Belfast Telegraph

Van der Sar targets medal finish

Edwin van der Sar played a major role in booking Manchester United an FA Cup semi-final derby meeting with neighbours City next month - but the veteran Dutchman knows it will mean nothing unless he is lifting the trophy on May 14.

It is seven years since United enjoyed the last of their record 11 triumphs in the competition. They have not been victorious at Wembley since their 1999 treble-winning campaign.

Following Saturday's 2-0 win over Arsenal at Old Trafford, United are now just two wins away from rectifying that statistic, which Van der Sar knows they must do to make his weekend heroics worthwhile as he said: "An FA Cup winners medal would mean a lot despite what I have already won in my career."

The Dutchman continued: "It is there and on my list but I wouldn't look back in regret if I don't win it.

"In any case, it doesn't do a lot for me to lose a semi-final there. Football is about winning trophies. Although we're at Wembley, we are still one match away from the final."

An FA Cup final victory would not only mean United had beaten City, who will be making their first appearance in the last four since 1981 and fill the hole remaining in Van der Sar's medal collection.

It would also be a fitting way to mark his last month as a professional. Such were the manner and number of his saves to deny the Gunners at Old Trafford, the Stretford End was bellowing at the final whistle for Sir Alex Ferguson to persuade the former Ajax man to remain with United for another year.

However, at 40, Van der Sar's mind is already made up. And despite his gratitude and the accolades, he is not going to change his mind.

"I don't hate the thought of retirement," he said. "I am looking forward to it. I am at my peak and it will be nice to finish at my peak.

"Maybe it is a weight off my shoulders. It is nice to get recognition from the fans and I will miss football and the buzz. It has been 20 years. But I have other good things, including a lovely wife and great kids."


From Belfast Telegraph