Manchester United board train at Stockport for Champions League final

27 May 2011 02:04
ShareManchester United today boarded the train to London in their quest for European glory.

Sir Alex Ferguson and his squad of millionaires jumped on the Virgin train to Euston at Stockport station as they count down to their showdown with Barcelona at Wembley.

Platform to success: Edwin van der Sar and Michael Owen (left) arrive at Stockport

On the way: Edwin van der Sar, Ryan Giggs, Gary Neville and Paul Scholes on the journey

The United stars may be the centre of the world's attention in 48 hours time on Saturday night but they didn't look like superstars as they shunned flying in favour of travelling by land.

Ferguson - wearing a stylish navy suit - was seen chatting on his mobile phone on the platform, possibly picking up the latest news ahead of watching two of his horses race at Sandown on Thursday night.

His squad opted against formal wear, instead donning the distinctive red and black tracksuits for their two-hour journey to the capital.

Mobile unit: Sir Alex Ferguson chats on the phone at the station

Meanwhile, Chris Smalling will swap the living room for Wembley Stadium to watch the Champions League final.

The former Fulham centre-back has been used to viewing European club football's showpiece event on television from the comfort of a mate's sofa in previous seasons.

Now, barring a late injury to Nemanja Vidic or Rio Ferdinand, he is likely to have one of the best seats in the house - pitchside on United's bench for the clash with an all-conquering Barcelona side.

Waiting game: Chris Smalling (left) and the Da Silva twins head for the train

'I used to watch the Champions Leagueat my mates' houses all the time,' said Smalling, who famously was playing for non-league Maidstone United three years ago.

'Ithas only been one season [at United] and I am already looking towards aChampions League final. It is going to be a great occasion at Wembley. It will be great to see all the friends and family. It should be a big finale.

'On a personal level I did not expect it to turn out this way but it has been superb to feel part of the team. Even the group games, when you hear the music on a Tuesday or Wednesday - the music sets it alight.

All packed: (clockwise from top left) Javier Hernandez, Darren Fletcher, Dimitar Berbatov and Sir Alex Ferguson

'Everyone watches, regardless whether you support a team or not. It is great just to be able to be part of it.'

Havingjoined Fulham in the summer of 2008, the 21-year-old made his United debut in last year's Community Shield - after signing the previous January - and has so far played in the Champions League nine times.

Having been loaned back to the Cottagers for the second half of last season, Smalling gained the unexpected bonus of playing in a side which reached the Europa League final.

He may be set to miss out on a second successive European final - he did not play in the defeat to Atletico Madrid in Germany - but believes the experience was invaluable.

Meanwhile, Barcelona took part in a light session at Arsenal's training ground on Thursday afternoon.

Magic men: Barcelona's players pass and move at London Colney on Thursday

Listen up: Barcelona's players receive a teamtalk from manager Pep Guardiola

And they're off: Stars including Lionel Messi (centre) leave Arsenal's HQ

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 Explore more:People: Alex Ferguson, Nemanja Vidic, Rio Ferdinand, Darren Fletcher, Dimitar Berbatov Places: Barcelona, London, Germany, Europe

Source: Daily_Mail

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