Having surrendered a 3-0 lead to lose the 2005 UEFA Champions League final on penalties, AC Milan did not pass up their opportunity for revenge in the 2007 decider. UEFA.com remembers some key personnel.
On the wrong end of the greatest comeback in UEFA Champions League final history, when Liverpool overturned a 3-0 deficit to beat them on penalties in Istanbul, Carlo Ancelotti’s AC Milan got their own back on Rafael Benítez’s Reds in Athens in 2007. Filippo Inzaghi diverted an Andrea Pirlo free-kick past Pepe Reina before hitting the second, to render Dirk Kuyt’s late reply meaningless.
“The defeat two years ago will stay me for a lifetime, but this is a different story,” said midfielder Gennaro Gattuso. “It’s our turn to celebrate now.”
A “monster of a player” according to Liverpool boss Benítez, the Argentinian anchorman – signed from West Ham in February 2007 – combined with Xabi Alonso to shackle Milan for much of the final, but could not keep Inzaghi out. Left Anfield for Barcelona in 2010, and has since won the UEFA Champions League in both 2011 and 2015.
The only player to win the UEFA Champions League with three different clubs (Ajax 1995, Real Madrid 1998 and Milan 2003 and 2007), midfielder Seedorf was one of the men who had been on the losing side against Liverpool in 2005. Briefly coached Milan in 2014, followed by Shenzhen in China, and has also been busy with media and charity work.
A winner in 2005 and a loser in 2007, midfielder Alonso – a UEFA EURO 2008, 2010 FIFA World Cup and UEFA EURO 2012 winner – experienced further final frustration in 2014 when suspended for Real Madrid’s success against Atlético. Retired from football at the end of 2016/17 after claiming a third straight Bundesliga title with Bayern.
One of four players, along with Sami Hyypiä, Jamie Carragher and Vladimír Šmicer, to feature in both Liverpool’s 2001 UEFA Cup final triumph and the 2005 UEFA Champions League win, the midfielder left the Reds after 17 seasons to see out his career at LA Galaxy. Now back at Anfield as an academy coach and soon to lead the Under-18s.
Having scored the shoot-out penalty against Chelsea that sent Liverpool to the final, the Dutch forward got the Reds’ late consolation in Athens to bring the curtain down on the first of six seasons at Anfield. After lifting a Turkish title with Fenerbahçe, returned to Feyenoord, won his first Dutch championship this season and prompted hung up his boots.
The first of his three Anfield campaigns, 2006/07, was Pennant’s most successful, the winger securing regular game-time under Benítez – if not, to his annoyance, a regular place for England. Since moving on in 2009, has travelled widely, playing in Spain, India and Singapore, and most recently with Bury in England’s third tier.
Ambrosini’s semi-final away goal against PSV effectively took Milan to the 2005 final though – not untypically – the midfielder missed that decider through injury. He was at his best, however, for the 2007 showpiece. Played for Milan from 1995–2013, retiring after a 12-month swansong with Fiorentina. Now a keen amateur runner and television pundit.
Born in the Liverpool suburb of Bootle, the centre-back was a first-teamer at Liverpool from 1996–13, the archetypal one-club man making 737 appearances in total for the club he joined in 1988 (after a stint as an Everton trainee). Since retiring, has worked as a television pundit and newspaper columnist.
King of the deep-lying playmakers, Pirlo’s free-kick specialism was in evidence for Milan’s opener against Liverpool. Ancelotti sang his praises: “Pirlo spots a pass in a split-second that lesser players could spend a whole lifetime waiting to see.” With New York City since 2015, he amassed six Serie A titles: two with Milan, four at Juventus.
This final would be the last game of the Dutch winger’s injury-laden two seasons at Anfield. Later at Marseille and Sunderland, was Benítez’s assistant during the Spaniard’s reign as Chelsea manager – winning the 2012/13 UEFA Europa League – and is currently on the coaching staff at PSV.
Not selected for the 2005 final, Inzaghi hit both goals against Liverpool in Athens. “I’ve scored quite a few times in Europe, but scoring in the Champions League final is something special,” he said. The ex-Juventus man notched quite a few more for Milan before quitting in 2012. Once Milan boss, led Venezia to promotion to Serie B this season.