If anyone can do it, Ferguson can

Former Man United player David Beckham believes Alex Ferguson and his team can achieve European glory against the odds

     After destroying Real Madrid in the semi-final, Messi aims to wreak havoc amongst the United defence [GALLO/GETTY]

    Manchester United can upset the odds and beat Barcelona in Saturday's Champions League final because of their manager Alex Ferguson said former United star David Beckham on Monday.

    Despite being described by some as one of the greatest teams in the history of the sport, Beckham told the BBC if anyone can bring Barcelona down to earth it is the wily 69-year-old Ferguson, who has just taken United to a record 19th league title.

    Behind his old boss

    David Beckham may not have left Manchester United on particularly good terms with Ferguson - with the fiery Scotman accidentally kicking a boot at the England star before he transferred to Real Madrid - but it seems the bad blood between them is a thing of the past. 

    "He (Ferguson) can't get any better than what he is - he has proved year after year, team after team, player after player what an amazing manager he is," said Beckham, who made his debut for United in 1992.

    "To change the players around like he does over the years and still be a success is unbelievable."

    "Everyone is talking about Barcelona as one of the best club sides in the world, and of course they are."

    "But if anyone can beat Barcelona at their peak, then Sir Alex Ferguson knows how to do that. I hope they go and do that."

    Beckham, who is due to return and play at Old Trafford on Tuesday in a testimonial against Juventus for longserving fullback Gary Neville who has retired, rubbished claims that this United side lacked the class of its
    predecessors who had won the title.

    "They are up there with the best United sides of all time; the proof is in the trophies they have won," said the former England captain, who won six league titles under Ferguson.

    "People have criticised the team but you can't ask for more than that."

    Should United beat Barcleona it would be the third time that Ferguson has done the league and Champions League double during his tenure.

    Menace in Fergie's way

    If anyone can stop Ferguson claiming another double it is likely to be Barcelona's phenomenal playmaker Lionel Messi. With 52 goals under his belt already this season, Messi will be rested and ready to add to his tally going into the clash.

    The Argentina forward scored in Barcelona's 2-0 win over Man United in the 2009 final in Rome, but is expecting a tougher challenge at Wembley on Saturday.

    "It's a final, a special game to play," Messi said on Monday from Camp Nou Stadium.

    "There are great memories of Rome, but those are behind us now - this will be a completely different game."

    Messi hasn't scored since striking twice in the 2-0 win at Real Madrid in the first leg of the semi-finals on April 27th. The leading scorer in the Champions League with 11 goals, he hopes that playing in Europe again will
    help end his four-game drought.

    Since Guardiola took charge, Messi has 137 goals in 158 matches for Barcelona. But he acknowledged feeling slightly frustrated at having to sit out the last two league matches with the title already secured for a third
    straight year.

    "I wanted to play but this is also good for me after so many games this season. I'm well rested and ready to go,'' Messi said.

    On the attack

    One of the key components of Barcelona's possession-based attacking style of football, Messi is hoping his team can win a third European Cup title since claiming its first in 1992, which was also played at Wembley.

    Despite having now been at the club for 10 years, Messi wasn't in the squad when Barcelona beat Arsenal in the 2006 final. He also has no memories of the team's first European Cup win, with Guardiola in the team, while he was at home in Rosario, Argentina.

    "The truth is none. I didn't know it was happening, so I didn't see it - I was five,'' Messi said.

    Guardiola believes he knows the way to get his star player scoring again on Saturday.

    "We'll attack from the start. We'll attack, yes," Guardiola said.

    Whether Alex Ferguson will be brave enough to attack Barcelona is another matter entirely. 

    SOURCE: Agencies


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