Champions League Final Preview: Barcelona vs Manchester United

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Champions League Final Preview: Barcelona vs Manchester United

This year's Champions League final will feature the top two sides from England and Spain, in a one-game, winner-take-all final set to be played in Wembley Stadium on May 28.

The two teams involved include the world's best player in Lionel Messi as well as one of the greatest managers in the history of the sport in Sir Alex Ferguson. Manchester and Barcelona have been Europe's best performing and most consistent teams, both domestically and continentally. Both teams are set to win their domestic leagues, but only one of them will be winning multiple trophies and titles this year.

The final will be a repeat of the 2009 final, where Barcelona were 2-0 winners in Rome thanks to goals from Messi and Eto'o. Both sides featured a star-studded lineup, with the the likes of Rooney, Ronaldo and Tevez lining up for Manchester and Messi, Eto'o, Xavi, Henry and Iniesta featuring for Barcelona.

This year, however, Hernandez and Nani have replaced the departed Ronaldo and Tevez for Manchester and Pedro and David Villa have replaced the departed Eto'o and Henry for Barcelona.

Since the 2009 final, the world has witnessed the gradual evolution of Lionel Messi as a player, increasingly realising his true potential and setting himself apart and above every other player in the world today.

Manchester, in retrospect, has seen its No. 1 star player, Cristiano Ronaldo, leave for Real Madrid in the summer of 2009. Their other influential forward, Carlos Tevez, has also been missed, but in-form striker Javier Hernandez is a player quickly becoming a household name and bonafide star, seemingly allowing the Manchester fans to accept and forget the Tevez departure.

This past weekend saw Manchester United overtake Liverpool's 18 league titles with their 19th, cementing their place as the most successful club in the English Premier League. Barcelona, too, has secured the Spanish La Liga title, winning their third consecutive title.

The champions of England and Spain will meet in the Champions League final and we will look at several factors in determining the likely winner of the two.

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