'Barcelona v Manchester United was the best game of the year,' - Michel Platini lauds the Champions League final as the clash of 2011

The Uefa president says that the past 12 months were a vintage year for football, but that 2012 can be even better thanks to the European Championships and Financial Fair Play
Uefa president Michel Platini has branded the Champions League final encounter between Barcelona and Manchester United as the best match of an "exceptional" 2011.

The Catalan club triumphed 3-1 over the English champions at Wembley in May, and Platini believes that the encounter was the finest of a great year of football.

"2011 will be remembered as a year that saw many exceptional moments in the world of football. There have been many moments in both large and small competitions," Platini said, according to Sport.es.

"However, if I had to choose one, it would be the Champions League final at Wembley.

"Not only was it a legendary match, it also reminded us all that we're here to serve the sport and the players, without whom nothing would be possible and that make these dreams come true."

Despite feeling that 2011 has been a vintage year for the sport, Platini added that he felt that 2012 could outshine its predecessor.

"2012 will be essential for football. The European Championships in Poland and Ukraine promise to be unique," the administrator enthused.

"Next year we have a new purpose. We enter a new era in club football due to Financial Fair Play, which is supported and carried out worldwide as in a symbol of unity and responsibility."

Starting last month and continuing all through January, Goal.com will publish extracts from Graham Hunter's highly-anticipated book, 'Barca: The Making of the Greatest Team in the World'. In this Friday's extract, he looks at Pep Guardiola's early beginnings at Barca B in the Spanish third division ahead of his meteoric rise to world domination with the first team. Don't miss it!