Kaka denies AC Milan's 2007 Champions League victory was 'revenge'

‘It was a sign from God, not a coincidence’: Kaka denies AC Milan’s ‘magical’ Champions League victory over Liverpool 13 years ago today was ‘revenge’ for the Miracle of Istanbul in 2005

  • Kaka believes AC Milan’s 2007 Champions League victory was a ‘sign from God’
  • The Italians threw away a 3-0 lead in the 2005 final where Liverpool triumphed
  • They met again two years later but this time the Serie A side came out on top 
  • The Brazilian also said the victory was not ‘revenge’ for their defeat in Istanbul

Kaka has recalled AC Milan’s victory over Liverpool in the 2007 Champions League final as a ‘sign from God’.

The Italians threw away a three-goal lead in the final between the two sides in 2005 as Rafa Benitez’s men came back to clinch a dramatic victory on penalties.

A re-run of that final took place two years later, thirteen years ago today, but this time the Serie A team came out on top.

Kaka believes AC Milan’s victory in the 2007 Champions League final was a ‘sign from God’

He said it was not a coincidence they played Liverpool after losing to them two years earlier

Dirk Kuyt set up a tense finish after Pippo Inzaghi had given Milan a 2-0 lead but Carlo Ancelotti’s side held on and Kaka, who played both finals, said it was not a coincidence that their victory came over the Merseyside team. 

‘It was a sign from God, not a coincidence,’ Kaka told the official Milan website.

‘I don’t like to call it revenge, but it was marvellous and magical. 

Liverpool came from 3-0 down to take the 2005 final to extra-time before winning on penalties

‘The team was different to 2005, as we no longer had Hernan Crespo or Andriy Shevchenko, but the foundations were the same. 

‘It was almost the same team, but a very different Final and one that went down in history.’  

‘Pippo started running without even looking at the ball on the first goal, as he hoped the goalkeeper would parry Andrea Pirlo’s shot and knew where to be for the rebound. He just knew.

The Brazilian denied that Milan’s victory in 2007 was ‘revenge’ for their hurt from Istanbul

‘On the second goal, you could see it was just me and Pippo upfront, but I knew his movements so perfectly that I was already well aware of what he’d do next. I prepared to give him the pass, it was all so precise, and he moved further out wide so he’d have the space to kick it. It’s all about the details.’

The Brazilian admitted that fear kicked when Kuyt gave Liverpool a lifeline. 

‘It felt horrible when Kuyt scored and the ghosts of 2005 were threatening to haunt us again. It was a battle of wills and we felt the fear, the “oh no, it’s happening again” feeling. Fortunately, we held out and were able to celebrate at the end.

‘We all had very different feelings during the celebrations. It was my first Champions League, a dream come true, whereas it was Paolo Maldini’s fifth. It felt like coming full circle, the perfect conclusion to that team’s time together.’

The midfielder said he felt the victory was the perfect conclusion for him and his team-mates

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The game’s top 20 in the time of Wayne Carey

The 20 players nominated as the best Wayne Carey had seen contained one blatant and egregious omission: Wayne Carey.

Unlike his centre-half-forward forerunner, Richmond champion Royce Hart, who famously named himself in his best-ever team, Carey made the politic decision to exclude himself from the top 20 that stretched from 1987 until the present.

That Carey couldn't pick himself, lest he be seen as a big-head, is commendable, but also nonsensical, because anyone involved with the game at AFL level from the 1990s onwards would rank him in the top three or four and many would name him as the game's premier player during that epoch.

The king: Wayne Carey heads Jake Niall’s list of the 20 best players since 1987.Credit:Ken Irwin

If self-isolating from your own list is understandable, Carey's downgrading of the Gary Abletts, plural, makes less sense; in my view, Ablett snr is Carey's closest rival for No.1 since 1987, while Ablett jnr is far better than the 19th placing Carey settled on.

Tony Lockett, ranked third on my list and No.4 on Carey's 20, is another player in the conversation for best of that time. Plugger was a force of nature and, as with Leigh Matthews (who had retired by '87 ), the full-forward carried a rare element of intimidation alongside superb skills.

Listen to Wayne Carey give the reasoning behind his top 20 selections, and the honourable mentions, in this week's episode of the Real Footy podcast.

Anyway, here's my version of the game's top 20 since 1987, which takes issue with Carey's on a few rankings and names:

As a key forward, Carey was slightly less consistent than the premier midfielders, but this is only because forwards cannot control their supply. Carey combined speed, power, courage and size with superb marking and ball skills. He influenced results more than any other player of his era; without him, North would have just made up the numbers.

The most electrifying and explosive match-winner since the game was properly televised, Ablett, as one coach put it back in 1989, could "do more things than anyone else'' – leap ruckmen in a single bound, roost goals from 70 metres, out-sprint smaller men and fend off much taller defenders with one arm. He had one obvious weakness – stamina.

Plugger's innate brutality, burly physique and diffident temperament should not obscure his extraordinary skills for a 110-plus kilogram beast. His kicking for goal – and to teammates – was as good as we've seen. And defenders, quite reasonably, got out his way when he was on the lead.

Tony Lockett was in both Carey and Niall’s top 20 lists.Credit:Getty Images

Buddy is the last player to kick 100 goals and, given the drying up of scoring, he will surely be the last for the forseeable future. Like Lockett, Buddy had speed for a massive man, but unlike Plugger, he also had an enormous tank. If not a super-mark as Carey says, he was super at everything else.

Voss was the most complete midfielder, in that he could play inside and out, use the ball brilliantly, mark over bigger men and play forward or back if necessary. His ability to lift and lead in key moments was crucial in Brisbane's three-peat.

Carey ranked him No.1. I don't think it's insulting to place Dunstall, another explosive power athlete with vice-like hands, sixth. He was a super specialist, in that it is hard to imagine him playing another position besides full-forward. But why would a coach play him anywhere else?

Hird was the most uncanny player of his generation. He wafted around the field, finding the ball at will and also had that special quality of making the game slow. He inserted himself where the battle was most intense, or where he would make a difference.

Greats of the game Jason Dunstall, Carey and James Hird.Credit:Craig Abraham

Once Gaz turned truly professional in 2007 at the behest of teammates, he became the game's premier midfielder. A prolific ball-winner who was hardly worth tagging, Ablett's five Most Valuable Player awards, two Brownlows (one at Geelong, one at Gold Coast) and two flags make him a probable future AFL Legend in the Hall of Fame, alongside more mercurial dad.

In his first six years at West Coast, Judd was the game's best midfielder – a lightning-quick player who could win the ball inside, evade and break into space. At Carlton, he remained a superstar, but was more akin to Muhammad Ali than Cassius Clay, with a greater reliance on smarts and guts as injuries (groin mainly) dulled his fast-twist supremacy.

No one read the play better than Diesel, whose brilliance was combined with a nasty streak that surfaced when some taggers grabbed him one time too many. Too slow, too short, too fat, too bloody good.

Few players have carried a heavier burden than Buckley, by dint of the way he came to Collingwood and then because of initially poor teams he carried. An all-rounder like Voss, with outstanding ball-getting and kicking skills, Buckley added a more physical edge to his game and became nigh-unstoppable.

Collingwood great Nathan Buckley.Credit:AAP

Harvs had that wiggle that enabled him to create space in front of him. He could run and run like few others, grinding taggers into the ground. A modest champion, whose quiet style meant he was sometimes overlooked in conversations about the best when his record put him right up there.

In 2020, he stands – slightly – apart as the player of the past few years. A powerful midfielder, whose deft kicking is combined with that famous fend-off, Dusty doesn't just accumulate disposals. He makes his possessions count and no opponent enjoys facing him isolated in the scoring territory.

He's won two Brownlows and who knows whether he'd have another if not for that broken leg. Fyfe is a monster midfielder, who crashes packs and emerges with the footy, plus a superb overhead mark. The only weakness is his kicking is less reliable than some other superstars.

Matera was a match-winning wingman, whose blinding acceleration and clean skills and evasion changed the course of games – including finals. Ranks as the best Eagle outside of Judd, ahead of Glenn Jakovich (Carey's choice as next to Judd) and Ben Cousins.

Some will dispute that Hodge belongs here, because, as Carey noted, he played across half-back for much of his career, rather than in the midfield. I'd counter that he could play midfield and even forward and his big-game record (two Norm Smith medals) and leadership needs no elaboration.

Luke Hodge missed out on Carey’s list.Credit:AAP

Brown could mark against two or three opponents. The Lion key forward wasn't quick, but he had a huge tank and also played with a measure of useful nastiness. Injuries did afflict him more than his rivals Nick Riewoldt and Matthew Pavlich, but he was the most imposing and influential of that trio.

At his zenith in 2000 and 2001, Kouta was the best player in the game. He was, as Leigh Matthews once observed, the player you would clone to fill all 18 spots on the park. A super athlete with amazing hands, Koutoufides' major failing was that it took until the 1999 preliminary final to unleash his vast array of gifts and then he did his knee.


Whereas Jakovich makes Carey's 20, SOS is the only key defender on my list. Immensely strong in the torso, Silvagni took on all of the great forwards of his time – Lockett, Dunstall, Ablett, Tony Modra and Carey – and more than held his own. He could play forward very effectively, too.

Pavlich beats out of host of players – Adam Goodes, Nick Riewoldt, Matthew Scarlett, Andrew McLeod, Mark Rucciuto, Scott Pendlebury, Stephen Kernahan, Patrick Dangerfield, Matthew Lloyd, Matthew Richardson and Joel Selwood – for the final spot in the 20. He played all over the field, booted heaps of goals and turned games from the middle. He shouldn't be penalised for the absence of a flag any more than Ablett senior, Lockett, Harvey or Buckley.

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