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Marco van Basten talks Messi, Juve and that Italia 90 game against Ireland

SoccerBy Sunday World
Marco van Basten
Marco van Basten
Marco Van Basten was in Berlin for the final as a guest of  new Champion's League sponsor Nissan
Marco Van Basten was in Berlin for the final as a guest of new Champion's League sponsor Nissan

DUTCH Master Marco van Basten would like to see Juventus triumph over Barcelona in tonight's mouth watering Champions League final - but he won't be putting money on it.

The scorer of one of the most famous goals in football says Lionel Messi and Barca will emerge triumphant at Berlin's historic Olympic Stadium in a few hours time - but he thinks the Argentine genius still has more to do to prove himself as the greatest of all time.

"I think Lionel Messi, only thing he needs is to win a World Cup and then he become the best player," said the former AC Milan and Ajax striker who rates Maradona as the best he played against. The European Cup winner would like to see Serie A champions Juventus win tonight, but he doesn't believe they will.

"I would put my money on Barcelona. I've lived a lot in Italy and it would be good for Italian football for Juventus to win the Champions League. But players like Messi and Iniesta will control the game I think.

"I think Juventus is a very experienced team. They are also able to dominate certain games. They can attack and they can defend so if they are really able to understand the game, knowing how to defend and also come out and be clever with the counter football I think Barcelona could also have a difficult night.

"If you have Messi and Suarez and Neymar against you, you should have a difficult evening. On the other hand, Juventus have confronted the forwards of Real Madrid which is Cristiano Ronaldo, Benzema and Gareth Bale which I think it's similar to the forwards of Barcelona and done a good job.

"Chiellini (below) is not playing and he is an important player for Juventus.

Twenty five years ago this month Ireland was in the grip of Italia '90 fever. Van Basten played against Jack Charlton's men in 1-1 draw that is remembered more for the 15 minute phoney war at the end of the game when both teams learned that results elsewhere meant a point was enough for them both to reach the next stage.

Mick McCarthy and Ruud Gullit appeared to call a truce in a shady deal that Sepp Blatter would be proud of.

Looking back now, Van Basten thinks Ireland would have won the game if they went for the jugular.

"We were tired and they had a very good team. Strong and experienced team and we had big troubles with them. We were happy to play 1-1," he told sundayworld.com.

"It was comfortable for both of us. We were not in good form or in good shape and they were playing well and fresh so in the end we were happy. They probably would have won the game."

Van Basten, is here as a brand Ambassador for new Champions League sponsor Nissan who have electrified Berlin with a fleet of Nissa Leaf electric cars and charging stations, but he expects names like Messi, Pirlo, Neymar and Iniesta to light up the night and reclaim the beautiful game, after an ugly week for football.

But the former Dutch manager insist the corruption scandal that erupted this week is not a UEFA problem.

"UEFA is doing much better than FIFA," he declares before saying that the vast amounts of money in European football should be shared to bring more clubs to the top table.

And Van Basten may also have the answer to Roy Keane's managerial destiny. Having been the manager of the Dutch national side he is now content to be number two at league side AZ.

"I feel more happy and comfortable in it. I did 12 years as first manager and didn't feel really happy with it. I feel more free and I don't want to go back. I live a better life and I think that's the most important thing."