Manchester United were taught a lesson when they came up against Barcelona in the 2009 and 2011 Champions League finals.
The Red Devils were champions of England in both seasons they would face Pep Guardiola’s side in the final, but they didn’t come close to the Spanish giants in either contest.
The gulf in class was sizeable. Barcelona, led by Lionel Messi, were clearly head and shoulders ahead of the competition.
That’s not something to be sorry about, of course. That Guardiola side will be remembered as one of the greatest in football history.
Indeed, Sir Alex Ferguson himself was humbled by the whole experience.
"No one has given us a hiding like that,” he said after the 3-1 defeat at Wembley Stadium in the 2011 final, per the Telegraph.
“It’s a great moment for them. They deserve it because they play the right way and enjoy their football.”
However, there still remains a feeling about former Man United players that Ferguson’s tactics in the games set them up to fail.
Last year, Rio Ferdinand said pressing Guardiola’s side in the 2011 clash would be difficult, having struggled two years before.
“I didn't agree. I voiced my opinion, but at the time you're confident in a man like Alex Ferguson," Ferdinand said on BT Sport.
Now, Wayne Rooney has hit out at the Scot’s attempts to go toe-to-toe with Guardiola.
“We lost two Champions League finals going toe-to-toe with Guardiola's Barcelona, by trying to press high and get round them, which was suicidal,” Rooney wrote in his Sunday Times column.
“I remember Alex Ferguson saying 'we're Man United and we're going to attack, it's in the culture of this football club' and thinking 'I'm not too sure about this'.
“I think all the players knew, deep down, it was the wrong approach, that we were abandoning the way that had brought us success in that 2008 semi-final - and sure enough both times we got outplayed.
“There is being true to the club, but then there's sitting back afterwards and thinking 'we lost’.”
Ferdinand’s breakdown of the 2011 final, featured last year on BT Sport, was fascinating.
“In that midfield in Xavi, Iniesta and Busquets, they probably had three of the top six players in the world, Iniesta too…,” the former centre-back said.
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