Edwin van der Sar: Still hungry
© Foto-net

The medals won by Edwin van der Sar would be the envy of most professional players. Four Eredivisies, two Premier Leagues, two UEFA Champions Leagues and, more recently, the FIFA Club World Cup, won in Japan thanks to Wayne Rooney's matchwinning strike against Liga de Quito.

At an age when most players have hung up their boots the big Dutchman has recently signed a one-year extension to his contract at Old Trafford. And, as he told FIFA.com, he hopes that 2009 brings just as much success as last year, if not more, for Manchester United.

The former Ajax and Juventus star also discusses the 2008 UEFA Champions League win over Chelsea, the Red Devils' back four and his recent return to the Netherlands side for two 2010 FIFA World Cup™ qualifiers against Iceland and Norway which saw him reach the milestone of 130 caps for his country.

FIFA.com: Many great keepers of your era such as Peter Schmeichel, Fabien Barthez, Oliver Kahn, Jens Lehmann and Gianluigi Buffon are well-known for being extroverted. You are the opposite. Does a world-class keeper need inner balance?
Edwin van der Sar:
I think it all depends on the person. You have got players who are very loud, who scream a lot, everyone has their own characteristics. I like to focus on my own game and my own performance.

How did winning your second UEFA Champions League medal compare to your first?
The first one is always nice, but it happened so long ago that you sort of forget about it. It's always good for you to look back at the end of your career and relive those memories again.

Take us back to that night in Moscow: can you tell us your thoughts when the referee blew for the end of extra time?
Extra time was OK. At least we don't play the golden goal system any more when if you concede a goal, you're out. So, you've got half an hour to finish the game; they had a couple of chances, we had one or two chances. And in the end it went to penalties.

Are you a goalkeeper who loves penalty shoot-outs?
Of course, when you win the Champions League, they‘re great! It's hard to take if you're on the losing side - and I'm just thankful that in the end we won it.

Was the Ajax defeat to Juventus in 1996 playing on your mind?
You're always thinking that you don't want to lose this one again in the same way. Obviously, it was great to save one and win the cup.

Can you talk us through John Terry's and Nicolas Anelka's penalties?
Well, there's nothing much to talk about. You have a tactic and you make the decision how you're going to save it. I look at where players normally place the ball, as well as their body shape and their run up.

Who do you think has been United's Player of the Year?
Cristiano Ronaldo. He scored so many goals and so many important goals too. He's been improving every year, but he can't do it all on his own, there have to be other players around him doing well - and we're supporting each other.

In 2008, the back four was very settled with Brown, Ferdinand, Vidic and Evra - how important has that continuity been to the side?
It's always good if you're playing behind the same back four, but you know it's not going to happen all season. It's nice if the manager comes in and says that he's giving a chance to Jonny Evans or John O'Shea. Gary Neville can also play on the right, so can Wes Brown or Rafael. There's a lot of choice, but the main thing is keeping everybody fit and happy.

United conceded just 22 goals last season - which is a record - that must have been pleasing for you?
Yes it is. But the most pleasing thing is that we won the title and you need a good strikeforce as well as a good defence to do that. My job is to stop the goals going in, but I've also been in teams that conceded the least amount of goals and still ended up second, so it doesn't always mean that you're going to win the league.

Is it fair to say that the move to Manchester United has been a dream one for you?
No, not a dream one, but it's been a good one. I could have been here earlier but I'm happy that the move came in the end.

You've signed a new contract with Manchester United - was it an easy decision to make?
I've got another year here and I'm looking forward to it. I'm delighted. It's a great club to play for - the champions of the world now - there are great players around me, so it wasn't a hard choice to stay for another year.

And now, you have another medal to add to your collection - the FIFA Club World Cup. How happy were you to win it?
We're delighted. To be champions of the world is great. I won the Intercontinental Cup with Ajax in 1995, but this was been a little bit harder because we've had two games instead of one. I'm a little bit older now, so I think the travelling took a little bit more out of me, but I'm not thinking about that now. I'm absolutely delighted.

What did you think of the final against Liga de Quito?
There was a worrying moment when we went down to ten men, because I think we controlled the whole game up until that moment, but I still think that we played well. I have to say, I thought that they would have come at us stronger after the sending off. I'm not sure whether they were nervous, but I expected them to really put us on the back foot. Although they got a couple of chances at the end, I thought we still controlled the ball.

You made two fantastic saves to deny Alejandro Manso. Were you happy with your performance on the night?
It was good feeling to make those saves. It's always nice to make a bit of a contribution. In the first half, I was a bit of a bystander, but in the second half I was called upon a couple of times to keep the clean sheet.

What about the man who led you to domestic, European and global success - Sir Alex Ferguson. Just how good a manager is he?
He's great. He's been so long at this club - he's already achieved so much, but he's still hungry for more and let's hope we can achieve more together.

And finally, did you enjoy turning out for the Netherlands again last October?
Yes. I finished in the summer but they had a few injuries so they gave me the call, and you don't let your country down. It went well with two wins and two clean sheets, so they're well on the way to the World Cup.