We can stop Lionel Messi, declares Sir Alex Ferguson

The Manchester United manager insists his side will be able to contain the Ballon d'Or winner at Wembley

sir alex ferguson
Sir Alex Ferguson faces the media at United's Carrington training ground Photo: The Sport Review

sir alex ferguson

European player of the year Lionel Messi can be stopped, according to Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson.

Speaking ahead of Saturday’s Champions League final against Barcelona at Wembley, the Scot was bullish about his side’s chances of containing the Argentine maestro.

“We have played against Barcelona three times with Messi in the team,” said Ferguson. “But there is always a solution to every good player. Hopefully we can find one on Saturday.

“They have other good players though, and so do we. That is why it is such an appealing game. I am sure Barcelona are aware of that.”

While Barcelona are the favourites to triumph in London on Saturday, Ferguson insists his team should not be overlooked.

“It’s not just about Barcelona, it’s about us too, what’s best for us and the best way of winning the match,” he continued.

lionel messiLittle magician: Messi has scored 52 goals this term (fcbarcelona.cat)

The Spanish champions cruised to 2-0 victory when the sides last met in the 2009 final in Rome, but Ferguson insists that disappointing night will not play on his stars’ minds.

“There is no advantage,” he added. “It doesn’t matter. We don’t decide those things. I know my players will be ready.”

Instead, he is focusing on the two meetings from a year before, where United recorded a 1-0 aggregate win over the Catalan giants to book their place in the 2008 final against Chelsea – which they went on to win on penalties.

Ferguson believes total concentration was the reason behind his side’s 2008 triumph, and he admits his side must once again be fully focused if they are to lift the European Cup for a third time.

“We showed fantastic concentration in those two ties,” he said. “We lost the first goal because of a sudden lapse in concentration and we had to regroup and that was what cost us really. That is the key for us. It is an important issue in terms of Saturday.”

Midfielder Ryan Giggs missed training on the day after he was identified in Parliament as the married footballer named on Twitter as having an injunction over an alleged affair with a reality TV star.

And when asked about the Welshman’s importance to his side, Ferguson simply replied: “All the players are important to us.”

The United boss was then caught by Sky News microphones asking the club’s press officer Karen Shotbolt to ban the journalist, Rob Harris from Associated Press, from Friday’s news conference at Wembley.

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