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May 3, 2011

Guardiola: 2009 final no advantage

Pep Guardiola has rejected the idea that Barcelona's 2009 Champions League final victory over Manchester United will help them if Sir Alex Ferguson's side set up a rematch at Wembley this year.

•  Barcelona 1-1 Real Madrid
Alonso points finger at refs
• Gallery Photo Gallery

Barcelona saw off bitter rivals Real Madrid in the semi-final after a 1-1 draw at Camp Nou to go through 3-1 on aggregate, while Manchester United go into their clash against Schalke at Old Trafford on Wednesday with a 2-0 advantage from the first leg.

When asked whether the 2009 victory would help Barca should they meet in London, Guardiola said: "It was two years ago. I think Sir Alex Ferguson will always be there, [he] always arrives in the finals of the Champions League, so for us it is an honour and for me as a young coach it is an honour to arrive at the final and play them."

Guardiola was part of the Barcelona team that secured their first ever European Cup at Wembley 19 years ago and he is delighted to be able to return to London.

"Football is coming home so it an honour to play at Wembley," he said. "We won our first Champions League in 1992 at the old Wembley and we are ever so proud for our club and players."

Barca midfielder Andres Iniesta, who supplied the pass for Pedro's goal in Tuesday's 1-1 draw, said: "This is a unique moment. The fact that we're in a final having beaten an opponent as strong as Real Madrid means a lot.

"We had one of the best teams around in front of us and we have even more reason to celebrate because it is very difficult to achieve the feat of reaching a final.

"These things are normal. Going beyond the rivalry, beyond fighting for your own interests, fair play must take precedence. I just want to talk about football and not about non-sporting matters."

Iniesta also insisted that, despite their success in the 2009 final, their potential clash at Wembley is not a foregone conclusion.

"We have taken a very important step but we still have to play the final," he said. "Hopefully we can get it right and win another Champions League for our supporters."

Pedro, whose goal broke the deadlock in the second half, told reporters: ''I'm full of joy. It's always tough to reach a Champions League final, and to have a match against a great team like Real Madrid has made things very difficult.

''They have great players, a superb team, and we are very pleased with the end result because it was very difficult. 'I felt a great sense of joy when I scored. Andres [Iniesta] gave me a great pass, but in this game everyone gave a great level of input.

''Hopefully we can win the final at Wembley, but we know it will be difficult because Manchester [United] have a great team.''

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