Soccer

Man Utd were ‘swearing’ and ‘furious’ during 2011 Champions League final

Sir Alex Ferguson called it a “hiding” while Rio Ferdinand later admitted his “embarrassment”. All of this came on football’s biggest stage for a glittering Manchester United team.

It is coming up to 11 years ago that one of the Premier League’s all-time greatest sides were soundly beaten by Barcelona in the Champions League final.

Two years after Barca had beaten the Red Devils in Rome, United wanted their revenge under Wembley’s arch.

Goals from Pedro, Lionel Messi and David Villa ensured they didn’t get it with Pep Guardiola’s side winning 3-1 on the night.

Many forget how good United were that season with the Barcelona team understandably considered to be one of the best ever.

And the 90 minutes of that May 2011 evening left United reeling, with Barca ace Eric Abidal pinpointing his key memory.

"The thing I remember most about that final is the last half an hour,” Abidal previously reminisced.

"The English players were angry, really furious, because we had turned Wembley into a huge rondo and there was nothing they could do about it.

"They kept swearing, shouting everything under the sun. It was incredible. Some of my team-mates couldn’t understand them but I could.

"'That’s enough, stop f***ing about. We’re dead.' And there are still 25 minutes left.

“Xavi, Iniesta, Messi, Busquets, Alves, who was practically a midfielder that day, kept going."

Keep going they most certainly did, knocking around an astonishing 777 passes during the clash.

United were no slouches themselves on the ball, as shown by Wayne Rooney’s goal which made it 1-1, and made 357 passes on the night.

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  • Though Rooney, known to not have the longest of fuses, also grew visibly frustrated as Barcelona’s tiki taka took its toll.

    Around 80 minutes had gone when Rooney approached Xavi and, the way the Catalan recalls it, said something like: “That’s enough, you’ve won. You can stop playing the ball around now.”

    By then the match had been won with the likes of Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic dragged and pulled out of their position.

    Messi appeared to have free-reign of the Wembley pitch, ably assisted by the likes of Xavi and Iniesta.

    And Ferdinand was left shocked, previously admitting: "Barca gave us an absolute lesson at Wembley.

    "I was standing there watching them lift the trophy and me, Giggsy and Scholesy were standing together with our hands over our mouths and I said: 'I feel embarrassed lads’.”

    In truth, it could have been more for the La Liga giants with Barcelona registering 19 shots on the night, 12 of them on target.

    United’s only shot on target ended in a goal though the Red Devils had nowhere to hide on a chastising night for Ferguson’s men.

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    “They're the best in Europe, no question about that,” Ferguson said at the time.

    “In my time as a manager, I would say they're the best team we've faced. Everyone acknowledges that and I accept that.

    “It's not easy when you've been well beaten like that to think another way. No one has given us a hiding like that.”

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