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Head to head - the battles on the pitch

clfinallogo.jpgSimon has provided an exclusive look at some of the head to head battles that will be likely be occuring on the pitch tomorrow evening. How do the two teams match up?




Key Match up's:


Xavi v Michael Carrick

Arguably two of the best midfielders in Europe will face off in Rome. Xavi is coming off a fantastic year for both club and country, winning the Spanish League title, the Copa del Rey and unforgettably Euro 2008.

Carrick meanwhile has yet again been impressive for United this season with a string of valuable performances helping his side to their third straight league title, a FIFA Club World Cup as well as a Carling Cup crown.


Patrice Evra v Lionel Messi

One of the world's premier left fullbacks, Evra will yet again lock horns with a player at the top of his form in Lionel Messi.

The two faces off during the 2008 Champions League semi-finals, and in what should be an engaging tussle the duo will lock horns once again in Rome.


Samuel Eto'o v Nemanja Vidic

After a sensational season from the Cameroon striker, he will be raring to go in Rome. Close to exiting the Nou Camp, Eto'o has enjoyed a new lease of life under Barca coach Pep Guardiola this season and will be hoping to add to his three Champions League goals to date this season.

Trying to stop him will be United's Player of the Season and the newly crowned Premier League Player of the Season Nemanja Vidic. The Serb has been in imperious form all campaign and will be a vital cog in the United machine if they are to stop the power of the Spanish Champions.


Cristiano Ronaldo v Carlos Puyol

Ronaldo may not have repeated the feat of last season with his 40 odd goals, but the Portuguese star seems to be finding his feet at just the right time. Scored United's goal in the 2008 Champions League final and with a Barca defence minus its first choice right and left back's as well as one centre back he will be looking to challenge Barca's defensive stalwart Carlos Puyol.

With so many key players missing in the Barca back four, Puyol will need to be at his best to combat the talents of Ronaldo, Rooney and co.

Head to Head:

This is the tenth meeting between the sides and the record so far is two wins for Barcelona, three for United and four draws.

The rundown of previous encounters is:

1983/84 UEFA Cup Winners' Cup quarter-final
Barcelona 2-0 Manchester United (Hogg og 35, Rojo 90)
Manchester United 3-0 Barcelona (Robson 21 50, Stapleton 51)
United won 3-2 on aggregate

1990/91 UEFA Cup Winners' Cup final
Barcelona 1-2 Manchester United (Koeman 79; Hughes 67 74)

1994/95 UEFA Champions League group stage
Manchester United 2-2 Barcelona (Hughes 19, Sharpe 79; Romário 33, Bakero 49)
Barcelona 4-0 Manchester United (Stoitchov 2 59, Romário 45, Ferrer 88
Barcelona advance, United eliminated

1998/99 UEFA Champions League group stage
Manchester United 3-3 Barcelona (Giggs 16, Scholes 24, Beckham 63; Anderson 47, Giovanni 59pen, Luis Enrique 70pen)
Barcelona 3-3 Manchester United (Anderson 1, Rivaldo 57 73; Yorke 25 68, Cole 53)
United advance, Barcelona eliminated

2007/08 UEFA Champions League semi-final
Barcelona 0-0 Manchester United
Manchester United 1-0 Barcelona (Scholes 14)
United won 1-0 on aggregate


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