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May 24, 2011

Fergie has no masterplan for Messi

Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson will not single out Barcelona star Lionel Messi for special attention during Saturday's Champions League final at Wembley.

Fergie: No Messi masterplan

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Messi, who scooped the inaugural FIFA Ballon d'Or as the best player in the world in January, has scored over 50 goals this season for the La Liga champions, netting almost a third of their goals en route to retaining the title.

And the Argentinian has been central to Barcelona's progress in the Champions League, scoring both goals in the 2-0 semi-final victory over arch-rivals Real Madrid, the second of which is considered to be one of the best ever goals scored in the competition.

However, Ferguson does not believe that his team can focus solely on Messi, who also scored when Barcelona beat United in the 2009 Champions League final, and has instead urged his team to draw on their experience to deal with the brilliant 23-year-old.

"We have played against Barcelona three times with Messi in the team," Ferguson said. "But there is always a solution to every good player. Hopefully we can find one on Saturday.

"They have other good players though, and so do we. That is why it is such an appealing game. I am sure Barcelona are aware of that."

Ferguson believes concentration is vital and points to the two meetings with Barcelona in the 2008 semi-final, when United were able to keep a pair of clean sheets, as the template his side must work towards rather than dwell on the one-sided final in Rome,

"We showed fantastic concentration in those two ties," said Ferguson. "That is the key for us. It is an important issue in terms of Saturday."

United find themselves in the rare position of being underdogs for the Wembley showpiece, even though they have just claimed a record 19th Premier League title, but Ferguson is not bothered who is tipped as favourites.

"There is no advantage," declared Ferguson. "It doesn't matter. We don't decide those things. I know my players will be ready."

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