Ferdinand in dreamland ahead of Final

May 21, 2008

Rio Ferdinand will be living the dream when he plays in the Champions League final on Wednesday night.

The Manchester United defender has been one of the club's most influential players this season.

He could retain the captain's armband as well against Chelsea if Ryan Giggs is on the bench.

Ferdinand said: 'It is a cliche but this match is the stuff of dreams.

'These opportunities do not come around every weekend. You have to step up to the moment when it comes.

'The main thing is to approach it as we would do any other game, not to do things differently.

'If the occasion gets to us or we change the way we approach the game then that will be to the detriment of the team.'

The last time Ferdinand was in the Luzhniki stadium he had the disappointment of seeing England's hopes of reaching Euro 2008 take a dive when they lost 2-1 to Russia on an artificial pitch which was heavily watered.

There are concerns about the quality of the new grass surface but he said: 'You've just got to deal with what is put in front of you. We will have no qualms.

'In January in England sometimes the pitches aren't the best. If it's not up to the standard of some of the pitches in England we'll have to deal with it.'

United are aiming to win the trophy for the third time after success in 1999 and 1968.

It also just happens to be the 50th anniversary of the Munich air disaster.

Survivors Harry Gregg, Albert Scanlon, Bill Foulkes and Kenny Morgans are attending the match as well as Sir Bobby Charlton, now a club director.

Ferdinand is motivated by the club's past. 'It works as an inspiration more than a pressure,' he said.

'The pressure comes from within, from your own personal pride in wanting to do well.

'The history of Old Trafford, the characteristics of the club from the past and the manager all work as an inspiration.

'You want to become part of the furniture, to be remembered in the history of Manchester United.

'To do that we know we have to win big things. Tonight we have a great chance to do that and become part of the history.'

Fellow defender Wes Brown is likely to play a greater role this time around than in 1999 when he was on the substitutes bench.

Born and raised in Manchester, he said: 'It was a great experience for me then.

'Now I have been involved right up to the final and that has been tremendous for me.

'The fans have always been great for us. We would like to win it for all those who've made it over and for those who will be unable to be here.'

Brown believes the squad is in the mood for glory.

He said: 'There is pressure involved with United but we've got a great bunch of lads.

'We all know what we can do for each other, how we can play as a team.

'We're just looking forward to getting the game on rather than having any nerves.'