Andriy Shevchenko spoke to MilanTV ahead of Tuesday’s game, saying he ‘would love to relive that atmosphere and hear that music there again’.
For the first time since 2014, San Siro is set to host a Milan Champions League game, when Milan host Atlético Madrid – the same side they played 7.5 years ago, the last time the UCL saw the Rossoneri in action in their own home.
Ahead of the match on Tuesday night, Rossoneri legend Andriy Shevchenko sat down for an interview with MilanTV: “In my opinion, Milan players, those who pull on the Milan shirt, have a different blood for these competitions.
On his experience in the Champions League: “I also had some history with Dynamo Kyiv, my first steps as a footballer, we’ll say were there. But Milan was another story, a beautiful story with two Champions League finals. The first especially was a fantastic emotion.”
On his start in the competition: “For me, as a young player, who played at Dynamo Kyiv, the Champions League was a great showcase; through the match in the Champions League, I managed to conquer Europe, playing well and scoring lots of goals and it opened the door for me to go and play in a great team like Milan. This is all thanks to the Champions League.”
On the approach: “You need to have a different approach, the Champions League is a competition with great history; in particular, there’s an incredible link with Milan. When you play against the best teams in the world, when you get to compete with the best players in the world, it gives you a special thrill. For fans of Milan, the Champions League was something more, when you played at San Siro the stadium was always full, we contested some brilliant games, scoring a goal in front of the Rossoneri fans is an incredible emotion.”
On the fans: “The Milan fans would be waiting for these games, they would have a different approach, and so would the players. In terms of our approach, before some games maybe we were a bit tense; for example each one of us used to have a different approach but in the locker rooms it was calm. There was the right energy and awareness of our means because Milan have a great history, a history that has been passed from older generations to younger generations. Milan have always had an incredible history in the Champions League. Certainly, when you put on that Milan jersey, that history passes through you too, it makes you surer of yourself, it makes you stronger.”
On what matches he remembers best: “Those two matches especially: the match against Ajax because we believed until the end and then we scored a last-minute goal and this was a sign for all of us. Then definitely the match against Inter. We believed we could make it, perhaps we believed it more. The team was ready to play in the final. Then the final was beautiful, even if many say the match wasn’t beautiful. But for us players, it was a battle and we managed to win.”
On the famous look before the penalty in the final: “That look was a very sure look, I was waiting for the referee’s whistle, he blew the whistle but I didn’t hear it. Then I was looking at the referee for one moment and the goalkeeper the next, I was very concentrated. In fact, the emotions when making that 30-metre walk, which gives you a lot to think about, but when I got there, I was very focused, I was confident and I was just waiting for the whistle.”
On if he misses hearing the Champions League anthem: “I miss that energy on the pitch, the energy you get when you hear the noise of the fans. However focused you are, I miss the pre-match preparations, the ore-match tension, it’s always nice to hear. I’d love to relive that atmosphere and hear that music there again.”
On the current Milan side: “Milan are a team that know how to grit their teeth in difficult moments, it’s a team that has grown a lot. I believe the Champions League will help the young players to grow and have more experience. This Milan team has great potential to truly do well.”