Winners of the UEFA Champions League in 2008 and runners-up a year later, Nemanja Vidić and Rio Ferdinand are full of resolve as they bid to take the trophy to Old Trafford again.
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Nemanja Vidić and Rio Ferdinand have enjoyed yet another season to remember with Manchester United FC, but the pair will only be truly happy if the campaign ends in UEFA Champions League final victory.
An imposing presence at the heart of the United defence, together and separately, it was perhaps little surprise that the pair were chosen to represent the squad at the pre-match press conference and both were a study in determination, Vidić emphasising how much the game means to Sir Alex Ferguson's side. "I'm honoured to be the captain of such a big club and in this game, but if you leave the field without the trophy you are not really satisfied," the Serbian international said. "We've been lucky this year, we won the Premier League and we can focus on this."
With that record-breaking 19th English league title already secured, United have been able to give Barcelona all their attention, and Vidić believes that could make a crucial difference at Wembley. "We're doing the [same things] as normal but we've prepared a bit more than usual. It's about being ready mentally and physically," he said. "We have played so many games this year and are all fit. We are just trying to prepare ourselves for this big game; we have so many mature players here and the experience they have will help the younger players be prepared.”
Another potentially decisive factor for United is Wayne Rooney, who scored the title-clinching goal at Blackburn Rovers FC a fortnight ago – proof, in Ferdinand's eyes, of his status as a big-match player. "When we've needed Wayne to stand up and be counted he's always been there for us. You talk about big occasions – in the [Manchester] City game he scored one of the best goals you'll probably see at Old Trafford," the England centre-back said. "That was a massive occasion and I don't need to go through the different times he's done that."
Ferdinand was keen to emphasise United's hopes do not rest solely on the shoulders of their talismanic forward, however, adding: "We have 100% belief and trust in all of our players, not just Wayne but everybody else. It is not going to be down to one person to perform to make sure we get over the line; it will need all of us to be focused, concentrate and implement what the manager has asked us to do."
Ferdinand applied a similar principle to United's final opponents, pointing out that aside from 52-goal Lionel Messi, Barcelona boast plenty of other attacking options. "Pedro [Rodríguez] has got [plenty of] goals this season and David Villa is a known goalscorer," Ferdinand said. "They stay wide, make runs inside and try to pin your full-backs down to ask questions of your defenders.
"It's more important for us to be well drilled as a team rather than concentrate on individuals," added Ferdinand, who knows exactly what United must do to repeat their 2008 triumph – and erase the memory of the following year's defeat against Barça. "If we work hard and do what is asked of us by the management, because they have prepared us properly, then we will have a good chance of being successful."