"We will see you back here on Thursday with the European Cup." That was the promise of Barcelona midfielder Andres Iniesta as the Spanish champions showed off their league title and Spanish Cup to 80,000 supporters inside the Nou Camp.
The league-winning party, following the 1-0 defeat to Osasuna in which only two of Wednesday's possible starters took part, turned into a euphoric send-off with coach Pep Guardiola promising fans: "We will not fail you in Rome."
Thierry Henry (below) also took the microphone to thank Guardiola for persuading him to stay at the club in the summer. "I had offers," said Henry, "but Pep encouraged me to stay and I'm glad I did."
Both Henry and Iniesta joined in the celebrations with all indications suggesting they will both start on Wednesday against Manchester United. Samuel Eto'o also thanked Guardiola and told supporters: "If I have to run 80km to win the trophy on Wednesday then I'll do it."
Eto'o started the game in the hope of adding to his 29 league goals this season and moving himself closer to Europe's Golden Boot but he failed to find the net and was overtaken by Atletico Madrid's Diego Forlan. The Uruguayan striker's hat-trick against Athletic Bilbao took him to 31 goals and all but ensured Atletico's place in the Champions League next season at the expense of Valencia and Villarreal.
Eto'o is expected to start on Wednesday despite playing against Osasuna, as is veteran left-back Sylvinho. The 35-year-old former Arsenal player will leave Barça at the end of the season but looks set to make his last game for the club the European Cup final.
Guardiola is still deliberating over his final back four but Sylvinho, as the only available orthodox left-back, is the favourite to get the nod and be faced with the ominous task of dealing with Cristiano Ronaldo.
He said: "[Ronaldo] is an amazing player who is really difficult to defend against. He can do things that others cannot do. His mind is so quick. He is a wonderful player... but I think my mind is quick too."
Having made just eight league starts in Barcelona's 62-game marathon season, Sylvinho could still be left out in favour of utility man Seydou Keita, although the former Sevilla player admitted last week he had never played at full-back. Sylvinho added: "Am I the weakness? I don't think so. Whoever plays we have a great side."
*Wolfsburg sealed their first Bundesliga title by demolishing Werder Bremen 5-1 on the final day of the German season on Saturday. Bayern Munich, who went into the final round of matches two points behind, clinched second and automatic entry to the Champions League thanks to a 2-1 win over Stuttgart, who finished third.Reuse content