Barca, United vie for European supremacy

BARCELONA: For the quality of the players and their style of football, Barcelona deserve to win the Champions League according to midfielder Xavi Hernandez.

The Catalan side have received praise across Europe for the way they have marched to a league

and cup double keeping true to their traditions

of playing open and attackfootball. Pep Guardiola took over from Frank Rijkaard last summer

and turned around the fortunes of a squad which was in decline since winning the Champions League in 2006.

With Ronaldinho and Deco off-loaded, Guardiola has been able to return the motivation to the team led by the home grown stars of Xavi Hernandez and Andres Iniesta in midfield and Lionel Messi in attack, who has reinforced claims that he is the best in the world.

“This is a final between two teams which like to play football and so the side which is able to dominate possession should win,” Xavi said.

“I cannot say how (Alex) Ferguson will choose to play the game but we have a clear philosophy and we will go out looking for the victory. It is important for us to win the game

for our philosophy and we have the best players

that there are in order to do it,” added Xavi, who admitted that there would be extra spice to the contest after the defeat by Manchester United in last year’s semi-final.

With the Rome showdown also a clash between Cristiano Ronaldo and Messi, arguably the best two players in the world at the moment, Xavi is adamant who he sees as coming out on top. “Ronaldo is a very good player and it is nothing against him or any other footballer but Messi is on another level and there is no one to compare to him,” he said.

For Eidur Gudjohnsen, Guardiola has been crucial this season in bringing the best out of the players.

“The main difference between last year and now is that we have a different way of thinking, we are

organised and pay attention to details. In the summer before the season had even started we all felt that we could achieve something special,” said the Icelander, who despite being expected to leave last summer was kept on by Guardiola who felt he could be important to the team even if not as a first choice.