How old were you in 2005 and do you remember AC Milan's legendary team that started the Champions League final?
Brazilian goalkeeper Dida was renowned as a specialist penalty saver and shot-stopping expert He also had impressive reflexes for a man so big. At its core, this was a quintessentially Italian team captained by the legendary and versatile one-club man, Paolo Maldini, who was helped out in defence by the talented ball-playing centre back Alessandro Nesta. Uncompromising tough-tackling Dutch centre-back Jaap Stam and Brazilian legend Cafu completed a formidable back five.
Speaking of uncompromising, Gennaro Gattuso took no prisoners in midfield alongside the elegant playmaking of Andrea Pirlo, the box-to-box all-around playing style of Clarence Seedorf and the silk, finesse, subtlety and power of Kaká.
💎 AC Milan UCL Final 2005: Midfield diamond (4-1-2-1-2):
Dida; Cafu, Stam, Nesta, Maldini; Gattuso; Pirlo, Seedorf; Kaká; Shevchenko, Crespo
All of them supported a duo of goal machines in the shape of lethal finisher Andriy Shevchenko and the composed, tenacious Argentine Hernán Crespo.
However, somehow this team went down to Liverpool in the Champions League final of 2005. It will go down as one of the greatest football matches ever played, and this AC Milan vintage was one of the most talented sides ever to lose a big final. They led 3-0 at halftime but, staggeringly, lost on penalties as Liverpool staged an epic fightback in Istanbul.
The current Milan crop heads to Anfield on Wednesday night as the 2021-22 group stages commence. Surprisingly, this is the first European H2H that isn't a final. Memories of Istanbul will flood back for Liverpool fans, while Milan supporters will cherish the memories of their revengeful 2-1 win two years later in Greece.
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