Sport Andres Iniesta trains with the Spain squad

The playmaker came through the ranks at Barcelona while van Gaal was manager at the Camp Nou and reserved praise of the highest order for the Dutch coach

Neil Warnock: I once tipped Manager of the Year award Moyes' way – and I lost out

What I Learnt This Week: I'd like to pass on my congratulations to David Moyes

Rooney's plight proves what went wrong in Rome

Sir Alex Ferguson used to smile at Brian McClair's willingness to forego his attacking instincts to do a job anywhere on a pitch for Manchester United. "I could say to him 'fill in at right back' and he would do it, no matter where he was asked to go on the field," he recalled recently. "He would do anything, wherever you asked him to play."

Larrazabal inspired by Iniesta triumph

Of all the professionals who skipped into the recorders' hut here yesterday after a low-scoring first round of the European Open, none bore a smile any wider than that of Pablo Larrazabal. There was a very good reason for it: Larrazabal happens to be a rabid Barcelona fan who has been close friends with one Andres Iniesta since the pair played football together on the same school team.

James Lawton: Catalans map out a route for Spanish domination

Dazzling possession football that won victory in Rome can deliver the World Cup next year to a nation that is showing even the mighty Premier League how to play

Van der Sar laments lack of possession

Edwin van der Sar cited an inability to retain possession as the major reason for Manchester United's Champions League final defeat in Rome last night.

Pete Jenson: Eto'o thrives after move to right

"We don't always agree on things," said Samuel Eto'o about his relationship with coach Pep Guardiola this week. "Sometimes we do what I say, sometimes we do what he says but usually it's true that when we do what he says he turns out to be right." It will have been Guardiola that decided to start with his Cameroon centre-forward wide on the right and Leo Messi through the middle, and it worked like a dream in the crucial first period of the game.

United left breathless by Iniesta midfield mastery

Barcelona 2 Manchester United 0

Ian Herbert: Guardiola's brilliant creation is enough to make the heart weep

Pep Guardiola's words had sounded a little too ornate to be football language when he took a seat up on a stage in this stadium on Tuesday evening and spoke of how he wanted his side to be "beautiful" and to feel they were playing in front of the whole world. But that is how it was when their moment came. When all the analysis had spun out and it came down to the football it really was 10 individuals creating geometry so astoundingly satisfying to see that the words for Manchester United were ones which so rarely apply. Predictable, staid, ordinary.

Charlton relishing Champions League final

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

We'll put on show for the world, says Guardiola

The Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola last night declared an intent to show the world, at the end of his first season as coach, how good his side are. "I want the players to feel good and to feel they are playing in front of the whole world; to be daring and show why we've been so successful this season," he said of his side, who have won the Spanish league and cup double and have played some dazzling football on route.

A dream final? United look to spoil the party

It was the match-up that everyone wanted but the reality is Ferguson's team will play on the counter and deny Catalan midfielders their usual freedom

Guardiola concerned by lack of options

Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola fears a lack of options could hinder their chances of overcoming Manchester United in next week's Champions League Final.

Can United shut out Barça?

Even if Rio returns, Ferguson faces an awesome force in the Catalans' attack. Ian Herbert looks at the key battles that may decide the Champions League final

Barcelona confident Henry and Iniesta will be fit

Barcelona are confident that both striker Thierry Henry and midfielder Andres Iniesta will be fit for next week's Champions League final against Manchester United, defender Gerard Pique said.

Henry and Iniesta fit for Champions League final

Manchester United's challenge in next week's Champions League final got a little harder yesterday when Barcelona's Andres Iniesta and Thierry Henry, who have been doubts for Rome, declared they are confident they will play in the match.

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