Manchester United legend recalls how Barcelona’s Sergio Busquets ’embarrassed’ him and Nemanja Vidic in 2011 Champions League final

Man United legend Rio Ferdinand recalls an embarrassment at the hands of Sergio Busquets in the 2011 UCL final

During the 2011 UEFA Champions League final between Manchester United and Barcelona, the football world witnessed a masterclass from Barcelona, culminating in a 3-1 victory for the Catalan giants. However, for former Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand, the memory that lingers from that match is not just the defeat, but a moment of personal embarrassment orchestrated by Barcelona midfielder Sergio Busquets.

Barcelona, led by their talisman Lionel Messi, took control of the final with goals from Pedro, Messi himself, and David Villa. Despite Wayne Rooney’s consolation goal for Manchester United, Barcelona’s dominance was evident throughout the match.

Reflecting on the game years later, Ferdinand opened up about a particular incident involving him and Busquets, which left him feeling deeply embarrassed.

Man United legend Rio Ferdinand recalls an embarrassment at the hands of Sergio Busquets in the 2011 UCL final.
Man United legend Rio Ferdinand recalls an embarrassment at the hands of Sergio Busquets in the 2011 UCL final.

What a game that was!

Speaking on Sky Bet’s ‘Stick to Football’ podcast, Ferdinand recalled the exchange that occurred between him and Busquets during a heated moment on the pitch.

“I have never felt so embarrassed,”

“I remember that I picked up the ball in a small fight with Busquets; there was little left and they were winning.”

“I took the ball from him, the referee blew the whistle and Sergio told me: “You, Vidic, boom, boom boom”, like “Long ball, long ball, long ball.”

“I almost laughed. I felt so embarrassed. I had never felt so embarrassed on the field,”

He recounted how, during a confrontation with Busquets, the Barcelona midfielder made remarks about United’s tactical approach, particularly targeting Ferdinand’s defensive partner Nemanja Vidic, suggesting a more direct style of play compared to the dissecting way of football Barca played under Pep Guardiola.

Busquets’ boom boom comment caught Ferdinand off guard and left him feeling deeply embarrassed. The subtlety of Busquets’ psychological tactic is a mere reflection of Barcelona’s confidence and control in the match, as they executed their game plan with precision.

Busquets’ ability to disrupt Ferdinand’s composure and plant seeds of doubt exemplifies the tactical acumen and mental strength that Barcelona possessed during their dominant era under Pep, who continues to dominate world football, with Manchester City.

Sergio Busquets had Manchester United by the scruff of their neck in the 2011 UCL final.
Sergio Busquets had Manchester United by the scruff of their neck in the 2011 UCL final.

For Ferdinand and Manchester United, the 2011 Champions League final served as a humbling experience, as they were unable to overcome the brilliance of Barca on the biggest stage.

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Let’s be real, for Manchester United to have a chance in the game, they must have had to beat Barcelona mentally before that. But as we all know, Pep is a master of the mental game and Sir Alex Ferguson, on the night, found it impossible to do.