Charlton relishing Champions League final

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The Independent Football

Sir Bobby Charlton cannot wait for tonight's Champions League showdown between Manchester United and Barcelona in Rome.

As a former winner of Europe's most prestigious club competition, Charlton realises how difficult it will be for United to achieve the back-to-back success they crave.

Obviously, United legend Charlton is desperate for the Red Devils to come out on top.

However, the former World Cup winner is lost in admiration for Barcelona too, and like the rest of the world cannot wait to see the two best club sides on the planet go head to head.

"There will be billions of people watching around the world and like me I think they are anticipating something special," said Charlton.

"It is the best two teams in Europe. Manchester United has a reputation for the kind of football they have always played. Barcelona have the same reputation.

"They have exciting players and inventive players.

"Barcelona have Lionel Messi, Samuel Eto'o and Andres Iniesta. They are very thoughtful players, really good strikers.

"But we have Wayne Rooney, Cristiano Ronaldo, Michael Carrick and Paul Scholes, who are thoughtful and inventive as well. It is really hard to choose who is going to win."

As United have managed something no side has achieved since 1997 by reaching the final again in an attempt to retain their trophy, it could be argued the result cannot take away the magnitude of their efforts.

Not that manager Sir Alex Ferguson will be entertaining defeat, of course.

However, taking the long-term view, Charlton does not feel defeat in the Italian capital this evening would be a disaster for the Old Trafford outfit.

"Whenever I feel this club might have reached the end of the road in what has been a fantastic period, they come up with something else," he said.

"This club has more success in front of it. I am sure about that."