Andriy Shevchenko: We created enough chances to win. Then there was that save from Dudek in the final few seconds. I don’t know how the ball didn’t go in.
Dudek: I went back one day to Holland, and my old goalkeeping coach said to me, “Wow, you saved this ball very well!” I said, “Yeah, it was luck.” He said, “It wasn’t luck. You were working on that shot for five years! Remember the shots from five yards?” It’s true, we worked a lot with Pim Doesburg on these reaction shots. Fortunately I saved it. After that I was so confident. I knew we weren’t going to lose.
Hamann: Everybody in the stadium knew that it should have been game over, because it was only one or two minutes to play in extra time. But when you are presented with these opportunities you have to take them. We still had a penalty shoot-out to go but I thought, “If we don’t beat them now, we never will.”
Shevchenko: The shoot-out was a really dramatic moment because you already had a feeling which way the game was going. We had the chance to kill off the game but we didn’t take it, so Liverpool had a psychological advantage. The tables had turned.
Benítez: Of the five penalty takers Milan had, we knew about four of them very well and where they usually shot. We’d been compiling information on them for some time. That came down to our methodical nature, which had been developed over a long period.
Dudek remembers events a little differently…
Dudek: I went straight to the goalkeeping coach, José Ochotorena, and I said, “Give me that book with all the penalties we were watching.” Names, boxes, ciphers… And I said, “Ocho, there are too many. The best thing would be for you to raise your hand, left or right, and I will provoke them to shoot to their favoured side.” And suddenly, Carragher jumps on my back, pushing me: “Jerzy! Come on, Jerzy! You need to put the pressure on them. More pressure! Do something.” I said, “Carra, let me study this book. We have the penalties to study.” He said, “No, no, no. Put the pressure on them! Do something! Remember Bruce Grobbelaar.”
Former Liverpool goalkeeper Bruce Grobbelaar had cemented his place in club legend with his ‘spaghetti legs’ routine during the 1984 European Cup final triumph, unsettling Francesco Graziani enough during the penalty shoot-out for the Roma winger to fire over the crossbar.
Dudek: For the first penalty, I was moving a bit. A little to the left, to the right, raising my hands like semaphore, and Serginho shot over. I said, “OK, it’s starting to work.” Then, for the next penalty, I was doing some spaghetti legs, like I saw from Bruce in ’84. A little bit, because you always think, “Don’t do too much. It’s a Champions League final. Don’t play some fool goalkeeper.”
By the time Pirlo steps up to take Milan’s second spot kick, Hamann has put Liverpool in front for the first time in the final – despite a fractured metatarsal.
Hamann: I felt it a few minutes before the end of extra time, but I didn’t know the extent of the injury. The pain was bearable. My leg wasn’t hanging off and we’d made our substitutions, so there was no way I was going to leave the pitch. And yeah, I probably couldn’t have hit the ball any sweeter. It was a big relief when it went in.
Dudek: The penalty from Pirlo, I was off the line. He slowed down the shot, I slowed my dive. When I saved it, I knew I was off the line. I saw the referee and said to myself, “If you look in the referee’s eyes, he’ll disallow it.” Then I turned to the fans. I was cheering and I didn’t look at the referee, and he said everything was OK.
Liverpool are not flawless from the spot either. Dida thwarts Riise from the Reds’ third attempt, but when Shevchenko steps up to face Dudek one more time with Milan’s fifth kick, the tally reads 3-2 in the English side’s favour. The Ukrainian forward cannot afford to miss…
Shevchenko: I’d decided not to change which way I was going to take my penalty, but at the last second I saw Dudek go to one side, so I decided to go down the middle. I hit it, but the keeper played a blinder, stuck his leg out and saved it.
García: That moment when Jerzy saved Shevchenko’s penalty, I don’t know how to express it with words, because it’s all those emotions during the game, that rollercoaster of frustration, happiness and tiredness. We were tired, but there’s a fantastic image of us just running, sprinting towards Jerzy Dudek. Even Harry Kewell, who had pulled his groin, he was running fast!
Hamann: It was all a bit surreal because there were no wild celebrations. It was more disbelief. We’d left the dressing room 100 minutes earlier, dead and buried. Now, 100 minutes later, you come back after the second half, after extra time, after penalties, after getting the trophy and celebrating with the fans. If you came in at the end of the game, you wouldn’t have known whether we’d won or lost because people just sat there. We couldn’t realise what had just happened.
Milan Baroš: I’ve just got goosebumps right now, so that feeling is still inside me. It’s a childhood dream come true. We watched the Champions League with my dad and he always said, “If only you could play in the Champions League at least once,” you know? But we won it. It’s an indescribable feeling. It’s like the world stops for a while.
“We were getting a lot of noise from our fans coming down the tunnel that it wasn’t over”
Carlo Ancelotti: That was the best any team I’ve coached ever played in a final. Unfortunately, in football there is that unpredictability that you can’t control. These things happen in football and you have to accept it. You also don’t think about it too much.
Benítez: I had a friend outside who wasn’t allowed in. They called me and said, “There’s a friend of yours who isn’t being let in.” So I go and look for him and after I find him, we try to get back inside. I didn’t have my credentials and the security guard wouldn’t let me in. My friend says, “Do you know who this gentleman is?” And the guard says, “No.” So, he says, “He’s God. This gentleman is God.” And then finally the guard let us in.
Maldini: It makes me laugh that I played in eight finals, won five of them, but this is the one that’s remembered the most by far. It definitely left a significant mark, but also one of beauty, because of the drama. Talking about the unpredictability of sport, we reached the final again two years later, again against Liverpool, and even though we played a lot worse, we managed to win.
Kaká: That match was one of the most important of my career. I really learned a lot of lessons, and one of the most important was: we don’t have control over victory. From then on, I learned to prepare myself better to increase my chances of winning. And that’s what I do in every aspect of my life. The lessons I took from that match were so strong and positive for my personal life that it has become a good memory.
Hamann: The biggest thing I take out of the whole Istanbul story is coming back to Liverpool there were thousands of fans at the airport. The open-top bus going back to the city centre was meant to take a couple of hours. In the end, it took four or five because there were up to a million people in the streets. To see so many happy people, bringing the trophy back for the first time in 21 years, that’s why you play the game. When you see people from five years old to 90, some with tears running down their cheeks, that sticks with you.
Alonso: Many years have passed since that final, but it sticks in the mind. It will be remembered very well because it was a miracle, it was historic. Because of what happened and what it meant to the club, the city and the fans. Those involved made a small bit of history in the club’s rich tapestry.