Messi darts about like boxer trying to find a soft spot

Former Barcelona and England manager gives his Champions League final verdict

BARCELONA are slight favourites and I think that’s fair. Saying that, however, I think everything’s getting stronger and stronger for Manchester United.

People have said that they’re not as good as they were or haven’t been at their best. My first reaction was: Crikey, if they’re not then the opposition are in for trouble because they’re still winning.

This is a team that has got stronger, and people have come through so well. Nani once looked a player who was OK and an imitation of Ronaldo, but now he’s a truly class player in his own right.

Antonio Valencia has been exceptional. He’s been a great find. And then they’ve got Javier Hernandez. He has come in and taken his chance with both hands.

It’s going to be fascinating because it’s so close. If there is a team that can beat Barcelona, you’d think it would be United. I think as the game’s getting closer, people are increasingly leaning towards them on this.

You know what Barcelona are going to do, but you don’t know what United are going to do, so they’ve got a lot of options. That will be what Sir Alex Ferguson is looking at now.

Obviously what comes to mind is: how do you stop Messi? Because Messi will go on the right wing, he’ll try the left, then he’ll go across in the middle. He’s like a boxer trying to find a soft spot.

There’s several options Ferguson can come up with, but he mustn’t lose what his own team’s got, because it’s too easy to say ‘I’ve got to do that, that and that’.

The surprise might be that he just does what he normally does. I think most battles are won by surprising the opposition – something I’ve always enjoyed doing.

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