Manchester United midfielder Paul Scholes has no doubts Saturday's Champions League final against Barcelona represents a clash between the best two teams in Europe.
Pep Guardiola's Barca have been acknowledged as number one in the world for some considerable time now. It has taken rather longer for United's attributes to be acknowledged. Some still refuse to, but - after four titles in five seasons and a third appearance on the greatest stage in four years - Scholes feels United are equally deserving of the accolade.
"There is no doubt the two best teams have made it to the final," said the 36-year-old. "Barcelona are the ultimate. They are what we all look to and want to play like. But our football can be just as good as theirs at times. We have a lot of quality too."
He added: "Both teams want to go forward and score goals, so I don't think anyone could ask for a bigger or a better final."
Suspended in 1999, Scholes finally collected a winners' medal in his own right nine years later in Moscow.
He was only introduced as a late substitute against Barcelona a year later and could not change the course of a final that had already turned against his team in Rome.
"There is a determination to make sure that doesn't happen again," said Scholes of a night filled with regret. "It wasn't a nice night and the summer afterwards felt very long. This time we intend to at least give it a go."
Scholes is still to reveal his intentions for next season, having so far refused to say whether he is going to accept the option of another one-year contract.
Manager Sir Alex Ferguson believes he will. Others are not so sure.
Strangely, the statistics bear out a belief Scholes remains an integral figure, even though he will start Saturday's match on the bench. Twenty three starts and nine substitute appearances is not a bad return for someone who was absent for nine games anyway due to a groin injury that took some time to shift.
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