Andriy Shevchenko has reflected on some of his best Champions League memories, also commenting on how important it is for AC Milan to be back there.
The Rossoneri finished second in Serie A last season to secure a return to Europe’s elite club competition for the first time in seven years. Shevchenko spoke to the club’s official media channels about a number of different topics related to the Champions League, with his comments transcribed by PianetaMilan.
On Milan and their link with the Champions League: “In my opinion, the Milan players, those who wear the Milan shirt, have a different blood for the Champions League. I had the experience with Dinamo Kiev, but Milan was another story. A beautiful story. Two Champions League finals and above all the first was a fantastic emotion.
“For me, as a young player who came from Dynamo Kiev, the Champions League was a great showcase. Through those matches I conquered Europe, playing well and playing well. scoring many goals. He gave me the opportunity to come and play for Milan.”
On how the Champions League is played: “You have to have a different approach in the Champions League. It is a competition with a great history and there is a link with Milan. When you play with the strongest teams in the world, with the strongest players in the world, it gives you a boost.
“AC Milan fans at the Champions League games was something more. When you played at San Siro the stadium was always full. We had great matches. Scoring in front of the Rossoneri fans is an incredible emotion. The Milan fans were waiting for these matches, they had a different approach. Even the players.
“In some matches we were tense, each of us had a different approach. But in the locker room there was the right serenity, the awareness of the means. Milan had a great history, passed from generation to generation, in the Champions League. When you wear the Milan shirt, the story goes through you. It makes you safer, stronger.”
One the best matches of the 2002-03 win: “Especially the match with Ajax, in which we scored at the last and it was a sign, then the match with Inter for sure. We believed in it, we were ready for the final. Then the final. it was beautiful, even if many say it wasn’t a great match, it was a battle for us and we won.”
On his approach to the penalty that won the final: “My gaze was confident, focused. The referee had whistled, but I hadn’t heard. I looked at the referee and goalkeeper. The emotion was there in the 30m walk. When I got there I was concentrated and sure, I was just waiting for the whistle.”
On what he misses as a player: “I miss the energy of the pitch, when you hear the fans and you are focused. I miss the preparation and tension before the game.”
On the return of Milan: “There is a great desire to come back and hear that music. Milan know how to grit their teeth in difficult moments, they have grown a lot. This Champions League will help the young players to grow and have experience again. This Milan has great potential.”