BBC Sport football


Related BBC sites

Page last updated at 06:11 GMT, Wednesday, 27 May 2009 07:11 UK

Beating Barca the pinnacle - Evra

Uefa Champions League final: Barcelona v Manchester United
Venue: Stadio Olimpico, Rome Date: Weds, 27 May Kick-off: 1945 BST Coverage: Live on ITV1 and Sky Sports 1, BBC Radio Five Live, BBC Radio Manchester; BBC Sport website.


Evra relishing Messi challenge

By David Ornstein

Manchester United defender Patrice Evra believes beating Barcelona in the Champions League final would mean more than if the opposition was Chelsea.

United beat the Blues in the 2008 final and on Wednesday can be the first team since 1990 to retain the European Cup with a win over the Spanish champions.

"You can be the best in Europe but when you beat a team like Barcelona you can be more proud," Evra told BBC Sport.

"I have respect for Chelsea but against Barcelona it will be an amazing final."

Evra, 28, was a key part of the United side that defeated Chelsea on penalties in Moscow 12 months ago and he might well have been facing the Blues again in Rome this time.

European giants ready for ultimate final

Guus Hiddink's men were leading Barca 1-0 in their semi-final, second leg at Stamford Bridge, only for Andres Iniesta to score deep in stoppage time to send the Catalans through on away goals.

That set up a potentially mouth-watering meeting between United, the reigning English, European and world champions, and Barca, who have scored 156 goals in all competitions this season and are widely regarded as the most attractive team in Europe.

"You will remember it every day for the rest of your life if you win a Champions League final against Barcelona," said Evra. "This is not only the Champions League final, this is something else.

"If we had played Chelsea again this year it would have been easy to take if we had lost because we could have just said, 'at least we won last year'.

"I honestly did not want to play against Chelsea again - it would have been more difficult because you have an excuse ready."

United are bidding to join Real Madrid, AC Milan, Liverpool, Bayern Munich and Ajax in the group of clubs to have won four or more European Cups.

Lionel Messi and Patrice Evra
Messi looks more mature than last year and it will be a bigger challenge for me

Patrice Evra

No team has yet retained the Champions League trophy and victory over Barca would result in Sir Alex Ferguson's side becoming the first back-to-back European champions since Milan 19 years ago.

"That is the target," stated Evra. "When we arrived back in Manchester after last season's final the boss said, 'congratulations guys but next year I want to see more hunger from every player and if I see one player who is not hungry to retain the Champions League he will be out of the team'.

"This proved what Manchester United want to do. We want to conquer every challenge and this is a massive challenge.

"Everybody talks about which is the best team - this year's or last year's? At the moment it is the same team but if we beat Barcelona this team will be better because it is more difficult to keep your trophies than it is to win them."

Not only has Evra experienced the joy of winning a Champions League final but also the agony of losing one.

The Frenchman played at left-back in the Monaco side that succumbed 3-0 to Porto in 2004

"I have had the chance to be involved in three Champions League finals now," he added. "I've lost one, I've won one and I want to make sure I never lose one again because it is very painful.

"Even though I have won one final, the one I lost still hurts a lot and I don't want to lose any more."

Much attention will be focused on Evra's ability to cope with Lionel Messi - Barca's key attacking threat, who tends to start on the right wing.


When United beat Barca in the 2008 semi-finals, Ferguson asked Evra to take responsibility for the Argentine and the defender responded by almost completely annulling the threat posed by Messi.

"When we played them last year we had to depend on the form of Patrice Evra and I'm going to depend on that again," said Ferguson.

"I think Patrice Evra is a fantastic football player - he's so quick and you need that against Messi because he's so quick himself."

Evra feels Messi is a better player now than he was when they last met but the United star believes he has what it takes to come out on top once again.

"It is not easy to play against one of the best players in the world," he added.

"You can stop him maybe 10 times but one time he might beat you and score and everyone will say you played badly against Lionel Messi.

"He looks more mature than last year and it will be a bigger challenge for me.

"But I train every day against amazing players like Cristiano Ronaldo, Carlos Tevez and Wayne Rooney so I know the way I need to play against him."

Print Sponsor

see also
Guardiola backs Messi to deliver
26 May 09 |  Europe
The men who make Barca beautiful
26 May 09 |  Europe
How Man Utd mastered Europe
26 May 09 |  Man Utd
Ferguson seeks place in history
26 May 09 |  Europe
Barcelona v Man Utd
26 May 09 |  Europe
Who has won the European Cup?
26 May 09 |  Europe
Road to Rome photos
25 May 09 |  Europe
Rome puts alcohol limits on final
25 May 09 |  Europe
Kahn's Champions League nightmare
26 May 09 |  Europe
Barca's Toure ready for 'decider'
25 May 09 |  Europe
Ferguson hungry for more success
22 May 09 |  Man Utd
Henry & Iniesta doubts for final
21 May 09 |  Europe
O'Shea eager to secure Euro glory
21 May 09 |  Man Utd
Man Utd fans given Rome warning
20 May 09 |  Manchester
Chelsea 1-1 Barcelona (agg 1-1)
06 May 09 |  Europe
Arsenal 1-3 Man Utd (agg 1-4)
05 May 09 |  Europe
Man Utd make victory parade plans
28 Apr 09 |  Manchester
Man Utd earn dramatic Euro glory
22 May 08 |  Europe

related bbc links:

related internet links:
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


Sign in

BBC navigation

Copyright © 2017 BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.