Destiny awaits the current Manchester United team tonight as they take on Chelsea in the Champions League final in Moscow. This season marked the 50th anniversary of the Munch disaster that struck down one of Uniteds most promising teams ever, and the history of that tragedy, sown into the fabric of the club, will play a part in motivating the team tonight.
Not that they should need much motivation, going into a final against their rivals, who have the financial clout to outspend anyone, and who usurped United as the best team in England for a brief spell, before United fought back, wining the last 2 Premiership titles.
One player that will need little motivation tonight is Paul Scholes. Scholes was booked in the semi final against Juventus in 1999 and so missed the final against Bayern, along with the also suspended Roy Keane. Keane never got the chance to rectify that miss in his career as United failed to reach the final in the remainder of his career. Scholes though gets a chance at playing in his first Champions League final, 9 years after his team mates, and players he grew up with, like Giggs, Beckham, Butt and Gary and Phil Neville, had their chance. Scholes has the chance to add to his legend and bring a deserved part of his own playing history to where it should be.
The game tonight will be one of many contrasts, in style, Uniteds free flowing, attacking brand, against Chelsea’s cautious, determined approach, in leadership, United’s Sir Alex will look to attain immortality in footballing terms with a win tonight, while Chelsea’s Avram Grant will hope to hang on to his job for next season, in owners, Uniteds American owners against Chelsea’s Russian, a throw back to the cold war for these two, and in history, United have a long history in Europe and will be looking for their 3rd European Cup, while Chelsea will be appearing in their first.
Manchester United’s current squad is thought to be the best they’ve ever had, with the likes of Ronaldo, Tevez, Rooney, Evra, Vidic, Ferdinand, Hargreaves, Carrick, and Anderson combining with the the experience of legends Giggs and Scholes, as well as van der Saar. However they will have to win the Champions League to be regarded as the best, a head of the treble winners of 99.
Tonight is their date with destiny.