Moscow 2008: in the players' own words
How United's heroes reacted to the 2008 Champions League final win over Chelsea, just minutes after the drama had concluded on that rainy, euphoric night in Moscow...
EDWIN VAN DER SAR
“Nights like this are what you dream of. It's been 13 years – a long time – since I won it last and it feels fantastic, especially in the way we won it. It was the last penalty – saving it – I don't have any words for it! What can I say? It's great. You see it coming, you save it and then you get up and you know the game's over. You have two, three or four seconds on your own, arms in the air and everything goes through your mind. You see your team-mates coming and it's just happiness; one of the greatest feelings you can ever have.
”I lost a shoot-out in 1996 [for Ajax to Juventus] and it's very hard to take – I was desperate not to experience that again. It's a great feeling to win it. It opens so many doors for United once again – it means we'll play in the European Super Cup and the Intercontinental World Championship in Tokyo.
“When John Terry stepped up I knew I had to save it or it would be all over. I went to the right and I was very lucky to see him slip and send the ball wide. Little moments in a game can change things dramatically, as you saw tonight – we had that bit of luck.”
“To be champions of Europe is unbelievable – the best feeling I've ever had. Not many players get to experience or say it. I've been close a couple of times, but this time we've ended top of the pile and it's fantastic.
”It was only right Ryan helped lift the trophy. He is Manchester United. He's got the record of all-time appearances now, which is phenomenal, and he's won the most honours of anyone, he's done everything. I don't think there are enough words out there to sum up what a fantastic player and person he is because he's been that great. I'm sure he'll be appreciated a lot more when he retires, which is a shame.
“I was next up after Ryan, so I was thinking about what I was going to do if Anelka had scored and I had to take mine. All the lads did brilliantly. Look at Nani and Anderson – two inexperienced lads in terms of playing in games on this stage, yet they stepped up and showed great nerve and courage. That speaks volumes for the courage and ability in this squad.
”You're only really considered a great player at this club when you win the Champions League. There have been a lot of top players to play for the club, but to win this competition and be revered by the fans and everyone associated with United sets you apart.
“It feels brilliant. To win a trophy like this and be able to celebrate it with the fans – wow, everyone has enjoyed it. It's the best feeling you can ever experience and, of course, we have the league title as well – amazing! The lads are so happy because we all worked so hard for this trophy in particular. I'm so proud.
”When you pick up the trophy and celebrate with your team-mates and the fans it makes you want to do it all over again; the feeling is so good. It's something I’II always remember. The game against City [which marked the 50th anniversary of Munich] was very disappointing and we still remember that. But I think we made up for it in Moscow – and by winning the league and giving the fans what they wanted. I feel proud to have done that and won the Champions League this season.
“It’s taking a while to sink in after such a crazy night. To have a winner's medal in your possession is a dream come true. Penalties are a harsh way to decide it, but that's the way it is and thankfully we've come out on top.
”I just said to myself 'please score!' [when asked what was going through his mind as he stepped up for his penalty]. You've got to have believe that you're going to score and obviously you've got to keep your fingers crossed and hope for the best! You know there is always someone who's going to have to miss - you pray it's not you.
“The mood in the dressing room afterwards was incredible. It's some achievement to win the league and Champions League double. We're well aware how difficult it is to win the European Cup especially because it's only the third time in the club's history. So it's a terrific achievement.
”We thought about Munich and '68 before the game. When the match starts you're focused on that, but when we'd actually won it, seeing Sir Bobby on the pitch and going up with us for the cup was very emotional for everyone. That's when it really sank in.
“We've got a tremendous squad and most of the lads are a very good age, so hopefully we can keep improving. This team can still achieve a lot more. We've set ourselves the standard now by winning the double!”
“It’s an unbelievable feeling to have won it. It was a difficult match, so to come out on top is fantastic. I was a bit disappointed I wasn’t on the pitch to take one of the penalties, but I knew the lads we had on there were capable of winning it for us. I hope we can win it again. Doing it this year has given us a taste for it – we've got some great young players in the squad mixed with experience, so hopefully we can do well again.
”We weren't really thinking about it [Munich] during the game because you're so focused on doing well in the match. But we thought about it before kick-off and, of course, afterwards. We all know about the great history of this club and to win it 50 years after Munich and 40 years after ’68 is brilliant for everyone connected with the club, especially for the players and the families that were involved in both.
”I took it in a lot more than 1999. At 26 it was a bit of a blur. I tried to enjoy it a little bit more, as there won’t be too many more of these nights. That is the challenge for the club and the players to go on. This is a young team and I am sure the manager is going to add to the squad. There’s potential and the experience of what it takes to win the Champions League. So everything is in our favour. It’s a young team but we have experience in myself, Edwin, Scholes and Nev, so that counts. If we use it in a positive way with the young players then this club can be even more successful.
“It’s 50 years since the Busby Babes and 40 years from our first winning it. That might be it, fate. In 1999 we had a bit of luck. We probably didn’t have as much luck this time, but tactically we were good all the way through the competition. I think we deserved to be winners.”
“I thought we were going to lose. I had played well and scored a fantastic goal, but I had missed my penalty and it felt like the worst day of my life. That can happen in a shoot-out - they are a lottery. But my team-mates did a proper job and took great penalties and that's the important thing. I feel very proud for them.
”It means everything to me - now it is the happiest day of my life. We showed this season we are the best team in Europe and in England and it's a great feeling. Next season we will try to do the same. The team is still young and we have improved a lot. I think we have a good chance again next season. To win a trophy like the European Cup gives you great motivation. The lads will look forward to that, it's a great challenge and we want more.