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May 20, 2008

Seedorf: United deserve to win in Moscow

Four-time Champions League winner Clarence Seedorf believes this year's final between Manchester United and Chelsea is too close to call but thinks Sir Alex Ferguson's side deserve to win Europe's most prestigious trophy.

The 32-year-old Dutch international, who is the only player to win the competition with three different clubs: Ajax (1995), Real Madrid (1998), and AC Milan (2003, 2007), expects a battle of conflicting styles in Moscow's Luzhniki Stadium on Wednesday night and predicts United will take the game to the Blues.

However, the much-travelled midfielder is unsure whether the Red Devils will be able to break-through Chelsea's formidable defence.

'Chelsea are going to wait for the moment and Manchester are going to try and create the moment,' Seedorf said. 'We will see if they can succeed.'

'Chelsea has a great defence. They make the pitch very short and that is going to be the difficulty for Manchester. And then the counter attack of Chelsea, with Didier Drogba up front and with Michael Ballack in support - this is going to be the difficult part for Manchester to cope with.'

While Chelsea's strength is in the solidity and power of the team Seedorf notes that despite United being a 'very complete' team it's in attack where their real strength lies.

'Their strikers are fantastic, of course; Tevez, Ronaldo and Rooney,' Seedorf explained. 'But it is all going to really depend on how, in the close space they are going to have against Chelsea, they can manage to create space to be able to do the one against one with the defenders.'

The state of the pitch could also be a major factor. The stadium's artificial pitch has been replaced with grass for the final but UEFA, amongst others, have raised concerns about the quality of the surface.

Seedorf has already been pitch side at the Luzhniki Stadium and is hopeful the hordes of staff working on the surface can get it right before kick-off.

'I think it will be good tomorrow it seems like it is going to rain. They just gave it some water and the teams will play and train on it today so that will also help to improve the state of the field.'

'If the pitch is not good it will definitely make a difference, especially for Manchester,' he added.

As for who will actually win in Moscow Seedorf is sitting on the fence.

'My prediction is... that both really can win. [laughs].'

'The reason I give for Chelsea is that it is their first time in the final and maybe destiny is picking,' said Seedorf.

'On the other side I see that Manchester has been ruling the game over the last few years in this competition and they would most probably deserve it over Chelsea,' he added.

'I really think we have to wait for the game tomorrow.'


•  Dutch midfielder Clarence Seedorf plays for reigning European Champions AC Milan and is in Moscow as part of ESPN's superb coverage of the UEFA Champions League final.

You can watch him on ESPNsoccernet Press Pass' special broadcast from Moscow and ESPN's match coverage on the night of the final.

To read his a full transcript of his interview with ESPNsoccernet click here.

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