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Iniesta and Rio battling to be fit for Rome

  • Story Highlights
  • Andres Iniesta 'confident' he can play in next week's Champions League final
  • Barcelona midfielder injured a thigh in the 3-3 Primera Liga draw with Villarreal
  • Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand also battling to be fit for Rome tie
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(CNN) -- Barcelona midfielder Andres Iniesta and Manchester United central defender Rio Ferdinand gave upbeat fitness updates as they battle to be fit for Wednesday's Champions League showdown in Rome.

Ferdinand and Iniesta locked horns in last year's Champions League semifinals.

Spanish international Iniesta has been a driving force in Barcelona's midfield this season.

Iniesta, who has been in sensational form for Barca on their way to winning the Spanish league and cup double, tore a thigh muscle in their 3-3 draw with Villarreal.

There were real fears he would be unavailable for the final but Iniesta is confident he will be fit to face United. "There's only one week left for the final match in Rome," he wrote on his official blog, www.andresiniesta.es.

Iniesta has been working around the clock with his physiotherapist Emili Ricard get fit. "The truth is that it is incredible training and I hope shortly to be able to begin to run and to touch the ball.

"I am convinced that I will arrive in Rome at my best to be able to help the team...it is my greatest desire!" he added.

Ferdinand has not played since he injured a calf muscle in United's semifinal win over Arsenal two weeks ago, but the 30-year-old said he has no doubts he can also line up.

"I've not thought about not playing in the final. It's as simple as that, no chance," he told Press Association.

"This has been perhaps the hardest and most important injury battle of my career. There is so much at stake," he added.

Ferdinand's defiant comments come after manager Alex Ferguson cast some doubt about the England international's appearance in Rome unless he could play in their final Premier League game of the season at Hull.

"I am hoping Rio will be fit for Sunday," said Ferguson. "If not he will be doubtful for Wednesday that is for sure because he needs a game."

Ferdinand aside, United are set to field a weakened team at the KC Stadium for a match with the relegation strugglers who need a win in their fight to avoid the drop.

Barcelona, who like their opponents have wrapped up their domestic league title, will also put out an understrength line-up at home to Osasuna with no indication as yet if Iniesta can take his place to gain match sharpness.

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