Date: 25th May 2009 at 10:42pm
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It’s very refreshing to see that our opponents actually know something about us, even though that of course means they’ll have a better chance of winning Wednesday’s final. Still, I was pleased to hear Barcelona’s Xavi Hernandez talking not about Ronaldo and Rooney but about Michael Carrick.

‘Carrick gives United balance and can play defensively too. He passes well, has a good shot and is a complete player. United have a very good midfield at a high level and they’re strong physically and technically.’

I often argued that Carrick is given little credit for his stellar work and it’s strange that foreigners appreciate him more: remember the Italian press hailing him as ‘magnifico’ after the 0-0 draw at the San Siro? Now possibly the best central midfielder in the world admits he’s wary of his colleague’s abilities.

Xavi is very intelligent, both on and off the pitch and his assessment is spot on: Carrick’s role will be vital. Hopefully he won’t let us down.