Champions League final 2002
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IT IS one of the enduring paradoxes of football at the highest level that it is a team game almost invariably shaped by an individual.
THE great teams of the 1950s may have secured Real Madrid’s prominent place in history, but the jubilant Spanish media said yesterday that a third Champions League triumph in five years has made the 2002 vintage worthy successors.
IT WAS impossible, even before the intervention of one Zinedine Zidane, to avoid the feeling that Scotland found itself richly blessed last night. This was, of course, the third time the European Cup final had been staged at Hampden Park in a history burrowing back to 1956, and stretching back 47 games.
SO THAT’S it then. Natural order restored. Normal service resumed. Real rule again, once more occupying the place at the pinnacle of European football which has been theirs more often than it has belonged to any other club.
NEAR midnight, banners flying, they hit town again in their thousands, this vast Spanish invasion. All the way from Central Station and up Buchanan Street, the Madrileños come, pouring out into the city, dancing in the Glasgow drizzle.
REAL Madrid paid homage to their illustrious predecessors last night, lifting the European Cup at Hampden Park against German opposition 42 years after the most celebrated football club in history first accomplished the feat.
STEVE McManaman believes that he has been left out of the England squad for the World Cup because Sven Goran Eriksson, the England manager, doesn’t rate him highly.
REAL MADRID’S stars were today accused of almost wrecking their Champions League party at Hampden by provoking a pitch invasion by their delirious fans.
THE last time they were all at Hampden together, they shimmered in white. Yesterday, they shuffled in beige. Well, 1960, Real Madrid 7 Eintracht Frankfurt 3 and all that, was 42 years ago. The stars of that never-to-be-forgotten night are old men now and Glasgow, by 11 o’clock, hadn’t warmed up. So it was raincoats and overcoats all round.
THE most striking aspect of the last European Cup final to be played in Glasgow is that it seems to be memorable for being forgettable.
REAL MADRID ace Santiago Solari today claimed team-mate Zinedine Zidane’s stunning Champions League winning goal couldn’t match countryman Diego Maradona’s World Cup solo strike against England.
THE tournament got off to a low-key start last July when the champions of Georgia, Azerbaijan and the Ukraine pitted their wits against Linfield, Barry Town and Bohemians in the first qualifying round.
Bayer Leverkusen 1 Lucio (14)
IN THE simplistic narratives of football commentary, there is often talk of scripts. Generally, they refer to unusual occurrences, since the expected is less notable. But, such is the nature of the European Cup that the final – a game described by El Mundo’s Guillem Balague as “probably the most imbalanced final ever” – came wrapped in two possible storylines.
STEVE McMANAMAN, now a two-time Champions League winner, admitted that Real Madrid had been under pressure to perform at Hampden after failing to win a domestic trophy this season.
THE victorious Real Madrid players were congratulated by the king of Spain, Juan Carlos, when the monarch visited the Spanish dressing room after last night’s Champions League success.
ZINEDINE Zidane last night shrugged aside the plaudits heaped upon him for the spectacular goal which earned Real Madrid their ninth European Cup triumph and earned him the winners’ medal he craved so badly.
KLAUS Toppmoller, the crestfallen coach of Bayer Leverkusen, swallowed his bitter disappointment at Hampden Park last night and insisted that his vanquished side deserved all the praise possible for their efforts this season.