RIO FERDINAND has revealed Sir Alex Ferguson's biggest regret overLionel Messi.
The Argentine ripped Manchester United to shreds in the 2009 and 2011 Champions League finals, scoring in both to help his all-conquering Barcelona side triumph each time.
Sir Alex later revealed that a different tactical plan might have swung the matches in his favour… but Ferdinand isn't so sure.
Speaking to the BBC recently for a documentary about Messi, the former defender said: "Ferguson said that he should have put Park Ji-sung on him.
"If anyone could have done it, then it would have been him. But I have watched so many clips of that game when he moves Park around a lot.
"Maybe Park would have been able to slow him down, and maybe that would have been enough.
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"But would that have stopped a prime Lionel Messi? I very much doubt it.
"I don’t think one player could do it. I was just on the pitch at the end and thought that we need to get off there.
"They took our soul, basically. Messi was the main ingredient."
Man United had beaten Barca on the way to winning the Champions League in 2008, but the following year they came up against adifferent beast.
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Ferdinand, 43, said: "In 2009, we thought we were ready for Messi.
"We had played against him before and we had locked him down. But this was a different Messi.
"This was a Messi with more freedom to run around, pop up anywhere and surprise you.
"That one team had four of the best five players: apart from Cristiano Ronaldo they had Messi, Xavi, Andres Iniesta, Sergio Busquets. And they had Pep Guardiola coaching them.
"What I used to do was gamble on their lack of ability to get the ball past me, but my problem was the player they had on the ball was Xavi!"
He then continued: "In 2009 and 2011, we were facing the best team in the world with one of the best players ever to play.
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"I look at that now and think it was so unlucky to then have to play them. Messi never made any eye contact, nothing.
"He just separated himself entirely, playing away from you and then all of a sudden he would turn up. Bang."
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