It has been almost 16 years since Liverpool defeated AC Milan in the Champions League final, and Andriy Shevchenko said “the injury is still bleeding” following their loss in Istanbul.
Shevchenko was one of the main antagonists in the 2005 final, which saw the Reds fall 3-0 to level the score and ultimately win on penalties.
The Ukrainian striker had a goal ruled out for offside, before placing Hernan Crespo for the second game of the night in Milan, then being turned down by Djimi Traore and, notoriously, Jerzy Dudek.
Dudek’s double save was arguably the moment of the night, and the Liverpool goalkeeper thwarted Shevchenko again in the shootout to secure the European Cup.
In an interview with Corriere Della Sera, transcribed by Mark, the 44-year-old admitted that “the wound was still bleeding” and that he would “wake up screaming in the middle of the night” in the months following the collapse of Milan.
“It bothers me that they say we’ve been blown away by the euphoria. Maldini said at halftime to be careful, ”said Shevchenko.
“The first few months after the final, I would wake up screaming in the middle of the night thinking about it.
“Now that I’m a coach, I think about it. In those minutes where we scored three goals … it’s not a criticism of Ancelotti but I would have stopped the game, changed someone.
It’s not uncommon for players to bear the scars of their most crippling moments on the pitch, with Steven Gerrard very open about the impact of his 2014 slip against Chelsea on him.
Shevchenko is now the coach of the Ukraine national team, but his suggestion that Carlo Ancelotti made a tactical error with Milan 3-0 is oddly revisionist.
His inference is likely that Milan should have taken a more defensive approach, but they already had Jaap Stam, Alessandro Nesta, Paolo Maldini, Cafu and Gennaro Gattuso on the pitch.
Ancelotti avoided sending defenders Alessandro Costacurta and Kakha Kaladze off, but his belief would have been that Milan had the momentum and Liverpool were unlikely to strike back.
Hindsight is a wonderful thing, of course, and it doesn’t matter as the Reds have now followed that up with a sixth European Cup in 2019.