Date: 10th May 2009 at 9:20am
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Barcelona coach Josep Guardiola asked UEFA to overturn the red card of Darren Fletcher so that United’s midfielder would be able to play in the Champions League final against his own team.

Guardiola, once a brilliant player in Fletcher’s position, also hinted that a deal could be done: United should agree to let Alves and Abidal play while we could field Darren.

“I`d like to see all of them play in the final, that means Fletcher, Abidal and Dani Alves,” Guardiola said.

“We should see if we are able to make some kind of agreement with Manchester United. Fletcher got a touch on the ball and as far as Abidal is concerned, the foul given against him was not a foul. They should both be allowed to play.”

I like the man’s class: he could have talked about his own player only but he clearly, unambigously stated his belief that Fletcher should play, too. This is admirable ahead of the biggest game of his short coaching career.

As for the deal, I’m all for it but leave Alves out of the picture. He more than deserved his yellow card which rules him out of the final – he should have been booked for wrestling down Malouda in the box, too…

Unfortunately, UEFA are unlikely to sanction any such deal – but at least they’ll probably be fair. As I see it, neither will play or both, there’s no middle ground in this case.