Vidic warns against Messi obsession
Written By MR on Friday, May 27, 2011 | Friday, May 27, 2011
Nemanja Vidic fears Champions League heartbreak for Manchester United if they become obsessed with shackling Lionel Messi in Saturday's final against Barcelona at Wembley.
Vidic captained United to a record 19th English title this month but the Serbian defensive rock knows he is in for one of the toughtest tests of his career against the stardust quality of Pep Guardiola's Spanish champions.
Messi scored in Barca's 2-0 victory over United in the 2009 Champions League final in Rome and has dominated the build-up but Vidic will not have eyes only for the twinkle-toed Argentine goal machine.
"Messi is a great player and is really hard to stop," said Vidic. "But I would not underestimate the other players they have like Xavi and (Andres) Iniesta, they're really good players who can produce good performances in the vital games.
"It is not just about one player. It's about stopping Barcelona as a team."
Vidic remembers only too well the sight of Carles Puyol lifting the Champions League trophy for the Catalans two years ago and says that image is a motivating factor for Wembley.
"Obviously when you get to a final as big as that and lose the game it's not a great feeling," added the former Spartak Moscow player.
"To see the other team celebrate the biggest trophy you can have, it's not a great moment.
"It's sad but we had to say that the better team won that night. Barcelona are a great team and obviously they will have a lot of possession during the game.
"But it is down to us to exploit their weaknesses which all teams have."
United have no injury worries but it remains to be seen whether manager Alex Ferguson opts for a five-man midfield to counter Barcelona's threat or gambles with a second striker.
"The gaffer has some big calls to make because all the players are fit and it will be really hard to choose the first 11," said Vidic.