Arguably the grandest Club Footballing occasion on Earth, The UEFA Champions League Final!!Since 1955, the best European teams have been battling hard every season to bag this coveted prize. Only, a handful have been able to touch this precious silverware, the European Champions Club’s Cup!Spanish giants Real Madrid has been the competition’s most successful team. Italian giants AC Milan, the defending champions aren’t far behind in the success story.But, here we move aside the Italians and Spanish, because it’s an All-English Club Final (In fact, the Semifinals lined up three English teams)The red brigade from Greater Manchester is locking horns with the blue shirts from West London.Already crowned Champions in league, Manchester United are riding high with confidence. But, Chelsea, close runners-up in league, aren’t pushovers in any stretch of our imagination.
John Terry (Chelsea Skipper) – "I want the armband and my England place back. Maybe a performance in this final would go a long way to getting those things back.”
Vidic (Manchester United Center Back) - "It doesn't matter if it is Drogba, Bent or Heskey as every game is hard. Sometimes you find a match here does not go as you would expect. Drogba is a good player, very strong and fast. He has shown that by scoring many goals. You do not know what he is going to do next time. I have been struggling a little bit with injuries but will be ready for the Chelsea game, physically and mentally."
[[Courtesy – espnstar.com]]
Frank Lampard (Chelsea playmaker) - "We've achieved a lot at Chelsea in the last four or five years and we've been very close to this final many times, and obviously the years we have missed out has made us more hungry so we're savouring this build up, We know that the losing finalist is forgotten in history so we are looking to go the full step and we want to finish as the Champions League winners”
Ryan Giggs (Legendary Manchester United Winger) - "Cristiano Ronaldo has been the best player in the world for the last two years. Before that it was Thierry Henry. The best two keepers are both playing tomorrow in Edwin van der Sar and Petr Cech. The list goes on”
[[Courtesy – skysports.com]]
United won in 1968 and 1999, while this is the first final Chelsea have made.BBC Radio 5 Live's Alastair Yeomans in Moscow said the pitch looked "patched up" in places. "The pitch doesn't look too good," he said. "If you look closely you can see where it has been patched up, particularly around the centre circle. It's possible the ball won't run true in places." Uefa is confident the pitch, home to Torpedo and Spartak Moscow, will not be a problem, although it admitted it may not look good.
[[Courtesy – bbc.co.uk]]
With two full strength teams, the final is a tough affair to predict. Recent results and history all seem to point to Chelsea lifting their first ever Champions League Trophy in Moscow. United’s manager will try to keep his unbeaten record in European finals going, and will also try to pay a fitting tribute to the players who died tragically in the Munich air disaster in 1958.
[[Courtesy – dailytimes.com]]
Marcelo Lippi’s thoughts!
“It’s not that these two teams are very English, they contain players from all over the world,” said Lippi, who was manager at Juventus when they faced fellow Serie A side AC Milan in the Champions League final at Old Trafford in 2003. Yes, the clubs are English but the coaches are not English, the owners are not English, there are not many English players.”
Ronaldo's main problem tomorrow is a familiar foe, Ashley Cole, Chelsea's nimble, quick, alert left-back who traditionally excels against the Portuguese. Even if Ronaldo switches flanks, he simply swaps frying-pan for fire in the form of the outstanding Michael Essien. Chelsea's coach, Avram Grant, is unlikely to man-mark Ronaldo because he already possesses high-quality sentries patrolling those areas where United's danger-man is likely to roam, towards Cole and Essien.Assuming he continues with his 4-1-2-3 formation, Grant really has only one decision to make, and that is on the left wing, Salomon Kalou or Florent Malouda. The latter, an inconsistent France international but more of a potential match-winner than Kalou, finished the season strongly and deserves his chance.
[[Courtesy – telegraph.co.uk]]
“The countdown is on to the biggest club match in British football history. Over 40,000 Manchester United and Chelsea fans are expected to descend on Moscow for tomorrow's all-English Champions League final while thousands more will be watching at homeThe Russian authorities have relaxed visa restrictions to facilitate the supporters, allowing people into the country for 72 hours if they provide a match ticket, passport and completed immigration card. Anyone over-staying the 72-hour entry period will have to pay the fee for a regular visa when leaving.”
[[Courtesy – belfasttelegraph.co.uk]]
Venue: Luzhniki Stadium, Moscow
Don't miss it! May the best team win! :D