Champions League hero Edwin van der Sar cannot wait to get started on a new European campaign with Manchester United.
Van der Sar saved the decisive penalty which gave United their win over Chelsea in Moscow last May, since then he has retired from international combat, quitting the Holland scene with 128 caps following an earlier than expected exit from Euro 2008.
"Normally you go from game to game and suddenly I have had two weeks without one, so I have been twiddling my thumbs a little bit," said Van der Sar. "But I don't have any regrets. I did my thing for 14 years and I am quite happy to focus on United."
In joining Ryan Giggs and Paul Scholes as former internationals, Sir Alex Ferguson is ensured of a healthy presence of veterans during the regular early-season breaks.
With Owen Hargreaves, Michael Carrick, Anderson and new arrival Dimitar Berbatov - whose Bulgaria side did not have a game - also around, United's Carrington training complex has almost had an air of normality, which Cristiano Ronaldo's presence only enhanced.
The arrival of Villarreal, who include former United youngster Giuseppe Rossi in their ranks, is an appropriate occasion for the Red Devils to flex their own striking muscle.
In paying �30.75million for Dimitar Berbatov, Ferguson has not only acquired one of the Premier League's most obvious talents, he has given himself a different option, which the Scot is quite prepared to unleash when required.
"They could all play if we wanted to juggle the team about in a certain fashion," he reflected. "I have been thinking about all the options we have. But the most important thing is - with Wayne Rooney and Carlos Tevez - I have got is having the three of them."
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