Spanish coach says there are no favourites for big European final next week as he praises United legendsBarcelona coach Pep Guardiola has singled out Manchester United's Paul Scholes as the best midfielder of his generation, and says there are no favourites in next week's Champions League final between the two teams.
Barca meet United on May 28 in a repeat of the 2009 Rome finale, which the Catalans won 2-0 to clinch a unique Liga, Copa and Champions League treble as the coach scooped all before him in his first season in charge.
"Manchester United are a fantastic rival, but they have an advantage because two years ago they lost to us – winning [games like that] can confuse you," Guardiola told a press conference.
"You can’t be favourites in a final against Manchester United anyway – they are a great team."
And Guardiola did not hide his feelings about the Premier League champions.
"I admire them," he said.
"They sold Cristiano [Ronaldo] and they are still winning."
Guardiola played against players like Scholes and Ryan Giggs in Champions league clashes between the two clubs when he was a midfield general for Barca.
"Out of everyone at Manchester United, I would pick out Scholes – he is the best midfielder of his generation," he said.
"I would have loved to have played alongside him."
Andres Iniesta also praised United's veteran duo and he spoke of his anticipation ahead of another final against the Red Devils.
"Scholes and Giggs are still great players; they are a point of reference in their team," Iniesta said.
"United are a great team with great players – and they like to play good football."
The Spain international still looks back at the Rome final with good memories.
"It was a very special game," he added.
"It was a special season and we really wanted to finish it on a high; Manchester United got off to a strong start, but we scored the first goal and from then on we were able to control the game."
Barca are likely to have a full-strength squad available as Sergio Busquets has been cleared to play in the final by Uefa, after the governing body decided not to punish the midfielder for an alleged racist remark made to Real Madrid's Marcelo in the recent Champions League semi-final first-leg.
"Busquets is such an important player for us and his presence at Wembley will be key," Iniesta said.
The midfielder is eyeing a goal at Wembley, but said he would step back if it meant winning.
"It would be special but it doesn’t matter who scores," he said.
"I’ve played a lot of games and I’ve been able to score some goals as well – it has been a great season for us and the fans have enjoyed it."
Barca travel to Malaga for their last Liga fixture tomorrow.
Having claimed the title, Guardiola may rest some stars for Wembley, like he did in last weekend’s goalless draw at home to Deportivo La Coruna.
"We have to play a professional game, whoever plays," Guardiola said.
The league clash kicks off at 18:00 CET.