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May 29, 2011

Van der Sar plans long break

Edwin van der Sar played his final match of his long career at Wembley on Saturday night and the Manchester United goalkeeper is looking forward to a well earned rest.

• Guardiola to stay at champions Barca
• Nani sees positives in defeat
• Messi proud of 'better team' Barca
• Brewin: Barca machine purrs
• Jolly: The long hard goodbye

The veteran Dutchman, 40, was unable to provide a fitting climax to his stellar career as United lost 3-1 to Barcelona in the Champions League final but he could eventually return to winning ways as a coach.

Van der Sar has started taking his coaching badges and has enrolled on a course in Holland, so he does have the option of completing them both in his adopted home and his real one.

Given his experience, Van der Sar is bound to be a man in demand. However, his immediate reaction as he headed towards the rest of his life was to take a break.

"I have done some coaching badges in England and have put myself forward to do that in Holland as well but I am not sure if I am going to finish them,'' he said.

"Maybe it is too soon. I want to take a year out and do some nice things.

"I want to watch some games with friends in a normal situation on a Saturday, have a nice meal on a Saturday night, watch a game on Sunday, play golf and have some family time.''

All those things must look so appealing to someone who has spent so long coping with the discipline required to operate at such a high level. In addition, his wife Annemarie's continuing recovery from a stroke has to be taken into account.

However, how long it will be before Van der Sar starts to get itchy feet for an involvement in the game he knows so well remains to be seen.

"It is not going to be easy,'' he said. "I never said that. I have some friends who retired five or six years ago, so I have exceeded my expectations by two or three seasons anyway. It is not a big problem.''

Van der Sar was remarkably emotionless about his retirement, and the fact his final game ended in a defeat.

"I am quite all right,'' he said. "It is not too bad. I expected more emotions, or different ones. It is the right time for me and I am happy with my decision.''

For the second time in three seasons, Van der Sar was powerless to prevent United going down to Barca.

It has been suggested he was too slow getting across for the Lionel Messi shot that put Pep Guardiola's side ahead for a second time and ultimately proved to be the winner.

However, that does not take into account the speed with which the Argentina forward took his chance and the bodies in the former Ajax man's way as the ball flashed past him.

"It took them 20 minutes to get into the game, so we doubled that from Rome [2009 final],'' he laughed. "After equalising, you hope the game is still open but we didn't start the second half well and were on the back foot again.

"You can stop them. They have lost a couple of times this season so you must be able to. But they are a very good side with some excellent players.''

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