Will Tidey - The best Champions League final build-up...EVER
Published: 25 May 2011 - 22:00:20
If Saturday's Champions League final delivers half the entertainment of the build-up, we're in for an absolute epic. I'm talking a seven-goal, every-one-a-classic, come-from-behind cracker that ranks alongside the greatest games of all-time.
We can only hope the storm hasn't come before the calm - that Wembley isn't about to be dulled to death by 120 minutes of attrition, punctuated by a couple of petulant red cards and culminating in a wholly unsatisfactory penalty shoot-out. We're football fans, we've lived that nightmare many times.
So far we've had a breached superinjunction, a journalist who dared ask Sir Alex Ferguson a question, a David Beckham rugby tackle, a paparazzi attack, a big-name signing (or not?) and the threat of volcanic ash - and it's still only Thursday.
At this rate you almost expect news of a boozy, curfew-breaking bender from Lionel Messi on Friday night, culminating in a visit to Spearmint Rhino with Ji-Sung Park and Pippa Middleton. Literally anything seems possible.
Let's start with the superinjunction, Try as he might to keep things close to his hairy chest, Ryan Giggs lost control of his secret as he rarely does a football. First Twitter, then an MP, outed the United legend as allegedly nothing short of...well, a Premier League footballer.
The paparazzi immediately camped outside Giggs' house - only to have six of their cars vandalised by what you can only imagine were diehard Giggs fans. Or diehard Imogen Thomas fans (unlikely). Or both.
To give Giggs some credit, I don't remember Chelsea supporters doing the same for John Terry. And I'm yet to hear of any Arnold Schwarzenegger fans dealing out Terminator-style justice to the pretty guys and girls form the Entertainment channel.
The question is how will Giggs react on Saturday, and the answer is simply by doing exactly what he's be doing for the last 50 or so years - playing football, brilliantly. He's got far too much experience to let something he already knew happened affect him on the pitch. Plus he needs to get that £150,000 in legal fees back in bonuses.
Wouldn't it be ironic if he scored a match-winning hat-trick, only for Barcelona to get a superinjunction against it.
As for Ferguson, we dare not talk about it. It's like a communist state at Old Trafford press conferences - and it'll be that way until he walks out of the gates for the last time, or leaves the dugout in a wooden box. We complain about it, but like thigh-high tackles and swearing - football would be duller without him.
Back to the game in hand, and let us be thankful Barcelona have made it to England at all. Pep Guardiola's team flew in early to avoid possible complications caused by volcanic ash - that same dastardly natural substance that caused them to drive 14 hours for a semi-final in Milan this time last year. A game they of course lost. Is it just me or are these volcanoes making something of a comeback?
Finally a mention for David De Gea's supposed £17 million transfer to United. What's up with that? Ferguson said on Wednesday the deal was done, only for De Gea to make a statement through his lawyers to refute the fact. Legal wranglings? Or a genuine problem with the deal? Only time will tell.
Anyway, hard as it might be, let's not get distracted here. On Saturday night two of most glamorous and best supported football teams on the planet will square up in what promises to be a exhilarating contest of attacking football.
I still think United will edge it 2-1, but if I'm wrong I've already taken a superinjunction to delete this article from all formats. Enjoy the game.
- FOOTBALL.CO.UK BLOGGER:Will Tidey
- Will Tidey writes on sport for CNN, Eurosport-Yahoo! and Bleacher Report, amongst others. His first book, 'Life with Sir Alex', an account of Sir Alex Ferguson's 25-year reign at Manchester United, is set for release in October this year. Pre-order it now at http://tinyurl.com/6xzl62b. And follow Will on Twitter here - www.twitter.com/willtidey
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