Perhaps, then, that is what makes the Champions League final so difficult to lose. It is always the last game of the season. Too much thinking time ahead. For the last two months, Rio Ferdinand has done lots of thinking, much of it unpleasant. But now that the wounds from May's 2-0 capitulation to Barcelona in Rome are beginning to heal, it is time to look forward.
'When you travel around in the summer, as I did, you're never too far from a news stand and I'd normally buy sports magazines,' reflected the Manchester United defender. 'But this time I didn't. I just wanted to avoid the whole thing.
Killer blow: Barcelona's Lionel Messi heads the second goal in last season's Champions League final in May
'I was to-ing and fro-ing about whether I could have done this or whether I could have done that.
'At first I thought the defeat in the final meant we'd had a bad season. That was my first reaction.
'But as days and weeks go past, you judge it with a clear head. You slowly begin to realise it was a successful season. We got three trophies and one of them was a major one in the Premier League. And we reached a second successive Champions League final.
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