jealous.

  • Comment number 33.

    ScottishScouser....you know its good to know that there are sensible fans out there. I go on so many blogs and some of the contributions are pitiful not to mention plain ignorant.

    You'll know like i do that in the "old days" it was only the FA Cup final and the European Cup final on the TV. I used to pray that Liverpool would get beat if only to prevent my brothers endless crowing.

    I was sucking that Platini penalty into the net in 1985!

    BUT now, as much as i cant stand Liverpool, i can admire their achievements. Penalty shoot outs, luck, skill, whatever there is no disputing the fact that Liverpool have won big ears 5 times.

    If it takes penalties to win it this year i wont cheer any less loudly when Rio lifts the trophy. A win is a win is a win after all.

    I just hope we can do it and like you hope the United fans going to Rome have a safe trip.

  • Comment number 34.

    Steve,

    I take exception to your comment about Aberdeen's ECWC win against Real Madrid being a "shock win". I was in Gothenburg and it was certainly no shock to me - or the 14,000 other Aberdeen fans! Aberdeen out-played and out-classed Real Madrid in that final. The fact we beat Hamburg later in the year to win the Super Cup confirmed Aberdeen as Europe's number one team in 1983.

  • Comment number 35.

    To all the ManU fans regarding historic European cup victories, Liverpool FC have won it five times, 77 78 81 84 05. Its in the history books, LFC are the most successful British team in history, that is also in the history books. 18 league titles also, look it up, its still in there, and its not going away. Get your sorry heads around it and deal with it. When Barca win on May 27th you can pop over to Anfield and look at the European Cup because we have one for keeps. History is fact so dont hide away from it.

  • Comment number 36.

    I agree with Ferguson in that Utd should have won more Euopean Cups. However, with this team, they have agreat chance to win it this year and go on and complete a hat trick next year. This team has three very important components to win out, they are young (most of them), they are hungry and they are not afraid of anybody. They would not have cared who they got in the final. They know that if they play the way they are capable they can beat any team.
    If Barcelona play the same as against Chelsea, then Utd will win it. If Barca throw caution to the wind and go for it, then they will give the Red Devils a good run for their money.
    This utd dominance will continue as long as Ferguson is in charge. What happens aafter he retires is the question!!

  • Comment number 37.

    Scottishscouser would you like to re-read comment No. 4?
    I believe rotterdam was not leaving out Liverpool from the list of great european teams, I am a united fanatic and even I have to admit they deserve their place. That statement was a fact (no pun intended Rafa) that since the re-branding to the chamipons league format only two teams have won it three times. Milan and Real Madrid. United have the chance to join them on three wins in the champions league era.
    You should make sure you read a comment before having a go at someone!!

  • Comment number 38.

    @35: "History is fact so dont hide away from it."

    You're right! Unfortunately, history is all you bitters have to live on. In the next 2 or 3 years Utd will surpass all of your records.

  • Comment number 39.

    Lets enjoy the thrid place match of the champions league final of 2009, between Arsenalvs Chelsea.

    it will be a low key profile match, but let enjoy it for the good of the game

  • Comment number 40.

    I agree United should have won trophy more times. The reason why not Sir Alex is because of your tactical ineptness in Europe, which will show itself again in the final when Guardiola's Barca will expose your defence just as Liverpool did at old trafford. This latest media attempt to big up manure's achievements regarding defending European cup (which it still is) is laughable. Big ears is big ears and there is a permanent one in Anfield trophy room for all to admire.

  • Comment number 41.

    35. CypriotJohn

    More European cups, yes, but the majority won at a time when the competition was easier to win, when teams like Malmo and Bruges frequently made it to the semi-finals, and when Liverpool could go through a whole season using just 13 players.

    Plus in those days United were never realistic title contenders and were known as a cup team. Had they been given the free pass Liverpool get these days for qualifying 3rd or 4th, who's to say they wouldn't have won more?

    By the way, do you ever post comments that aren't about Manchester United?

  • Comment number 42.

    I think the "History is fact" statement was more of a go at UTD fans being so arrogant that they think the league and European cup is already tied up.

    Granted, you're favourites for both, but football is a funny old game.

    As for surpassing Liverpool's records, wait until Ronaldo goes to Madrid in the transfer window, then we'll see what you win next term.

  • Comment number 43.

    Comment #38 seconed!

    Next season Liverpool won't be as close as they were this season in the league - not that they are significantly close at all.

    You beat us twice in the league after we were 1-0 up. If we had won those games, the gap would have been huge. Benitez is good when it comes to europe but the premiership is far beyond his and liverpool's reach. It's like he's a wannabe Fergie enemy. The more response you get from him, the better a manager you are. Despite Benitez's ridiculous outbursts of nonsense, he has had little response suggesting that Fergie does not even consider the novice worthy of a nemesis.

  • Comment number 44.

    Another blog hi-jacked by Liverpool fans.

    The blog is about Manchester United v Barcelona, in the final of the Champions League.

    Draw your own conclusions.

  • Comment number 45.

    my prediction: 1-1. an even match.

    it'll be decided on penalties. unfortunately.

  • Comment number 46.

    More European cups, yes, but the majority won at a time when the competition was easier to win, when teams like Malmo and Bruges frequently made it to the semi-finals, and when Liverpool could go through a whole season using just 13 players.
    -------------------------------------------------------------------
    Hang on, it may have been easier to win, but it was harder to qualify for with 24 teams to play in a league season.

    Although Liverpool one it finishing 4th in the season befor, didn't Utd win it when finishing 2nd the season before?

  • Comment number 47.

    Comfortable Man Utd win for me.

  • Comment number 48.

    Socrates? A blog can incorporate many aspects of debate. If you peruse the comments carefully you will elicit ample proof that United fans are obsessed with decrying Liverpool's achievements, sharing your obvious paranoia of the most successful English club in Europe.

  • Comment number 49.

    just 13 players... actually 14, n thats a sign not of the reletive weekness but of the squad depth.

    agree, no point setting yourself up for a fall ere cypriot.

    as for the teams that u mentioned, at the time, they wer the teams to beat... thats like me saying, well bayern are poor now, so ur cup win in 99 means nothing coz bayern are terrible! right? no, we aknowledge the feat hands down, well maybe not cypriot... but most do, like has been said, if malmo wer there, they knocked out hamburg, roma n the likes on their way (may not have been those teams but u c the point right?). liverpool did that, beating them n lifting the cup.

    u may have more teams nowadays but u still less likely to get a start studded group because of seeding! just look at the group stages...

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/UEFA_Champions_League_2008-09

    athletico, as hard as the matchs wer for liverpool, are not the same callibur, psv and marseille are what we would call sub standard, and arguably worse than the malmo of 79'. uniteds group had aalborg n celtic.. not great euopean teams, celtic have a rich history but just dont cut the mustard, villareal are decent at a push. barca got sporting, shaktar n basel... not exactly tough. the only group with anything approaching toughness was reals group, with juve n current super n uefa cup holders zenit.

    this is not by any means demoting any team, past or presents acheivements, but just to add to the debate about 'easyness' over the older format/

  • Comment number 50.

    CypriotJohn: "History is fact so dont hide away from it."

    History is also past... please don't live it!


  • Comment number 51.

    I am with Number 1 poster. I think actually it will be an unusual goal fest with united winning 3 or 4 to 2.
    My head however says Ferguson will play defensively hit them on the break and grind out a 1:0.
    Ronaldo Rooney and Tevez though might have other ideas.

  • Comment number 52.

    40. At 2:16pm on 08 May 2009, bunjyb wrote:
    I agree United should have won trophy more times. The reason why not Sir Alex is because of your tactical ineptness in Europe, which will show itself again in the final when Guardiola's Barca will expose your defence just as Liverpool did at old trafford. This latest media attempt to big up manure's achievements regarding defending European cup (which it still is) is laughable. Big ears is big ears and there is a permanent one in Anfield trophy room for all to admire.
    -----------------------------------------------------------
    HOw inept of you my shallow Friend, Ferguson has won more trophies in Europe than other manager currently in job! As for Tactical ineptness in Europe, United didn't conceed 7 goals in any match to get to the final.
    last year this Barcelona team went out to Man Utd in the semis if I remember rightly... So your arguments are all rendered null and void, a bit like Liverpools chances of winning anything this year really don't you think? I can't remember the last time Liverpool won a domestic trophy......can you?

  • Comment number 53.

    last year this Barcelona team went out to Man Utd...
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------

    that means absolutely nothing, n is a pointless arguement, liverpool beat AC Milan in 2005, yet lost in 2007!

    liverpool beat chelase in the last few season in the CL n various other games, including home n away this year n yet still got beat at home in the CL.

    nothing is granted based upon last seasons or even last weeks game.

    dont b supprised if united lose to arsenal at home in the league, just because u walked past them in the CL doesnt mean the next game is going to b that easy.. it still may be but its foolish to think that u have beat them already recently, n ur GOING to beat them again.

    confidence is a great trait to have, but it can blind you all too much

  • Comment number 54.

    Steve,
    are you a Man United fan? you come across to me as one as a few more presenters or commentators do on motd,to be honest the BBC Sport in general are far too biased towards United that much so listeners or viewers supporting other clubs are denied a fair share of the enjoyment of tuning in to such programmes as motd or five live sport -this is just a football opinion --thank you...

  • Comment number 55.

    11. At 11:28am on 08 May 2009, ScottishScouser wrote:
    # 4 Rotterdam,

    I just love the way Utd fans never include Liverpool in the European elite.

    It took Paisley 7 years to win 3 European cups, almost the same time it took SAF to win the league.

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Rubbish! Paisley inherited Shankly's team which was already incredibly succesful. Sir Alex had to take a team in the doldrums and surpass the 1980' Liverpool team (who certainly would have won another European crown had England have been in the competition). Ferguson for that matter wasn't able to enter the Europe in his early tennure of United had they won the league.

    Incomparable in my opinion.

    As for winning the Champions League... I reckon it's a distinct possibility.

  • Comment number 56.

    dandelinho, yeah that's a decent point about transfers I admit. and about money without doubt.

    even so I still think that the champions of the top leagues had a huge advantage just as they do now. the difference is that there were only one from each of them instead of 3 or 4 like now.

    don't forget also that United in '68 had the first £100k striker in Denis Law (inj. for the final but even so), whilst Liverpool swapped Keegan for Dalglish in '77 with huge amounts of money changing hands.

    clearly you're spot on about the group stages generally speaking, although the champions from the weakest countries rarely make even that level in the modern format. what they've basically done is take the best teams out of the Uefa Cup and placed them in direct competition with the champions from the smaller countries who used to slip under the radar to the latter stages of the European Cup - even to the final now and again. faced with 2nd, 3rd, 4th or even 5th placed teams from the top leagues these teams just can't compete, and, with the odd exception, to be honest there is no way they would've been able to compete 30 years ago either.


  • Comment number 57.

    The BBC bias towards Man United is OBSCENE but without wanting to be vitriolic I think most of the country think the same.As for the final in Rome I hope Barcelona beat United but thats my thoughts --Messi,Eto'o, and Henry will be the difference 3-1 to the Spaniards, BTW Man City will beat United on Sunday by the same score,Liverpool will win at West Ham and the heat on United will start to burn... as Man City fan I pray that Liverpool win the title for the Hillsborough 96 ---- THEY'LL NEVER WALK ALONE.....

  • Comment number 58.

    I`m still laughing, weak teams back when LFC won their UK record of 5 European Cups...Some proper Charlies on here today! Would any ManU fan like to discuss their run in to this final V Barca on May 27th?? It is the easiest route to a final for a squillionbillion years. Need I go on?

  • Comment number 59.

    capetrib-
    Anelka dive??
    dumbest thing i've ever heard. he didnt know how close abidal was til he was clipped, and it wud never occur to him to dive their - if he shoots he scores.
    chelsea were robbed but they should take some responsibility - no other of the english big four would sit back as they did for 25 mins when a man up knowing how capable barcelona are of producing a moment of magic.

  • Comment number 60.

    Re 46. 1ronjaw and 49 dandolinho:

    My point was that the competition has changed. There are now more teams, more games and more chances for upsets. In the 70's you had just one team from the big leagues and a lot of mediocrity, these days there are many more difficult matches. I can't see anyone ever repeating Liverpool's feat of four European Cups in 7/8 years. These days it's a far more difficult competition to dominate.

    But my real point was about rule-changes:

    1. How different do you think our respective teams trophy-counts would be if it remained only the champions who played in the Champions League? Liverpool would lose one of their trophies, as would United, but United would have ten attempts at winning a much easier competition to win.

    2. How about if the European Cup always allowed four teams to enter from England? Back in the 70's and early 80's it would have given Manchester United a chance to win the biggest prize at a time they were renowned as a cup team. They could put all of their eggs in one basket, as Rafa did in 2005 when he was miles behind in the league.

    I'm not arguing that Liverpool have a glorious European record, but I do think that timing has helped their trophy cabinet greatly. Take either of those scenarios above and I'm pretty sure United's European record would be improved. Liverpool have benefitted from the fact that theire dominance came at a time when it was easier to win the competition and they've also benefitted in the modern era because a rule-change allows them to take part despite the fact they haven't won the title for 18+ years.

    But while I respect your well-argued opinions, every now and then you get the CypriotJohn's of this world and his sepia-tinted glasses, who has obviously got a lot of anger and frustration to let out!

  • Comment number 61.

    I can't see anyone ever repeating Liverpool's feat of four European Cups in 7/8 years. These days it's a far more difficult competition to dominate.
    -----------------------------------------------------------------------
    what u mean like madrid did, since its been changed to the current concept? 1998, 2000, 2002, 3 in 4 years sounds pretty dominant to me!

    but I do think that timing has helped their trophy cabinet greatly.
    -----------------------------------------------------------------------
    again id like to say that, that can b argued as to uniteds rise to dominance in this country too. united benefited HUGELY at the time through liverpools fall from the top team in probably world football, bad management n selections purchases n so on. liverpool, by the time fergie put a stamp on united had a team of old players who wer replaced with mediocre n sub standard players, after which n being a major cause of it all was souness, who failed to add quality to the substance that was there. but these things happen, again im not belittling uniteds haul of trophies, there was obviosly still work to do, but had fergie had to put up with liverpool from even a year earlier its safe to assume he wouldnt have lasted in the job as long as he has, no matter how good he is.

    and united won their 2nd CL cup based upon the same rules, n we could deduce from that, if they hadnt won in the camp nou that day, the money wouldnt have been so free flowing, some players wouldnt have been bought, some may have chose NOT to go to united (being that actually being CL holders is a great barganing chip), and united MAY not have gone on to continue their dominance, arsenal may have continued n pulled further ahead.

    all swings n roundabouts really, only a few facts matter, liverpool have 5 CL cups, 18 titles, united have made it to another final, have 3/17 n could equal a long standing english top divison record (finnally lol).

  • Comment number 62.

    While Sir Alex sets his team up defensively in Europe, I really hope he goes for it against Barcelona. Barca are great in keeping hold of the ball, but United are more than capable of playing with enterprise themselves. If Fergie manages to overcome Barcelona in their own game, he'll go down as the greatest manager in the history of the game.

  • Comment number 63.

    HOw inept of you my shallow Friend, Ferguson has won more trophies in Europe than other manager currently in job! As for Tactical ineptness in Europe, United didn't conceed 7 goals in any match to get to the final.
    last year this Barcelona team went out to Man Utd in the semis if I remember rightly... So your arguments are all rendered null and void, a bit like Liverpools chances of winning anything this year really don't you think? I can't remember the last time Liverpool won a domestic trophy......can you?


    Where we not discussing why Sir Alex had not won more trophies as opposed to how many my confused 'friend'?

  • Comment number 64.

    i've got no idea what some of you are on about to be honest. Liverpool were one of the most successful teams in the European Cup's history, winning it 4 times. and since the various changes in format they've won it again, so what's your problem? it's pretty straight forward really.

    anyway, just for clarity, the Champions League began in the 1992/93 season, the first time 4 teams from the same country were let in was for the 02/03 season, and the current format started the year after, in 2003/04.

    the history of winning the Cup carries on. but these dates are also relevant. the old 1st division trophy has just been won by Wolves. the modern era of the Premier League began in 1992, lamentable as that may be. it is perfectly fair to split that history up as well as to join it together. similarly next season the Uefa Cup becomes the Europa League but the trophy stays the same even if the competition has morphed since 1997. Hamburg are one of only a select few teams to win the European Cup, the Uefa Cup and the ECWC. another watershed moment was the introduction of the back pass rule in 1992. these are all great reference points for football historians.

  • Comment number 65.

    61. dandolinho:

    As you point out, there are lots of circumstances that lead to teams fluctuating fortunes but my point was about rule changes, that are set in stone. I believe they have certainly benefitted Liverpool which slightly distorts matters when comparing the European records of Manchester United and Liverpool.

    Incidentally, Liverpool haven't won 5 CL cups, they have won 4 easier-to-win European Cups and just 1 Champions League, which they qualified for by finishing fourth in 2004, plus they almost only ever win on penalties anyway. And yes, i'm just winding you up now :)

  • Comment number 66.

    it is importannt that MU stay focused and desist from all out attacking game. that is the stock-in-trade of barca and they wiull fare beter in it. MU has the potentials to withstand their attacks and score from brakes. i hope they will follow that way. IT IS MY FERVENT PRAYER THAT MU TRIUMPS

  • Comment number 67.

    It'll be interesting to see how Barcelona's full-back replacements will cope with Ronaldo, Rooney, etc. Another interesting one will be the midfield battle - everyone expects Sir Alex's men to sit back and try to score on the counter-attack but I've learnt the hard way not to predict Fergie

  • Comment number 68.

    No need to start a slanging match Pool fans. United would have surpassed all your achievements and records by the time Fergie steps down.

  • Comment number 69.

    valid points rotters, n for once its nice, barr the odd post ere n there, to have a complete discussion without it descending into petty rivalries :)

    i will add tho, what im trying to get at is, that no matter the name, the trophy has stayed the same no matter what name it has or what format has exsisted, if for example the trophy was different, changed, or simply gotten rid of for another trophy, then i can accept (well i accept anyway, cant really put it how i want tbh :P) the ' if united win it then they will b the 1st team to defend the CL cup' all united will have defended the NAME, aswell as the cup, n teams have defended the cup. the name for me isnt important, the cup is, if im getting this accross at all sensibly :)

    you see, the big talking point we have (between united n liverpool fans, chelsea n arsenal may like to add a little there, but we dont care about them :D), is that liverpool have never won the PREMIER LEAGUE TROPHY, n that for me is a valid arguement albeit a painful one at that, because we havent lifted that cup... yet :D (i cried a little when i typed that...)

  • Comment number 70.

    Does being a poltergeist make you clairvoyant?

  • Comment number 71.

    70. bunjyb:
    "Does being a poltergeist make you clairvoyant?"

    No but you can throw cups at anyone you like.

  • Comment number 72.

    #31 I accept your point. Barca's football is a joy to watch at times but in the Chelsea games they were guilty of trying to walk the ball into the net.

    All of which seems to me a bit inexplicable considering their performance during the Real game the same weekend, and most of the Spanish season!

    I still think the Chelsea players reactions were OTT but would maybe have forgiven given what was at stake. But it seems to be the same guys surrounding refs all the time instead of just playing the game. Drogba missed sitters in both games so if he wants to blame anyone then he should look closer to home.

    Man Utd on their game have been excellent this season, but so are Barca so I cant see either team winning with ease I just hope the game will live up to the hype that is sure to come!

  • Comment number 73.

    United and Liverpool fans, give it a rest. Two great clubs with great histories. Yet amazingly for the first time 1988, the two biggest and most successful English clubs will finally both occupy the top two positions in the English league. This is a taster of things to come. The 70s and 80s belonged to Liverpool. The 90s and 00s belonged to United. The 2010s look all set to be a decade long United-Liverpool classic confrontation, with both clubs carving up the big prizes between them. The Cockney pretenders will look up the M1 and M6, in envy.

  • Comment number 74.

    Agree with SAF. I think the possibility of winning two CL in a row puts us up there with the sides that have done that, Madrid, Milan, Ajax and of course Liverpool in 77 &78.

    Over SAF reign I think we have had the potential to have added 2 more CL to our honour but we flopped in the semis. By that I mean I think in '97 & 00 we were the best team in Europe but whether it was tactics or nerves we just didn't show up when it really mattered.

    Personally the bench mark of a really great side would be the Bayern and Ajax sides of the early 70s when they each won 3 in a row. I know Madrid won was it 6 in the beginning but given the standard and the amount of teams I don't think te achievment in those early years matches up to late sixties onwards.

    When you consider their resources it is unbelievable that Ajax achieved what they did esp the style in which they achieved it. If Utd match this I'd be happy.

    Def surprised that a club with as much quaulity as Barca had only managed 2 CL/EC wins but I suppose Utd were in the same boat last year.

    Think it will be a fantastic final and for those Liverpool fans who feel we underplay your european haul please fear not, when we have six to your five is the only time I'll underplay it.

    Albeit I reserve the right after a few beers in front of my Liverpool supporting friends to give the old EC win a difficulty rating of 1 and a CL win a rating of 3 giving LFC a total score of 7 and Utd a total score of 7 but possibly 10 after May 27th! ;)

  • Comment number 75.

    Once again the Sky generation stats rear their ugly heads. Yes it would be worth praise if Man U retain the trophy but saying they would be the first to do so is ridiculous considering it is only a different title on the trophy.

  • Comment number 76.

    I just want Ronaldo and Rooney to make history on 27th. Messi has always been a flop. He only plays good against weak Spanish clubs and that's all. My prdiction:

    Man Utd 2-1 Barca

    (with Ronaldo, Rooney and Henry scoring respecrively).............

  • Comment number 77.

    Dandolihno, you should be grateful that it isn't only the champions of each league in the euro cup anymore cause liverpool would never be in it and wouldnt have been when they beat ac milan!

  • Comment number 78.

    A couple of points for ScottishScouser. When Paisley won his European cups over a 7 year run, it was at a time when to win the cup you had to win just 5 games, and most of those would be against Finnish part time fishermen. Whilst winning those competitions remains an impressive achievement, even the most blinkered scouser must agree that things got a little more difficult as the Champions' League, with a greater number of higher quality teams competing and many more games required to become European Champions.

    I would also like to point out that although it took Ferguson longer to register a European win, one reason why he couldn't have possibly done it in the time Paisley did was because of course we were banned from competing in Europe because of Liverpool fans rioting in Heysel, and the ban wasn't lifted until 1990-91 which was of course the year we won the ECWC. So the first year we could win something, we did.

  • Comment number 79.

    Right now, Barcelona is the greatest club team on the face of the planet.

    Chelsea almost managed to do them out of a final spot by relentlessly negative tactics, and that is Man United's only chance of defeating them. Because despite the EPL's financial wealth, the basic standard of technique in English football is nowhere near the standard in Spain.

    And if Ferguson's team try to outplay Barca they will suffer the same fate as Real at the Bernabeu - utter humiliation.

  • Comment number 80.

    United will win. They have got a really good defence (not sure about right back position tho) there midfield is full of energy so is rooney and tevez while ronaldo is the icing on the cake type of player
    3-1 utd

  • Comment number 81.

    @79

    Wholly agree that Barcelona are technically superior but on their day United can outplay anyone. Even Barcelona.

    Barcelona's philosophy is all about ball retention whereas United are a team that 'needs to have the ball'. But United are more than capable of keeping hold of the ball and I believe if they dare to beat Barca at their own game, they could do it.

  • Comment number 82.

    Utd have the ability to play multiple styles of play in multiple systems, Barca are set up 1 way to play 1 way.

    Utd will win simply because Ronaldo is on a different planet at the minute, Barca won't be able to break our defence and Rooney's iron will to win will see us through.

    And hopefully Messi and Iniesta have an off day ;)

  • Comment number 83.

    Why "four" is the magic number? Why not "five" nor "two?
    I think the true meaning of SAF is as simply as to improve United europe record, rather than drawing a line between 3 and 4 CL trophies as an indication of success or not. Barca is a great team in europe, even though they won CL twice.
    I think United has a higher chance. Barca can't reproduce their performance when facing EPL teams, which I believe the more physical approach by EPL teams is the key. Messi magic was nowhere to be seen in the semi-final, so was eto'o and xavi.
    That said, never overlook Barca. Should be a classic final.

  • Comment number 84.

    United to win. Should Barca play their usual way they could get hammered by lightning quick counters. Despite Barca having almost 70% possession against Chelsea they had only 1 fortunate strike on target. Chelsea with their meagre possession had more than 10 strikes on goal with 7/8 on target. Barca compensate for their defensive frailties by hogging possesion in the oppostions half. Shades of 1994 anyone? Swashbuckling Barca were humbled by an impressive and disciplined Milan!

  • Comment number 85.

    man u will win if barcas defence is as bad as against chelsea. fletcher will be missed if we play 4-3-3 though.
    anelka tripped himself up, not a dive, and he wasnt tripped

  • Comment number 86.

    #39 abbeism
    Absolutely brilliant!Play off for 3rd place in the CL. Just brilliant.
    Well done.

  • Comment number 87.

    Even if Fletcher's suspension is lifted, I don't think he would have started the final. And I think United will play the same team as against Arsenal with Scholes in place of Fletcher.

  • Comment number 88.

    53. At 3:12pm on 08 May 2009, dandolinho wrote:

    ------------------------------
    Please write in either English French or Gaelic, I don't understand what you have written.

    63. At 4:14pm on 08 May 2009, bunjyb wrote:

    Where or were? Where is right here, but as to what we were discussing, it was Man Utd joining an elite group. Your argument was as follows...."40. At 2:16pm on 08 May 2009, bunjyb wrote:
    I agree United should have won trophy more times. The reason why not Sir Alex is because of your tactical ineptness in Europe"........... The reason why not Sir Alex......and as I have counterd Sir Alex has won more than anyone, meaning your argument about his ineptness is just plain wrong. If anyone is confused it's you. You don't even remember your own comments....

    Why are there so many liverpool supporters here? Afraid of loosing your record?

  • Comment number 89.

    For all the Liverpool fans on here including the Steve Wilson (I suspect) Fergie has won more trophies than Paisley and Shankly put together. Whether or not he goes on to win the Champions League / European Cup won't alter the fact that he is Britain's most successful manager ever. With that said, Fergie should have won the CL more often, we have missed many opportunities and the fact that it hasn't happened clearly rankles the manager which is understandable.

  • Comment number 90.

    I'm a lifelong United fan and although it was painful watching Liverpool win everything back in the day, nobody can deny that they were a quality side.

    Fergie's alleged ineptitude in Europe has seen him win two Cup Winners Cups and two Champs Leagues with, effectively, four different teams. I'd settle for being THAT 'inept'.

    Incidently, having wanted the Spaniards to reach the final against us I was going to wear a Barca shirt the other night. But I decided to be more low-key.

    I wore my Messi underpants instead...

  • Comment number 91.

    Steve,

    I have just been wondering about this. But if anybody could explain to me what happened to the yellow card received by Nemanja Vidic at POrto?

    Before the semis, no mention was made of this statistic even though as a UNited fan I rememeber vividly Vidic's yellow at Porto and worrying about what another will potentially cause if he were to get a booking in the semi.

    But in the run-up to the semi-final, his name never came up in the yellow cards scenario. As a United fan, I just kept quiet over it but now that the man has played both semi legs and escaped any booking, I want to know why?

    Can anybody explain.

  • Comment number 92.



    I am afraid the final is going to be quite dissapointing, based on previous experiences will be more like the semifinals against Chelsea, where a cagey team will park the bus in the defense and the other will get fustrated attacking without managing a single chance but with all the possesion.

    Actually this is exactly what happened last year between these two teams, this is likely to be resolved in a lucky counter (Utd is more effective than Chelsea on that) a set piece, clearly the Barca main defensive weakness or a defensive error by Utd.

  • Comment number 93.

    Why are there so many liverpool supporters here? Afraid of loosing your record?
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------

    'Loosing'.........really. Many Liverpool fans here contributing to the debate about manure joing the elite, you know, an exchange of views, as being part of that elite, Liverpool fans are best placed to comment on it. I'm sure, over the next decade or so United will join that elite, WHERE they should have been if Fergie had had the nous to beat teams that were technically inferior but tactically superior in a couple of semi's. Problem being will the present elite have moved on by then to form a super elite and you'll be forever playing catch up as you have with league title? Twenty five years was a long time without the famous penant flying over your stadium. I'm sure we won't have to wait that long for our next one.

  • Comment number 94.

    The anti united thing really annoys me. They are the best team in the world and i am happy to be witnessing a team at the top of their game. Liverpool haven't won the league in 20 years. and that, basically, is that. Hope I see it soon.
    Alan Neutral

  • Comment number 95.

    to all liverpool fans out there:

    Regadless of you having more european cups and more league titles (not for long) the sniping that you keep aside for man utd is silly as in a months time i expect we will be sitting firmly at the top of the world with 4 european cups and equal to your league titles.

    Something I dont recall anyone mentioning is that had the munich air disaster not happened it was widely regarded we would have been sharing those first 5 european cups that real madrid had a monopoly on. obviously this didnt happen but it just goes to show that manchester united could have had 2 or 3 european cups by the time we won our first in 68 had that tradegy not occured.
    This united team is only at the beggining of what could be a new golden age, there is no reason we cant go on to win a 4th title in a row and as for europe... who knows.

  • Comment number 96.

    In all this United / Liverpool bickering about the relative value of the European Cup and Champions League, no one has asked the following question:

    Had the format not changed and it had remained a straight knock-out competition for the league champions, would United have won more or less than 3 cups by now? We can say for sure that they would have qualified fewer times - in just 10 seasons since 1993. But I'd be inclined to say they'd have had a better chance of winning it if there were just one Spanish, one Italian and one German team in the competition each time, and a decent chance that some of them would take care of each other.

    What is absolutely without question is the fact that Liverpool would still be on 4.

  • Comment number 97.

    Topblogger @ 09.44... Your prediction for the Cup Final is a 2-2 draw? Who's going to get relegated this season? No one? How about Premier league Champions? Man United and Liverpool perhaps?

    I predict Man Utd will win 2-1.

  • Comment number 98.

    as a liverpool fan and after the injustice done to chelsea i do hope that united will beat barca....good luck man u

  • Comment number 99.


    Not many Chelski, MU or english fans want to acknowledge that Barca had an off day, against Chelski.True, the home team played well but Barca, with all it's possession in midfield, should have buried the match. In fact,they should have scored two or three goals in the first leg.

    MU won't have the luck.They play a similiar game to Barca and that's what suits the Catalans.Messi,Eto, Henry, plus the world class midfielders and world class keeper won't be denied, this time around.

    Besides, no Spaniard will want to let Ronaldo pass him.And Ronaldo is well aware of that too.

    In the end, class will prevail.Let's hope MU put up a good show for all the neutrals.

  • Comment number 100.

    Real Madrid's record of titles must be taken with a pinch of salt: when they won most of the them, the European Cup was a tiny novelty, largely ignored, with only a handful of team entering it. It only got serious from the mid-60s onwards. And even then it wasn't the huge tournament it is now. As such, later victories must count for more than earlier ones.

    As for the current Barcelona team's claims to be the "best side ever", that is arrogant nonsense. Man U are the champions of England, Europe and the world. Barcelona were outwitted by Chelsea's defensive/counter-attacking masterclass - which matched anything produced by the great defensive tactical teams of Serie A in years gone by - and should not even be in the final, the referee having denied Chelsea three clear penalties.

    Man U outplayed and beat Barcelona last year, and unless the notoriously anti-English Platini gets involved, they will do so again in this year's final, proving themselves the best side in the world, and arguably the greatest in football history.

 

Page 1 of 2

More from this blog...

Topical posts on this blog

This information is temporarily unavailable.

Categories

These are some of the popular topics this blog covers.

Latest contributors

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.