Eric Abidal explains how Manchester United players reacted during 2011 final

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Football News

The 2011 Champions League final turned into a night to forget for many Manchester United supporters.

It was a rematch of the final from two years earlier and the Red Devils were hoping to exert some revenge on Barcelona at Wembley.

What happened, however, was the exact opposite as Pep Guardiola's side ran rings around a United team which included Wayne Rooney, Ryan Giggs and - most surprisingly - Fabio.

Goals from Pedro, Lionel Messi and David Villa were enough to end Sir Alex Ferguson's hopes of a third Champions League title and the Spaniards deservedly won the game 3-1.

Playing left-back that day for the Catalans was Eric Abidal and, as part of Andres Iniesta's new book: The Artist: Being Iniesta, the Frenchman has revealed how easy he and his Barca teammates found that particular cup triumph.

"The thing I remember most about that final is the last half an hour," said Abidal.

"The English players were angry, really furious, because we had turned Wembley into a huge rondo and there was nothing they could do about it."

Even some of the very best teams were given nightmares by that rampant Guardiola side but Abidal added that United's stars were taking the defeat particularly badly.

He continued: "They kept swearing, shouting everything under the sun. It was incredible. Some of my team-mates couldn’t understand them, but I could. 'That’s enough, stop f**cking about. We’re dead. And there are still twenty-five minutes left!'

"Xavi, Iniesta, (Lionel) Messi, (Sergio) Busquets, (Dani) Alves, who was practically a midfielder that day, kept going: pim-pam, pim-pam, pim-pam."

The loss was one of Ferguson's most painful and clearly the players weren't too keen on it either.

That fateful night in 2011 remains the last time the Red Devils reached the final of a major European tournament and they have struggled to make much headway in the Champions League ever since.

This year, Jose Mourinho's men are competing in the Europa League but qualifying for Europe's premier competition will be the Portuguese's minimum expectation from this season.

For Abidal, now 37, the Wembley win meant even more to him than anyone else in the Barcelona dressing room and he was given the honour of lifting the trophy at the award ceremony - just two months after being diagnosed with liver cancer.

Remarkably, it was also one of Abidal's best performances in a Barcelona shirt and certainly not a game he will ever forget.

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Wayne Rooney
Premier League
Andres Iniesta
Lionel Messi
Manchester United
UEFA Champions League
Ryan Giggs

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