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'Extraordinary'

Pep Guardiola knows very well not to count his chickens in the Champions League. For all that they are probably the greatest club side that the world has ever seen, they have underperformed in Europe under his management, only winning the competition once and twice being knocked out by teams who decided all they needed to do was set up in two banks for four and defend for 90 minutes.

So it’s no surprise to see that he’s bigging up Alex Ferguson and Manchester United in the run-up to the Champions League final, which will take place at Wembley. Despite being monster favourites, Guardiola has said the United are ‘extraordinary’ and will provide a proper test; something that rings a bit hollow given how easily Barca disposed of a much better side in 2009.

‘They played a Champions League semi-final (the second leg against Schalke) with a team full of reserves and they won 4-1 – that says everything you need to know about the quality they have,’ the Barça coach said on Sunday. ‘They have a great squad with two great teams and extraordinary players. We will try to wrap up the league and then we'll think about the final.’

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