‘The Warlord’ Vs ‘The Lord of War’




UEFA Champions League

UEFA Champions League

Manchester United face off against Barcelona in one of the most significant games of the year on Saturday. The match takes place at a ground which has been described as the home of football, Wembley. The occasion – UEFA Champions League Final 2011.

One of the many subplots of this fascinating encounter will be a battle fought off the pitch, between the managers of the two teams. Sir Alex Ferguson is currently the longest serving manager in any of the European leagues and will be on a high after finally knocking Liverpool off their perch with their 19th League title triumph. A battle hardened manager who does not shirk away from doing what is necessary to win a game. He does not let the implications of his actions bother him and stop him from doing anything. Verbal battles, mind games, backing his players to the hilt- you name it, he has done it. And what’s more, he’s come out on top more than often. After more than two decades at the helm of the club he is on the verge of winning his third Champions League trophy.

He will face off against Pep Guardiola, a manager who just has a fraction of the experience of SAF but matches him every bit when it comes to winning trophies. He is the new Warlord in this game. He has led an admittedly brilliant Barcelona side to a third consecutive La Liga title. One does not need to cast memories too far back to remember the season when he led Barcelona to win six titles in 1 season. The good natured Catalan has been pushed hard this season especially during the run in of 4 El Classico’s in 2 weeks in April. However he showed that he is more than capable of engaging in mind games as he played some of his own against the Special One.

This match represents a clash between ideals. SAF prefers the counter attacking style of football and Guardiola prefers to keep the ball and tire the opposition into mistakes. Barcelona are set up to dazzle using the skills of the inimitable Messi, Xavi and Iniesta whereas the SAF sets his team to work hard valuing the work rates of Park, Fletcher and stability of Vidic, Ferdinand and VDS.

It will also be a battle of the ages. Ferguson belongs to a dying breed to ruddy tough speaking football managers whereas Guardiola belongs to the new breed of soft speaking but media savvy managers. For sure the match will be fought on the pitch between the 22 players chosen. But as someone says, Success is 50% hard work and 50% preparation. So will it be the fantasy football that wins the battle in Wembley? Or will it be the team that does the basics correctly and does fewer mistakes?

We don’t know which one will come out on top, but rest assured that the names of both will be taken long after their departure. Hopefully the final will also be one that will be remembered for ages to come.

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