Van der Sar wants year-long break

Edwin van der Sar wants to take a year off to get used to being normal again.

Edwin van der Sar wants to take a year off to get used to being normal again.

The veteran Dutchman was unable to provide a fitting climax to his stellar career at Wembley as Manchester United lost 3-1 to Barcelona in the Champions League.

It left him with an overall tally of two wins and three defeats from his five finals and marked the end of two decades at the top of the game.

The 40-year-old goalkeeper has started taking his coaching badges. And he has enrolled on a course in Holland, so he does have the option of completing them both in his adopted home and his real one.

Given his experience, Van der Sar is bound to be a man in demand.

However, his immediate reaction as he headed towards the rest of his life was to take a break.

“I have done some coaching badges in England and have put myself forward to do that in Holland as well but I am not sure if I am going to finish them,” he said.

“Maybe it is too soon. I want to take a year out and do some nice things. I want to watch some games with friends in a normal situation on a Saturday, have a nice meal on a Saturday night, watch a game on Sunday, play golf and have some family time.”

All those things must look so appealing to someone who has spent so long coping with the discipline required to operate at such a high level.

In addition, his wife Annemarie’s continuing recovery from a stroke has to be taken into account.

However, how long it will be before Van der Sar starts to get itchy feet for an involvement in the game he knows so well remains to be seen.

“It is not going to be easy,” he said. “I never said that. I have some friends who retired five or six years ago, so I have exceeded my expectations by two or three seasons anyway. It is not a big problem.”

Van der Sar was remarkably emotionless about his retirement, and the fact his final game ended in a defeat.

“I am quite all right,” he said. “It is not too bad. I expected more emotions, or different ones. It is the right time for me and I am happy with my decision.”

For the second time in three seasons, Van der Sar was powerless to prevent United going down to Barca.

It has been suggested he was too slow getting across for the Lionel Messi shot that put Pep Guardiola’s side ahead for a second time and ultimately proved to be the winner.

However, that does not take into account the speed with which the Argentina forward took his chance and the bodies in the former Ajax man’s way as the ball flashed past him.

“It took them 20 minutes to get into the game, so we doubled that from Rome [2009 final],” he laughed.

“After equalising, you hope the game is still open but we didn’t start the second half well and were on the back foot again.

“You can stop them. They have lost a couple of times this season so you must be able to. But they are a very good side with some excellent players.”

Just how good, Van der Sar finds it hard to assess.

He was too young to fully appreciate the ’Total Football’ era of Rinus Michels that steered Holland to successive World Cup finals in the 1970s.

This Barcelona team puts the Holland side containing Ruud Gullit and Marco van Basten in the shade, though.

“They are better than 1988,” said Van der Sar. “I have played two finals against them now. That is enough. It was my last game and, of course, I would rather have won it. But life goes on. The sun is going to shine tomorrow.”

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