x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Messi is fired up for final

Manchester United and Barcelona, two of the biggest clubs in football, go head to head in tonight's Uefa Champions League final, with the winners having the bragging rights to call themselves the "best team in Europe".

Manchester United and Barcelona, two of the biggest clubs in football, go head to head in tonight's Uefa Champions League final, with the winners having the bragging rights to call themselves the "best team in Europe". Sir Alex Ferguson's Manchester United earned that title 12 months ago with their victory over Chelsea. They also went on to claim the Fifa Club World Cup in Japan and the added prize for the winners of tonight's game in Rome will be a trip to Abu Dhabi, hosts of that competition for the next two years.

The match is being billed as a personal battle between two of the players rated best in the world. But Barcelona technical director Txiki Begiristain hopes Lionel Messi is fed up with the comparisons to Cristiano Ronaldo, and takes it out on United. "If Messi is annoyed he becomes very dangerous," said Begiristain. "I hope he's annoyed. There are a lot of comparisons and that annoys him and motivates him a lot."

Begiristain is also calling on his team to complete the perfect season after triumphs in the Spanish league and cup. "We have done very well to get to here, and now it is time to finish off the work of a whole season," he said. "This is a unique opportunity in the history of the club. We need to enjoy it and focus to achieve it." United are also hoping to make it a season to remember, with the possibility of back-to- back Champions League titles, the Club World Cup, and, domestically, winning the Premier League and Carling Cup.

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