If you asked most football fans to give you their most exciting Champions League final since 2000, the most common answer would probably be 2005.
3-0 at half-time against Liverpool, AC Milan already had one hand on the trophy, but a majestic comeback from Rafa Benitez’s side saw the game go to extra-time then penalties, with the Premier League club eventually lifting the trophy in Istanbul.
However, one man missed the entirety of the game due to injury, and that man might have been the difference between the Serie A side drawing in 90 minutes and coming out winners.
Filippo Inzaghi was left out of the match squad by Carlo Ancelotti, having only just come back from injury, something that didn’t go down too well with the player himself.
Speaking to France Football on Tuesday, the legendary Italian striker said: “Up until the last minute of training, I did my best to at least be on the bench, but I didn’t manage it. I ended up watching from the stands and I witnessed this unfathomable scenario. We’d played a perfect first half, leading 3-0. The rest is history.”
Two years later, however, the player finally got a chance to show Liverpool what he was made of in a repeat of the 2005 final, this time in Athens, as Milan beat the Premier League side 2-1 to lift the trophy thanks to two Inzaghi goals.
The first of the brace, however, was rather unconventional, as the striker accidentally deflected Andrea Pirlo’s free-kick past Pepe Reina.
He explained: “When Pirlo takes the free-kick, he’s not looking for me, but I’d scored two similar goals against Inter and Empoli in the past. I was making up numbers in the wall to annoy the keeper. My sole aim was to be first on the ball if the keeper parried it. I also knew exactly where Pirlo would put it. Luck did the rest.”
At least he’s honest.
Now manager at Venezia in Italy’s third tier, the former striker is looking to climb back up the managerial echelons after a failed one year spell in charge of his beloved club, winning only 14 out of 40 games in charge.