Quotes after the match

Steven Gerrard before the match:

"I will be the one lifting that trophy, not Paolo Maldini. Imagine me hoisting the trophy. It is an image I have in my mind and I want to make it a reality. We have world-class players and, believe me, they are in the mood to do it. The atmosphere around the club at the moment is just top-class.

It will be the proudest moment of my life leading Liverpool out. I’ve dreamed of this day since I was a kid, kicking a ball against the wall in the street where I lived. What could be better than leading Liverpool out for the Champions League final? Only lifting the trophy. We need everyone, all 11 players who start and the subs, to be ready to give everything. We need that mentality, when everyone has to put everything on the line for Liverpool. That is what it will take to win. We have to make sure we don’t have any regrets at the final whistle.”

Jubilant skipper Steven Gerrard:

"How can I think of leaving Liverpool after a night like this?

I am really happy with the club. I will be having talks with the chairman and the manager shortly, but it is looking good. Liverpool fans are crazy, they were unbelievable, and I'd like to dedicate this victory to them."

"We were massive underdogs at the beginning of the competition and I'll put my hands up say and I didn't think we were going to go all the way. But, as you can see, we are never beaten. The manager told us to keep our chins up, to try and score early in the second half and give some respect for the fans. The first goal gave us a bit of belief. The supporters have saved up for weeks and months to come here. I am so happy to lift the cup for the fans."

Central defender Jamie Carragher after another towering performance.:

"It is one of the greatest finals of all time. We were all deflated at half-time. We knew we had to get the next goal and we knew we had to push up. When we got the goal Milan just seemed to go. The save Jerzy Dudek made from Shevchenko at the end was unbelievable. I can't believe we've just won."

Liverpool's Spanish midfielder Xabi Alonso, who broke his ankle in January but recovered in time to play at the end of the campaign, admitted he was in shock after the triumph:

"This is the best moment in my professional career. I am a European champion, and I cannot believe it. It is slowly sinking in. It's unbelievable, but I think as the hours progress, we will be able to absorb what we have achieved. I know there is always a first time, and fortunately this was mine. My problem is that I don't have words to express the things that I feel at this moment. It was very difficult, but the players believed and won. Steven Gerrard is a key man, he has the mentality we want."

Djimi Traore has been six years at Liverpool and the European Cup win was his greatest achievement so far in his career:

"When we got into the dressing room we just said 'It's over,' but the manager found the right words and gave us back our confidence. The first thing Rafa said was 'Don't let your heads drop. All the players who will get on the pitch after half-time have to keep their heads held high. We are Liverpool, you are playing for Liverpool. Do not forget that. You have to hold your heads high for the supporters. You have to do it for them. You cannot call yourselves Liverpool players if you have your heads down. If we create a few chances we have the possibility of getting back into this. Believe you can do it and we will. Give yourselves the chance to be heroes'."

Gerard Houllier visited Liverpool's dressing room after the final whistle:

"I was pleased that some of the players said in the press that it was also because of the foundation, because nine of the players were Gérard Houllier's signings," Houllier said. "That is a kind of gratefulness and acknowledgement that we're not used to. This is why I think Liverpool is special. I had such a wonderful welcome when I went to visit them. I was very happy for the fans, very happy for the players and very happy for the directors, because they become friends. You don't spend six years as I did in Liverpool and just leave like that. I'm their first supporter and they know that." 

Rafael Benítez, who promised his wife a new watch if his team won in Istanbul:

"This is the greatest night of my career in football. But it will be expensive for sure."

Dietmar Hamann played the last five minutes of the Champions League final with a broken foot - and didn't realise until the next day!:

"About five minutes from the end of extra-time this sudden pain told me there was something wrong. When I took my penalty, all that mattered was that I scored. I remember the Liverpool team doctor putting some ice on it afterwards but we were walking on air by then. It was only in the following few days that the swelling got worse and by time I showed it to the German team doctor it had turned blue."

Jerzy Dudek made a point-blank double save to deny Andriy Shevchenko late in extra-time:

"My brother phoned me in the morning and said: 'Have you seen it on TV again?' I said no, I hadn't, and he said you need to see it; the rebound, the second Shevchenko shot was the 'Hand of God' because, from nowhere, came your hand to save the goal. I said I didn't know how I did it. It was fortunate for myself that I did it. Fantastic for me. I was waiting for this moment. I had difficult moments in this game but this is fantastic.

"With this medal around my neck I cannot imagine that I would have to leave this club. With that final I fulfilled many people's expectations of me and for sure that will in some way be remembered. Now I think that nothing is impossible."

Jubilant Xabi Alonso hails Dudek:

For me he was the hero. He made great saves during the game. His save from Shevchenko was incredible. He has been a key player and is now the hero for Liverpool. He kept the trophy in our hands.

Rafael Benítez adding the Champions League trophy to his UEFA Cup:

"We knew we had to do something. We could not lose by four or five goals in front of our wonderful supporters. We said that if we could score one goal it might change the game and then we scored two more. We started to believe and so did the supporters. And we went on from there."

Shevchenko couldn't believe Dudek's save: 

"If I shoot another 10,000 times, Dudek doesn't save it, not even once. But he did it when it counted though -- for the life of me, I don't know how it happened."

Milan boss Carlo Ancelotti blamed a crazy period of play for his side's remarkable Champions League final defeat to Liverpool:

"We had six minutes of madness in which we threw away the position we had reached until then," he said. The match was well contested and it's inexplicable because the team played well for all 120 minutes. That's the way it went and we must go forward. We recognise it, we are displeased and disappointed. I think Milan played a marvellous final. We lost without deserving to lose and OK, we have to accept our defeat. We had the penalties and we lost and I think the team should be proud of what we have done. We are unhappy but I think we lost in an honourable way."

Milan captain Paolo Maldini:

"It is very strange and hard to explain. Of course, it is a huge disappointment. I've had a few disappointments in my career but this is certainly among the major ones. But we go out with our heads high and we have to accept the result even if it was so harsh and hard on us."

Hernan Crespo

"It was a dream game initially, but it was too beautiful to be true. To be 3-0 up at half-time, and to have scored two goals in my first Champions League final, I would never have dreamed of it. But unfortunately, life is like this. You have surprises. It's impossible to explain what has happened to us. We have to congratulate Liverpool because they have given everything for the win when everything looked to be over. Penalties are always a lottery, and in this case it has favoured Liverpool. It's terrible to digest and difficult to explain what I am feeling now. But we must look ahead."

Andryi Shevchenko:

"It's very hard to explain. But I think it was destiny that decided to change sides and give the cup to Liverpool. With a 3-0 advantage it's difficult to think that any team can come back against Milan. But Liverpool found the courage to continue. Believe me, it's not easy when you are 3-0 down. They never lost hope, they believed right until the end that it was possible and I guess that is the winning mentality. But we must accept it. I don't think we underestimated Liverpool and I'm not surprised at how they played. This team knocked Juventus and Chelsea out of the competition and they did what they had to do to win."

Andrea Pirlo reflects on Istanbul right before the World cup final in 2006:

"I still have to come to terms with being left empty-handed by Liverpool. As a player you know that only the really big trophies give your career a super-class status. When you have gone as far as the final, there is nothing worse than losing it. But it was even more painful in Istanbul because of the way we lost. We allowed them to make the biggest comeback in the history of a European Cup Final. We led 3-0 at half-time but ended up losing on penalties. It was the biggest disappointment in my career and it will probably haunt me for the rest of my life.

Now I have entered another huge moment in my career. More than ever I need to get a World Cup winner's medal. If I don't win this final, I will end up even more frustrated. The hunger for winning this one is incredible - don't forget there are a few more players in this Italy team who suffered the same as me that night against Liverpool. What happened in Istanbul taught us a lesson. The experience and drama I will take with me into this final. I will never let a team get away with that again."

Franz Beckenbauer:

'With fighting spirit and passion, Liverpool pushed themselves over the line for what it is possible to achieve. You have to give them a huge compliment for the way they fought their way back. You can't do it in any better way. They should be able to defend their trophy. They have simply deserved it."

Gianluigi Buffon Juventus goalkeeper:

"I will have to do like Dudek the next time. Maybe if I had done that against Milan in 2003 we would have won. During penalties a goalkeeper has the chance to become a fool or a hero. You have to admire his performance: atypical but still useful. Football is often crazy"

Argentina legend Diego Maradona admitted he was shocked by Liverpool's comeback:

"Even the Brazil team that won the 1970 World Cup could not have staged a comeback with Milan leading 3-0. I am disappointed as anyone who has played in Italy would be. At 3-0 Milan were convinced that no-one could come back. But what has happened has happened. Milan never stopped playing and Shevchenko could have won it in extra-time. I have seen comebacks like that in football but never against a team that so clearly was superior as Milan were.

Johan Cruyff:

"There's not one club in Europe with an anthem like You'll Never Walk Alone. There's not one club in the world so united with their fans. I sat there watching the Liverpool fans and they sent shivers down my spine. A mass of 40,000 people became one force behind their team. That's something not many teams have. For that I admire Liverpool more than anything."

Michael Owen: "In Spain now everyone supports Liverpool" 


Liverpool supporter Lee Dames pulled off one of the achievements of Wednesday night in the Ataturk stadium by sneaking on to the Champions League final pitch for an hour with his Liverpool heroes.

The 19-year-old former Tranmere Rovers trainee posed with the players as they clustered around the cup on the field in Istanbul. He even managed to lay his hands on the precious silverwear. Liverpool players simply nudged each other and laughed, before wrapping arms around the imposter as they posed for the best team photo of their lives.

Mr Dames, who plays semi-professional football for Burscough, said he had not been able to sleep since his brush with glory. The beaming Reds fan, who lives in Anfield, took up his place beside Sami Hyypia, draped his arm around Didi Hamann, punched the air in delight and danced a jig of delight with the players.

"I just had to be with the team. I grabbed a tracksuit top from a steward then a jacket from the dugout. It was unbelievably brilliant. Some of the players were nudging each other about me and thought it was funny. I am on a complete high and haven't slept. It was tremendous enough to win the cup, but to get involved like that was the icing on the cake."

Back in Sam's Bar in city centre Liverpool, his father, Paul, watched in disbelief as TV cameras captured his son putting his arm around Jamie Carragher as he was interviewed. The 48-year-old, from Toxteth, said: "I spotted him and thought: 'That's not my son, is it?' I was flabbergasted. "I just knew he would be doing his best to be with the players. I could see him jumping up and down on the pitch. I couldn't believe my eyes. He always has been Liverpool mad."


Liverpool Football Club are saddened to learn of the death of a fantatical supporter from Ireland who tragically passed away in the aftermath of the Reds' Champions League victory in Istanbul.

20 year old Patrick Robinson from Carlow is thought to have suffered a massive heart attack in the seconds following Jerzy Dudek's decisive penalty save from Andriy Shevchenko in the Ataturk Stadium.

Patrick was watching the game in a local pub and jumped for joy when his beloved Reds completed their tremendous comeback to win the dramatic penalty shoot-out.

But, tragically, he died soon after, just weeks before his 21st birthday.

His uncle, Michael Owens, wrote to and said: "Patrick lived for Liverpool FC. He didn't get to see his favourite player Steven Gerrard lift the European Cup because he was sadly no longer of this world, but he saw the penalty shoot out and I know he died a happy and proud young man.

"Myself and my family would like to thank Steven Gerrard and everyone connected with LFC in the past and present for giving Patrick so many great memories."

Patrick's mother Denise said: "He was a beautiful child. He was really happy and he was so popular. He was very lively and he loved sport.

"He was fanatical about Liverpool and he has been since he was four years of age. He never missed a kit and every year he bought the home and away kits."


THE European Cup was accidentally damaged as the Reds celebrated their win.
The famous silver trophy was dropped on to a grand piano as the squad partied into the night at their Istanbul hotel, denting one of the handles. It is understood that the player who dropped the cup was striker Milan Baros.

But Liverpool do not have to worry about upsetting European football's governing body Uefa. The trophy will remain in the city after the club won it for the fifth time. Curator Steve Done said: "We decided not to get it repaired because it is part of the character of the cup. It would be a shame to have it mended."


I'll be on a bender for a week
Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher will still be celebrating as you read this.

I slept with the cup in my hotel room. I did not want it out of my sight. When I woke up and someone took it away, I felt I had lost a part of me.
Skipper Steven Gerrard on the significance of the Champions League trophy.

The cup ended up with Stevie G in his room. His girlfriend wasn't here, so he had the cup in his bed instead
Confirmation from team-mate Vladimir Smicer.

Jamie Carragher looks like he's got cramp in both groins.
Football commentator Andy Townsend declares Carragher a biological phenomenon.

The boss asked me if I wanted to take a penalty, I said I did and he put me on fifth. I thought "Thanks a lot, pal - my a*** was going, I was all over the place!
Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard, who was spared penalty duties thanks to Jerzy Dudek's save from Andriy Shevchenko.

There was a real suspense surrounding my penalty - it was like something out of a Hitchcock movie! Xabi Alonso on the penalty he missed to bring Liverpool level, only to net the rebound.

Before the penalties, Carra came up to me like he was crazy - as always! He said: "Jerzy, Jerzy - remember Bruce (Grobbelaar). He did crazy things to put them off and you have to do the same"
Liverpool hero Jerzy Dudek reveals the 'wobbly legs' press conference before the penalties.

He did a much better job than I did. He looked like a starfish with jelly legs to me but it worked
Bruce Grobbelaar pays tribute to Jerzy Dudek.

This one was enormous - it was the biggest in the world - as big as the room! Every time I went to relight it, it seemed to be the same size - it lasted all night!
Vladimir Smicer, who scored a goal and a penalty in Liverpool's defeat of AC Milan, recalls his giant celebratory cigar.

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