9 years since Istanbul: Where are the heroes now?

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Today marks nine years since Liverpool beat AC Milan in the 2005 Champions League Final, in what is arguably the greatest day in the club’s history. Henry Jackson takes a look at the impact each Reds hero made on that unforgettable night, and what they are up to now. 

ISTANBUL, TURKEY - WEDNESDAY, MAY 25th, 2005: Liverpool's team lines up before the the UEFA Champions League Final against AC Milan at the Ataturk Olympic Stadium, Istanbul. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)..Back row L-R: Djimi Traore, Xabi Alonso, Sami Hyypia, Jerzy Dudek, Jamie Carragher, Harry Kewell. Front row L-R: Steve Finnan, Milan Baros, Luis Garcia, Steven Gerrard, John Arne Riise.
Liverpool’s team lines up before the the UEFA Champions League Final against AC Milan at the Ataturk Olympic Stadium, Istanbul. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)..Back row L-R: Djimi Traore, Xabi Alonso, Sami Hyypia, Jerzy Dudek, Jamie Carragher, Harry Kewell. Front row L-R: Steve Finnan, Milan Baros, Luis Garcia, Steven Gerrard, John Arne Riise.

GOALKEEPER- JERZY DUDEK

Dudek’s penalty heroics and sensational double save from Andriy Shevchenko will forever go down in Liverpool folklore, and having been far from a fans’ favourite before the final, his display that night has gained him legendary status.

The former Poland goalkeeper left for Real Madrid in 2007 after six years at Anfield, and he played his last ever game in 2013; an international friendly against Liechtenstein. He now lives in Krakow with his family, and has plans to start a football academy with his brother in the near future.

RIGHT-BACK- STEVE FINNAN

Finnan left the pitch at half-time in the final, after one of the toughest 45 minutes of his career. Although perhaps not at his best that night, the full-back was an excellent servant to the club.

The former Republic of Ireland international retired in 2010 while at Portsmouth, making his final career appearance in the FA Cup final.

Finnan is not currently involved with football, and focuses a lot of his energy on a number of business ventures, including his own property development company, Finnan Developments.

CENTRE-BACK- JAMIE CARRAGHER

Istanbul marked arguably the finest performance of Carragher’s wonderful Reds career- from the second-half onwards, at least- and he went on to become one of the best centre-backs to have ever played for the club.

Since retiring at the end of the 2012/13 season, having made 737 Liverpool appearances, Carragher has taken up a role as a pundit on Sky. His insightful outlook on the game and no-nonsense approach alongside former foe Gary Neville make for unmissable viewing.

CENTRE-BACK- SAMI HYYPIA

Another all-time great Liverpool defender, the big Finn was colossal at times throughout the Champions League run nine years ago. He stood tall in extra-time when Milan were threatening a winner.

Having spent a decade at Anfield, a tearful Hyypia played his final game for the club in 2009. After seeing out his career at Bayer Leverkusen, he took over as manager of the German club in 2012.

He was sacked in April this year, and is currently looking to take charge of a new club.

LEFT-BACK- DJIMI TRAORE

It’s fair to say Traore is one of the worst players to have played for Liverpool over the last 10 years, and his performance back in 2005 was of a player completely out of depth. You couldn’t fault his effort though.

Now 34, and having represented the likes of Charlton, Portsmouth and Marseille since leaving Liverpool in 2006, Traore currently plays for Seattle Sounders in the MLS in America.

RIGHT MIDFIELD- LUIS GARCIA

Garcia was a hugely popular player in his time with the Reds, and although he was quiet in the 2005 final, the impact he made against Bayer Leverkusen, Juventus and Chelsea prior to it was astonishing.

The diminutive Spaniard hung up his boots in January this year, and played in the recent Hillsborough Memorial 25th Anniversary Charity Match at Anfield.

CENTRE MIDFIELD- XABI ALONSO

Alonso scored the vital third goal to make it 3-3 back in 2005, scoring at the second attempt after his penalty was saved by Dida. It was the highlight of a truly brilliant Liverpool career.

Since joining Real Madrid in 2009 he has been one of the most important players for club and country, winning the 2010 World Cup and Euro 2012 with Spain and this season’s Champions League with los Blancos.

At 32, the classy playmaker is still in his prime, and will star for the world champions at this summer’s World Cup.

ISTANBUL, TURKEY - WEDNESDAY, MAY 25th, 2005: Liverpool's Steven Gerrard celebrates scoring the first come-back goal against AC Milan during the UEFA Champions League Final at the Ataturk Olympic Stadium, Istanbul. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)
Steven Gerrard celebrates scoring the first come-back goal against AC Milan during the UEFA Champions League Final at the Ataturk Olympic Stadium, Istanbul. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

CENTRE MIDFIELD- STEVEN GERRARD (c)

When Gerrard eventually retires- hopefully not for another few years- Istanbul will always be thought of as the greatest moment in his wonderful career.

His salmon-like header brought Liverpool back into the game, he won the penalty that made it 3-3 and he inspired all those around him after half-time. He also produced a brilliant cameo at right-back when others around him were wilting.

In the nine years since, Gerrard has cemented his place as easily the Reds’ second-best player of all time, and in the eyes of many, the greatest. After a few injury-plagued years he has been sensational this season, and shows no signs of waning just yet.

LEFT MIDFIELD- JOHN ARNE RIISE

Although predominantly a left-back, Riise produced an admiral performance in a more attacking role against Milan, and provided the assist for Gerrard’s header. He did miss in the penalty shootout, however.

The Norwegian was sold to Roma in 2008, before moving to Fulham three years later. He has just been released by the west London club, and is looking for a new club. He is Norway’s most-capped player of all time.

STRIKER- HARRY KEWELL

Kewell lasted just 23 minutes in the final, limping off with yet another injury problem. It’s fair to say that the Australian was a huge disappointment at Liverpool, with many expecting him to be a superstar when he arrived in 2003.

He retired in March this year, finishing his career with Melbourne Heart in his homeland.

STRIKER- MILAN BAROS

Baros was never a top class striker, but his work-rate and endeavour against Carlo Ancelotti’s side in 2005 was terrific. He also produced a wonderful pass to find Gerrard in the lead-up to the penalty.

Having played for Aston Villa, Lyon and Galatasaray, among others, and scoring 41 goals for Cezech Republic, Baros is currently without a club.

 

Substitutes

VLADIMIR SMICER (on for Kewell 23)

Smicer’s last ever game for Liverpool was the final, and he was absolutely brilliant when he came on for Kewell. He fired home the Reds’ second goal, and he converted his spot-kick in the shootout expertly. Like Dudek, his efforts that night have guaranteed him a special place in hearts of every Liverpool fan.

Having taken up a coaching role at Slavia Prague, earlier this month it was revealed that Smicer was a candidate in the European elections, standing for a party called Vize 2014.

ISTANBUL, TURKEY - WEDNESDAY, MAY 25th, 2005: Liverpool's Steven Gerrard lifts the European Cup after beating AC Milan on penalties during the UEFA Champions League Final at the Ataturk Olympic Stadium, Istanbul. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)
Liverpool’s Steven Gerrard lifts the European Cup after beating AC Milan on penalties during the UEFA Champions League Final at the Ataturk Olympic Stadium, Istanbul. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

DIDI HAMANN (on for Finnan 46)

Hamann’s introduction at the interval in Istanbul was one of Rafa Benitez’s greatest substitutions, with the German producing a superb display and bringing great calm and balance to the side. His penalty was typically nerveless too.

His seven-year spell on Merseyside was an excellent one, and after leaving for Manchester City in 2006 he eventually retired in 2011 while at MK Dons. He is now a football pundit, appearing regularly on the likes of Match of the Day 2, Sky and LFC TV.

DJIBRIL CISSE (on for Baros 85)

Cisse’s Liverpool career may never really have taken off, but one successful penalty in Istanbul was enough to endear himself to Reds fanatics everywhere.

The former Lord of the Manor of Frodsham has starred for Marseille, Panathinaikos, Lazio and QPR since leaving Anfield, and the 32-year-old now plays for Bastia in France’s Ligue 1.

Subs not used

SCOTT CARSON

Carson made just nine appearances for Liverpool as a young ‘keeper, and currently plays for Wigan in the Championship.

JOSEMI

The Spaniard was a flop for the Reds, and now plays for Skoda Xanthi in Greece.

ANTONIO NUNEZ

Nunez was signed as part of the deal that saw Michael Owen join Real Madrid, but did very little for Liverpool. He currently represents Deportivo la Coruna in Spain.

IGOR BISCAN

Barring some impressive performances in the lead-up to the 2005 final, and gaining a minor cult following, Biscan was a big disappointment at Anfield. He retired from football in 2012.

Let us know your favourite memories of Liverpool’s 2005 heroes in the comments section below.

To mark the end of the 30-year wait for a league title, the ‘Liverpool Mishmash’ poster is available to order exclusively on This Is Anfield — the history of the Reds in one image!

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