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Rio Ferdinand's Fascinating Breakdown Of How Lionel Messi Dominated The 2011 Champions League Final

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Rio Ferdinand's Fascinating Breakdown Of How Lionel Messi Dominated The 2011 Champions League Final

Rio Ferdinand sat down to discuss Lionel Messi's performance against Manchester United in the 2011 Champions League final and it's a fascinating watch.

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Barcelona dominated United at Wembley and ran out 3-1 winners thanks to goals from Pedro, David Villa and Messi.

Ferdinand played in defence that day and tried his hardest to stop the five-time Ballon d'Or winner, but to no avail.

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He sat down for an episode of 'Five Formations' to run through the game and the section on Messi offers so much insight.

Sir Alex Ferguson knew the threat Messi possessed and regrets not having Ji-Sung Park man mark him. Ferdinand disagreed with his former boss, however.

The ex-England international said: "If we said he were going to man-mark him… this guy Messi is an alien! He was already being allusive for us two [Vidic and myself]. So we were basically playing with two-men down at this point.

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"If you man-mark him with Park, he’s going to stand over here [the right wing]. Now we’re three men down! They’ve got bodies everywhere in here [the middle].

"I don’t think even man-marking Messi in this game would have helped us. We weren’t a pressing team by nature. The best teams in this era, we had to fight with. We were the best at transitioning when we won the ball and would turn defence into attack very quickly.

"When you’ve got a team like this… man-marking Messi… he would happily stand there [the right-wing] and say ‘come with me’."

Image Credit: Alamy
Image Credit: Alamy
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"All of a sudden the game would develop, [Andres] Iniesta would get the ball behind our midfield and all of a sudden bang [Messi runs into the striker position]. There will be a few times where Messi will be the wrong side of Park and then it’s curtains."

Messi had already played in a Champions League final against United, scoring in a 2-0 win two years prior.

Ferdinand would go on to claim Messi and Ronaldo Nazario are the two players who are a class above.

He also explained Messi 'sapped the confidence' from himself and centre back partner Nemanja Vidic.

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"Really, I want him [at striker], when we’re one vs one. He’s not allowing me to do that.

"Me and Nemanja [Vidic] are looking at each other and going ‘we’re not even part of the game.

"We’re not even affecting it. He’s sapping our confidence with even going past us’."

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Messi would go on to win another Champions League with Barcelona in 2015 before joining Paris Saint-Germain last summer.

Featured Image Credit: FIVE/YouTube & Alamy

Topics: Manchester United, Rio Ferdinand, Lionel Messi, Barcelona

Daniel Marland
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