As Sky Sports' resident expert on La Liga, Guillem Balague is well placed to speculate how Barcelona will aim to overcome the reigning European champions in Rome...
Are United and Barcelona the two best teams in Europe?
No doubt, and by a long margin. The stats prove it in Barcelona’s case, and if United hadn’t started the season slowly then they’d have similar stats. When you see the likes of Tevez and Berbatov on the United bench, it goes to show you how good their squad is.
Finals aren’t renowned for being great spectacles, but could this be the exception?
It depends on United. We know how Barcelona are going to play, and there are only two ways you can defend against them: the Chelsea way which is by defending really deep, or if you think your team is sharper and physically better then you put pressure on Barcelona all over the pitch, try to recover the ball early and hit them on the counter. I’ve got the impression United won’t go high up and risk exposing themselves.
Which team is going to be most hindered by suspensions and absentees?
Barcelona. In the last quarter of the season they have been playing their strongest side in every game. I’m not so sure how wise a decision that has been, with injuries to key players like Iniesta, Henry and the others.
How do you expect the managers to approach things tactically?
I guarantee Barcelona will play 4-3-3, they only know one way to play. United are one of the best teams in the world at exploiting weaknesses, so they will be keen to exploit Barcelona’s weaknesses at the back and at set-pieces.
The hype of Cristiano Ronaldo versus Lionel Messi is inevitable. Who do you think is the better player?
Iniesta! It would be a shame if he didn’t play. I think he’s been the best player in the world for a few months now, and he can do things neither Messi nor Ronaldo can do. But of the two, Messi is strong with the ball at his feet and can do magic, but he often goes missing in big games and needs to improve mentally. People used to accuse Ronaldo of that, but he’s developed it now and he’s an outstanding, physically imposing player.