If anybody ever though it wasn’t Steven Gerrard who brilliantly hauled Liverpool back from the dead in that Champions League final in Istanbul back in 2005 against AC Milan, they can think again.
Rafa Benitez has today given an amazing tribute to Steven Gerrard, who announced his retirement from football yesterday and the Newcastle manager has thanked Steven for winning the Champions League for Liverpool in that epic game eleven years ago.
Steven Gerrard and Rafa Benitez with Champions League Trophy
This is what Rafa had to say about Steven today in the build up to the Newcastle – Blackburn game tomorrow at St. James’ Park:
“Thanks to Steven Gerrard, we won the Champions League”
“Everything was special that day. My concern was at half time how to express what I wanted to say in English to make sure the team understood.”
“We needed a goal after half time and he scored it.” “He lifted the spirit of the team and we could react.”
“I was really lucky because we got the best from Steven. He scored 104 goals for us when we were there.”
“He was the kind of player you do not find too often now – a good professional and a leader on the pitch.”
“You could see in every training session, he was someone who had to be different and always wanted to be in the game.”
“He played in different positions so he was learning the understanding of the game.”
“Stevie was always a good example and if he ever wants to talk about how to approach things, I can give him my ideas.”
“Though he also has a lot of other people around who can give him some advice.”
“Maybe he can be a good coach in the future. He has the knowledge and experience and now he has been in another country to learn there.”
There’s a glowing acknowledgement of Gerrard if ever there was one.
We will always remember Steven Gerrard for that game back in 2005.
It’s a game in which you could witness one single player take the game by the scruff of the neck in that second half and it was simply a miracle that Liverpool were able to eventually win that game.
But win it they did and I for one had to reach for the bucket and sponge at the end of the game.