FC Barcelona will wear their traditional colours at the Stadio Olimpico, with Manchester United FC sporting an all-white kit in a European final for the first time since beating the Blaugrana in the 1991 UEFA Cup Winners' Cup.
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FC Barcelona will wear their traditional colours at the Stadio Olimpico, with Manchester United FC sporting an all-white kit in a European final for the first time since they defeated the Blaugrana in the 1991 UEFA Cup Winners' Cup.
Unbeaten in three European Champion Clubs' Cup finals, United wore all blue when getting the better of SL Benfica in 1968 and their favoured red shirts in 1999 and 2008 as they enjoyed dramatic victories against FC Bayern München and Chelsea FC respectively. Sir Alex Ferguson's side have donned their third-choice white strip just once this season, in a 2-1 loss at Liverpool FC, but have sported it five times against Barcelona in the past.
The most prestigious of those occasions came in Rotterdam 18 years ago when Mark Hughes scored twice in a 2-1 triumph over Barça which secured the club's first European trophy since that heady night under Sir Matt Busby – who would have been 100 on Tuesday – at Wembley. Bryan Robson, the United captain in '91, told uefa.com: "I hope it will be a good omen. Every time United have played in white against Barcelona they seem to have won, so I hope they do it again."
The Red Devils were also kitted out in white in the 3-3 home and away draws against Barcelona in the group stage of the 1998/99 UEFA Champions League, and in the semi-final at the Camp Nou last term where Cristiano Ronaldo missed a penalty in a 0-0 first-leg draw. Paul Scholes spared his blushes in the return leg at Old Trafford. Their only reverse in those unfamiliar colours came in their first meeting with Barcelona, a 2-0 defeat in 1984.
Barcelona are looking to claim a third European Cup in their sixth final, with two of their losses – to FC Steaua Bucureşti in 1986 and AC Milan in 1994 – having come against teams decked out in white. Benfica paraded their red shirts when overcoming the Spanish giants in 1961, while Barcelona wore orange when beating UC Sampdoria in 1992 and their preferred blue and deep red in the 2006 success against Arsenal FC in Paris.
Relaxed Sir Alex
Perhaps squaring up to a United side reminiscent of Real Madrid CF will not be so daunting given they thrashed their great rivals 6-2 earlier this month. Sir Alex Ferguson disagreed with that notion, saying with a smile: "That was an annihilation, but we're better than Madrid."