It is almost 16 years since Liverpool overcame AC Milan in the Champions League final, and Andriy Shevchenko says “the wound is still bleeding” over their loss in Istanbul.
Shevchenko was one of the main antagonists in the 2005 final, which saw the Reds pull back from 3-0 down to level the scores and eventually win on penalties.
The Ukraine striker had a goal ruled out for offside, before setting up Hernan Crespo for Milan’s second of the night, then finding himself denied by Djimi Traore and, famously, Jerzy Dudek.
Dudek’s double save was arguably the moment of the night, and the Liverpool ‘keeper again thwarted Shevchenko in the shootout to secure the European Cup.
In an interview with Corriere Della Sera, transcribed by Marca, the 44-year-old admitted “the wound is still bleeding” and that he “would wake up screaming in the middle of the night” in the months following Milan’s collapse.
“It bothers me that they said that we were carried away by the euphoria. Maldini said at half-time to be careful,” Shevchenko said.
“The first months after the final I would wake up screaming in the middle of the night thinking about it.
“Now that I am a coach I think about it. In those minutes in which we scored three goals…it is not a criticism of Ancelotti but I would have stopped the game, changed someone.”
It is not uncommon for players to bear the scars of their most crippling moments on the pitch, with Steven Gerrard very open about the impact his slip against Chelsea in 2014 had on him.
Shevchenko is now manager of the Ukraine national team, but his suggestion that Carlo Ancelotti made a tactical error with Milan 3-0 up is strangely 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 did avoid sending on defenders Alessandro Costacurta and Kakha Kaladze, however his belief would have been that Milan had the momentum, and that Liverpool had little chance of fighting back.
Hindsight is a wonderful thing, of course, and it matters little with the Reds now having followed that up with a sixth European Cup in 2019.