x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 July 2017

United's van der Sar has admirers at Barca

The 40-year-old Dutchman, playing in his final game, is not short of admirers, including one who could ruin his night.

Edwin van der Sar will play his final game as a goalkeeper on Saturday at Wembley Stadium. The 40-year-old Dutchman is not short of admirers, including one who could ruin his night.

"For me, he is maybe one of, if not the best goalkeepers in the world," said Barcelona's Dutch winger Ibrahim Afellay.

"He is a great person, too. I played with him in the European Championships in 2008 and he always spoke a lot with the younger players. When a guy like Edwin van der Sar is speaking to you, you listen. I found that he was not only a fantastic player but also a person. He used to say do your best, every day try and give 200 per cent, and I have followed that advice."

Afellay, the former PSV Eindhoven star who joined Barca for just €3 million (Dh15.5m) in November 2010, is expected to be on the bench at Wembley. Should he get on to the field he will forget his friendship with Manchester United's goalkeeper.

"I will try and upset his final game," said Afellay, 25. "When you play football you are no longer friends with anyone for 90 minutes. When you play you try to do everything you have to do to win.

"It will be a great final because there are two teams that want to play football. They play a very good game."

Barca remain favourites but when it was pointed out that one team has Lionel Messi, Afellay hit back. "That is true," he said, "but only one team has Wayne Rooney."

And only one has Van der Sar, at least for one final match.

sports@thenational.ae