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United star lays down the gauntlet in no uncertain terms

Football FanCast columnist Rob Facey wonders if anyone will be able to stand in the way of United and a third consecutive Champions League final.

Dimitar Berbatov has claimed that the rest of Europe will be hoping to avoid Man United when the Champions League draw is made later today.

The Bulgarian striker said that after defeat in the final last season, the club are determined to reach the final once again and that nobody would want to stand in their way of their date with destiny.

"When you say the name Manchester United it inspires respect in a lot of people. Nobody will fancy playing us," he said, as reported in The Guardian.

"After what happened in last year's final, I think we're even more determined in Europe this time around.

"For me, losing in Rome was doubly frustrating because I wasn't at the club when the team won in Moscow – I've never won the Champions League, so losing to Barcelona was very upsetting.

"This year our aim is to make it all the way to Madrid. The Bernabéu is one of the best stadiums in the world – and I know we're good enough to make it back there and, this time, win it."

Reaching the final of the world's best club competition two years on the trot is something to be admired and, in what is thought to be possibly Fergie's last season, the club will be looking for a full haul of every trophy going.

United are, obviously, one of the top seeds for today's draw in Monaco and, as per usual, will ease their way through to the knockout stages with a minimum of fuss.

They have real European pedigree and, a decade on from their most famous victory, will be looking for a hat-trick of final appearances.

Berbatov is right that everyone else will be hoping to avoid them. They are one of only a few names that genuinely strike fear into the hearts of opponents and, with such great form in Europe in recent years,

It should also be noted that Berbatov usually only speaks out when an issue directly concerns him. It will be pleasing for United fans to see the player so focused on achieving for the team.

Barcelona and Madrid, what with a new roster of players and with the final being played in their own stadium, are the favourites to lift the trophy, while everyone in England seems to think that Carlo Ancelotti will walk it with Chelsea simply because he has previous experience from his time with Milan.

Only a fool would write off United and Berbatov is making that point in no uncertain terms.

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Article title: United star lays down the gauntlet in no uncertain terms

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