For the second time in three years, United could find no answer to Barcelona.
United did play better than their performance in Rome in 2009, the problem was Barca have improved just as much, if not more.
Blown out of the water: Ferdinand and co were no match for the maestro Messi
'You don't go into any final being satisfied to be second best,' said Ferdinand. 'Today we didn't get to pick up the trophy and they did.
'At 1-0 down I still thought we had a good chance to get back into the game. We got back on level terms but then conceded a bad goal and the third killed it off.
'Regardless of what happened two years ago, we didn't really do as well as we should have done.Theyare a good side. They know exactly what their jobs are and they work well as a team and individuals. You have to try and combat that.
'We had a good game plan. Maybe we didn't implement it as well as we could have.'
Highs and lows: From the joy of Rooney's equaliser (left) to the realisation of eventual defeat (right)
Wayne Rooney's first-half equaliser might have given Sir Alex Ferguson's men some hope of recording a shock victory at Wembley.
However, once Lionel Messi had scored his first goal on English soil, there was no way back for the Premier League champions, who were condemned to a 3-1 defeat by David Villa's sweet curling effort.
'We have had a fantastic season this year,' said Ferdinand. 'We are disappointed and this defeat leaves a bad taste in the mouth going into the summer but when you sit back and reflect on things we have had a top season.
'We reached the Champions League final again. We won the league. We reached the semi-finals of the FA Cup. It has not been a bad season.'
Hammer blow: Villa strikes Barca's third (above) and Rooney and Giggs can't look on as the Catalans celebrate (below)
However, raising spirits is going to be incredibly hard for Ferguson, knowing his team appear to have hit a brick wall in the brilliant Catalans, who confirmed their status as one of the best teams ever to have played the game.
'You have to give credit where it is due,' said Ferdinand. 'They were the better team today and they probably deserved to win. I am just really disappointed if I am honest.'
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Explore more:People: Wayne Rooney, Alex Ferguson, Rio Ferdinand, David Villa, Lionel Messi Places: Barcelona, Rome