Manchester United are the best team in England and in Europe at the moment – with their chance to make it 3 out of 3 in Tokyo at the end of the year.
For the players, winning the Champions League title at this stage of their careers – many of them are still young and relatively inexperienced at the top level – is absolutely fantastic, but what’s really encouraging is their attitude. Everyone is overjoyed, but no one is content on resting on their laurels. They want more.
At a time when Rafa Benitez picks up a free transfer, spins it as a bargain and states Liverpool’s aim of beating United in at least one game, Manchester United, already a yard ahead of their rivals, are talking about bringing in better players and improving the squad even further to challenge for top honours next season.
They’ll need the added numbers – but as long as every single player in the club remains focused on winning more, they’re always in with a chance.
We showed this season that 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. I feel very proud. It means everything to me – it is the happiest day of my life.
The game against Manchester City [which marked the 50th anniversary of the Munich air crash] was very disappointing and we still remember that. But I think we made up for it in Moscow and by winning the league and gave the fans what they wanted.
Edwin van der Sar
Of course, nights like this are what you dream of. It’s been 13 years — a long time — since I last won the competition 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.
I said before the game that 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 be revered by the fans and everyone associated with United by becoming a European champion sets you apart from others.
I hope we can win it again. Doing it this year has given us a taste for it and we want to do well again next season. We’ve got some great young players in the squad mixed with experience, so hopefully we can do well again.
When you take a penalty you’ve got to have the belief in yourself that you’re going to score and obviously hope for the best! You know there is always someone who’s going to have to miss and you pray it’s not you.
It has been a long time since I felt like this – it’s a huge emotion in my heart. When I was a child, I never thought I would be now lifting the cup, but dreams usually come true and I am very, very happy.”
Must read: Edwin van der Sar’s post-match interview.