Britten calls tune for all of Europe
One man who will be prouder than most tonight is Tony Britten.
He wrote the Champions League anthem, which is now so at one with the tournament itself."I'm proud of it," he told The Independent this week. "From what I understand it's become a really very important branding tool. It's strange because I turn the telly on and think 'I wrote that'." The anthem is a powerful symbol of European integration, and Britten is pleased to be part of that process. "What I like about the Champions League," he said, "is that Uefa have created something that's pan-European, that does genuinely cross boundaries and borders. The Champions League means the same thing to all people: it means excellence." Guy Fletcher, chairman of PRS for Music, which collects musical royalties, described it as "one of the great untold stories of success in classical music".
Alves primed to explode tonight
Will anyone be more worth watching tonight than Dani Alves? The world was denied him in the Rome final two years ago due to suspension. So expect two career-defining matches' worth of running, diving, harassing and shooting on sight. This is a man who has "Daniel" tattooed across his chest. (Admittedly the name of his son, but that itself is characteristic.) His form in Uefa Cup finals – two wins, one missed penalty, one destruction of Middlesbrough, suggests it will be worth the wait.
Scholes marks out Busquets' tricks
Paul Scholes is unlikely to start tonight; his final Manchester United performance could be from the bench. That was how it was in 2009, when Scholes came on with United two-down. His one contribution was to address to Sergio Busquets a tackle that looked liked a parodic tribute to some of Scholes' more robust efforts over the years. At the time it seemed jealous and desperate but, given Busquets' conduct in the two years since, it now has the feel of pre-emptive punishment for the Barça man's various misdeeds. He may get the chance for another shot tonight.