Albertini talks through favourite UCL memories and reveals why the current team gives him ‘hope’ -video

By Oliver Fisher -

Former AC Milan midfielder Demetrio Albertini has reflected on his time playing in the Champions League with the Rossoneri, with whom he won the competition three times.

Albertini spoke during an interview with Milan TV about his experiences playing in Europe with the Milan shirt but he also gave some thoughts on the current squad and how far they can go, with his comments transcribed by PianetaMilan.

On playing the Champions League: “It is difficult to explain the completeness of the emotion one feels playing with the shirt of one’s favourite team. The fans felt the Champions League a lot too. That joy you felt while waiting, because when you enter you know that you have to perform. The anticipation of the match from Sunday to Wednesday brought with it strong emotions and the desire to be able to be realised as a footballer.”

On the anthem of the Champions: “I get goosebumps talking about it. It has become like the national anthem, exciting. Let’s talk about the anthem of the Champions League if it were a sense of belonging. Milan has a sense of belonging to the Champions. Milan have has not been able to hear it for many years. Coming back to hearing it is like feeling at home.”

On his Milan: “The utopian slogans of President Berlusconi’s right-hand man, Galliani: ‘We will become the strongest team in the world’. They made a dream come true for everyone. That Milan has changed something in world football, it is recognised by everyone. It was a sense of responsibility.

“Many friends tell me ‘I would have won in that team too’. I agree with them. The problem in that team was playing, not winning. It was winning a place in a team that has marked what we all know. The strength of those players was the fair competition to play and be part of a historic change in football.

On the semi-final against Monaco in 1994: “It was the end of the first half: we entered the locker room, we won 1-0, and we were aware that by the time we got through that Baresi and Costacurta were already out [of the final]. One sent off and the other was gone was booked.

“It was a destabilising moment, we had to finish the game 10 against 11. The numerical inferiority was our last problem even against a very strong Monaco. The greatest emotion was the race towards the midfield, towards the Curva that was on the other side and the embrace of Baresi in tackle who didn’t want to let me go (laughs).”

On the 1994 final: “The year before I lost it [against Marseille]. I had also been with the team in the Champions League previously won, so I tasted as a direct spectator but not a protagonist.

“I always remember that I went to dinner at Ancelotti’s, there was a photo in which he raised the cup. This was my dream, to have a photo in which I raised the cup. An almost forbidden dream.”

On the qualifier against Dinamo Zagreb in 2000: “When you face the preliminary there are two very important unknowns: the first is the one dictated by the opponents who know little about their real value. It was years that they had extraordinary talents in Croatia. In those years they had a great school of talents.

“The second is your state of form: you are in August, not yet in full condition and when you play in the Champions League you cannot afford this. There were many players, you had to do well and you had to be excellent in some characteristics. The sum of this excellence created that Milan.”

On the double he scored at Barcelona: “My double at Barcelona was wonderful. We had won 2-0 at Barcelona but at home we drew 3-3 playing an excellent match. I remember it as one of the best matches on a personal level. It wasn’t as important as other games but, having scored two goals and not being a great striker, I remember it with pleasure. They were two goals from a distance, I never got close to it in the box.”

On the current Milan: “Milan has rebuilt a DNA, perhaps different from the one listed above because there were great champions and Ballon d’Or winners, here there is a very young Milan of great quality built to be able to become stronger and stronger.

“The lockdown period saw an impressive growth in individuals, therefore thanks to the coach. We have seen a growth in the team, therefore also thanks to the club that has managed to include young and important players in the environment.

“It is one of the youngest teams in the Champions League. They have a different philosophy of our times that has been perceived in the best possible way by the fans. It is a Milan that gives me hope for the present but above all for the future.”

Tags AC Milan Demetrio Albertini


  1. Albertinis free kick is the first Milan goal I remember celebrating. I was playing football outside and missed desaillys header, then I came in for my dinner and remember feeling he was gonna put it in the top corner. Only years later I realised how rare that was for Albertini. Then massaros goal and celebration drinking a bottle of hurled water from the ground. What a legend. I was 9. My dads from Milan and so they were now my team. 37 now and I pray them days are back soon. Last season was magical.

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