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 Posted by ESPN Staff
May, 26, 2009

Van der Sar 'on his toes' for Barcelona challenge

Manchester United's veteran goalkeeper Edwin van der Sar insists he does not fear facing Barcelona's free-scoring attackers in Wednesday's Champions League final.

The 38-year-old has a wealth of experience, having played in three finals and won two of them - with Ajax in 1995 and United last year.

He is also Holland's most-capped player, having been involved in a World Cup and two European championships.

So the thought of facing Samuel Eto'o, Lionel Messi, Xavi and possibly Andres Iniesta and Thierry Henry hold no additional worries for the Dutchman.

He said he just has to ensure he is focused at all times and maintains his concentration.

"As a goalkeeper you always expect every team to give you nightmares," said Van der Sar, who believes last year's penalty shoot-out victory over Chelsea in Moscow gives them the slight upper hand,

"Every flaw you have or lapse of concentration can cost you a goal so you have to be on your toes every minute of the game.

"You work hard the whole year to come to certain parts of the season when you can get your hands on some silverware: we did it with the league title and we want to do it now tomorrow.

"We have experience. We went last year and we know how big the game is. Let's hope we can have some advantage with that."

Van der Sar has played a Champions League final in Rome's Stadio Olimpico before back in 1996 when Ajax failed to defend their title after losing on penalties to Juventus.

However, he did not think that would have too much bearing on his approach to the game.

"Maybe I'm less nervous but there is 13 years in between," said the Dutchman, who won his first Champions League with Ajax when they beat Milan 1-0 in Vienna.

"There has been a lot of activity and games in between so you know certain situations a little better than at that time."

Van der Sar, who has one year left on his United contract, knows he must savour every moment and seize every opportunity as there will not be many more occasions like this before he has to eventually hang up his gloves.

"It is coming closer and closer," he said on his looming retirement.

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