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Which gives thinking fans something else to ponder on Saturday night: Is it more important to play beautifully or to win? Ideally, of course, neutrals would like to see both. But not all teams can do that. History remembers teams that are engraved on trophies, not always who they beat to get there, how they did it, or that it cost their owner $1 billion to buy the win.

Abramovich has chopped and changed his way through seven managers in nine years. It would be deliciously ironic if the coach who gets him what he wants _ Chelsea’s first Champions League trophy _ is Roberto Di Matteo, the former assistant and now “interim” coach in charge only because Abramovich ditched the last guy, Andre Villas-Boas, in March.

The big regret Saturday is that six players who should play will be absent.

Bayern’s David Alaba, Holger Badstuber and Luiz Gustavo, and Chelsea’s Branislav Ivanovic, Raul Meireles and Ramires are suspended for one of the biggest matches of their careers.

So, too, is John Terry, Chelsea’s captain. Terry kneed Barcelona forward Alexis Sanchez in the back in the semifinal and got sent off.

The other six, however, are banned only because they picked up their third yellow cards of the competition in the semifinals.

That they and Terry, whose offense was far graver, should essentially receive the same punishment _ being kept from the final _ seems cruel and disproportionate.

So the final will not be a Spanish ‘clasico’ but it will still have plenty for fans to get their heads around.

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John Leicester is an international sports columnist for The Associated Press. Write to him at jleicester(at)ap.org or follow him at http://twitter.com/johnleicester