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 Posted by ESPN Staff
May 21, 2011

Iniesta hails Scholes and Giggs

Barcelona midfielder Andres Iniesta has labelled Manchester United's Paul Scholes and Ryan Giggs "shining examples for any player'' ahead of next weekend's Champions League final between the two clubs.

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Iniesta is full of respect for the Premier League champions, who, like Barca, will be aiming to complete a domestic and European double when the teams go head to head at Wembley next weekend.

He said in the Independent: "[Wayne] Rooney is one of the best players in the world and I love watching him play.

"They have Nani as well and a very good defence. But if you had to pick out only one, then for their history and for all that they have achieved it would have to be Paul Scholes or Ryan Giggs. They are two shining examples for any player.''

Iniesta also spoke of his respect for Barca coach Pep Guardiola, who has guided the club to three successive Primera Division titles since taking charge in 2008 - as well as Champions League glory in 2009.

"He is very important for us,'' said the 27-year-old Spain international. "I think we all agree that he has been the key to the success of this team.

"It is what he transmits to the players - his knowledge of the game, the club and all that surrounds it.

"He is a coach that gives you solutions. In matches when things are not going well he comes up with the answer.

"The players are ultimately the decisive ones because we are on the pitch, but it's fundamental to have a coach who you can actually learn from.''

Barca winger Pedro Rodriguez, speaking to Spanish newspaper El Mundo Deportivo, also described Giggs as a "living legend" and says it will be a privilege to line up against the Welshman next week.

The 23-year-old Spain international, who was just four when Giggs was first breaking through in the game, said of the United ace: "He's a living legend and to play against him for someone like me, who has seen him play for so long, is a pleasure and a privilege.

"Giggs was very fast and attacking and I tried to focus on him (growing up). Now he plays more in the middle but he's very dangerous with the final ball."

Pedro was part of the Barca side that beat United in the 2009 Champions League final in Rome, coming on as a stoppage-time replacement for Iniesta in the 2-0 win.

Since that clash United have seen attacking duo Cristiano Ronaldo and Carlos Tevez depart the club, but Pedro believes as a whole that Sir Alex Ferguson's side are better now than they were back then.

When quizzed about United's full-backs, the winger said: "I've still not played against (Patrice) Evra and Rafael but they are very quick and aggressive and are very difficult to beat.

"Across the pitch they have a more compact team and I think that they are better than in Rome. It will be very difficult to defeat them."

Pedro was also asked if he thought United would be more conservative at the outset compared to the final two years ago, to which he replied: "I don't know what their approach will be but with players as quick and mobile as Chicharito [Javier Hernandez] and Rooney, players with a lot of creativity in the middle and with a lot of experience in defence, it's clear that it will be a very tough game."

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