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Page last updated at 08:17 GMT, Wednesday, 19 May 2010 09:17 UK

Champions League bigger than World Cup - Jose Mourinho

Champions League 2010 final: Inter Milan v Bayern Munich
Venue:
Estadio Santiago Bernabeu, Madrid Kick-off: Saturday, 1945 BST
Coverage: BBC Radio 5 Live, BBC World Service and ITV1


Jose Mourinho
Mourinho found a way past champions Barcelona in the semi-finals

Inter Milan coach Jose Mourinho says the Champions League is a bigger competition than the World Cup.

His team play Bayern Munich in the final at Madrid's Bernabeu Stadium on Saturday, and the celebrated Portuguese coach is clear about the game's status.

"This game is the most important in the world," said 47-year-old Mourinho.

"It is even bigger than the World Cup because the teams in it are at a higher level than national teams, who can't buy the best players."

Mourinho has led Inter to their first European Cup final since 1972, when they lost to Netherlands club Ajax. It is even longer since Inter last held the cup, in 1965.

After being eliminated in the first knockout round in the previous two seasons, Inter ousted this year's Premier League winners Chelsea, CSKA Moscow and finally defending champions Barcelona to reach Saturday's final.

Barcelona won the second leg of the semi-final 1-0 at Camp Nou but Inter advanced to the final with a 3-2 aggregate victory.

606: DEBATE
Rupert Matley

Inter were accused in some quarters of playing overly negative football in Barcelona, while others defended Mourinho's brilliant tactics as the Catalans' Argentine playmaker Lionel Messi was kept quiet.

Mourinho reflected: "I think that this season I haven't seen a match like the one between Inter and Barcelona at the San Siro.

"I haven't seen a team play the way we did. We attacked aggressively against the champions of Europe. We scored three goals against the champions of Europe.

"We won the tie in Barcelona, but everyone talks about Barcelona winning and says we parked the bus in front of the goal. We didn't park the bus, we parked the airplane and we did it for two reasons.

"One, because we only had 10 men and two, because we beat them 3-1 at San Siro, not by parking the bus, or the boat or the airplane, but by smashing them at the San Siro."

Both Inter and Munich will be missing important players in the first Champions League final to be held on a Saturday as each club chases unique "trebles", having won domestic league and cup doubles.

Inter are without midfielder Thiago Motta, while Munich will line up without winger Franck Ribery. Both men were sent off in the semi-finals and as a result are suspended.



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see also
Treble-chasing Inter win Serie A
16 May 10 |  Europe
Banned Ribery loses final appeal
17 May 10 |  Europe
Lyon 0-3 Bayern Munich (agg 0-4)
27 Apr 10 |  Europe
Barcelona 1-0 Inter (agg 2-3)
28 Apr 10 |  Europe
Mourinho revels in 'greatest' win
29 Apr 10 |  Europe


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