• Old Trafford. 20 years of Redondo's heel

"To UEFA, to, to UEFA!" The Valencian supporter trod Paris less cautiously than their team, later undone on the grass of Saint Denis. Throughout the day, by Notre Dame or the Champs Elysées, fans who premiered in a European Cup final announced to those already experienced the punishment they would have the following season, in the form of participation in the continental B tournament. They took the victory for granted before the resounding 3-0 that Real Madrid endorsed dressed in black satin and gold trim.

The first goal was from Fernando Morientes , starting striker in the three Champions League won by that white team nailed in history. Fate then led him to play with those of Mestalla. "When I was there we did not talk much about the Paris final," recalls the Madrid player, with a focus on the last few days after being identified as a possible replacement for David Aganzo at the head of the Association of Spanish Soccer Players (AFE). "For now, I'm going away," he says on the subject.

Question.- They passed over an opponent who was thrown. Did the final intimidate you?

Answer.- The truth is that, like in Amsterdam, we were not the favorites. Although we were going with less pressure, and that helped us a lot. The experience was noticed. But it must be remembered that they had scored five for Lazio and five for Barça in the semifinals. It was a great team: Piojo López, Mendieta, Cañizares, Djukic, Angloma ...

He had to cover the Frenchman. Del Bosque asked Anelka, Raúl and me that one had to take charge. I, all grown up, said it was my thing ... And I ended up dead. How that guy got on, it was tremendous ... He didn't stop. A wonder. In one move, I threw myself to the ground and I even dropped the logo of the boot, Joma's red jack . I thought about what a chore for my sponsor, because he was the only one who wore that mark in the game. He scored soon. What does the goal taste like in a Champions League final? He put a caramelito Michel Salgado on me and the auction came out perfect, down, chopped, at the feet of Cañete ... It is one of those moments that pass so fast that you even get angry not to taste it anymore. I remember going to the break with my 1-0 and thinking about Mijatovic . If you score in a final and win, you enter history. The goal smoothed the night. Unlike in Amsterdam , where we suffered at the beginning, in Paris we had occasions from the beginning. They were gripped, they did not link four next passes. The goals were coming. They were never comfortable and we were. Maybe the responsibility and the pressure could take them away. Did you notice soon? We really realized the previous afternoon. At the end of their training, in the stadium, we crossed paths and we saw them leave with a bad face, with a strange pallor. Redondo detected it immediately and told us in the locker room: «Have you seen them? You have to take advantage of it ». Playing a Champions League final for the first time weighs on anyone, even a super team like that Valencia, just as in the year of the Seventh, Madrid's season in the League was pretty bad. We went from having to leave the Bernabéu escorted one night, when Zaragoza put us five [ 1-5, day 14] , to win the Eighth. The League cost us a lot. We did not give even 70% in some games. Del Bosque's arrival sorted things out. We started playing with three centrals and the team reacted, especially in the Champions League. We had quality, but above all very good vibes. More than in the Seventh or later in the Ninth? Maybe yes, although those two teams also had a lot of union. But they were different. In the eighth one there was a strong group of Spaniards, and then the foreigners fit in very well. For example, McManaman , who as soon as he began to speak Spanish seemed like one more. Solari, who was fluent in English, introduced him. And there were Redondo, Savio, Anelka ... What was the French like? Very introverted, but a good kid. He arrived very young and perhaps the price could and that did not mark much. Then the truth is that he came out in the semifinal with Bayern and in the final he started. He had a lot of speed and talent. The space between the center and the side attacked with fear. What memories do you have of the preview of the final? Well, on the bus to the stadium I was worried about a friend. I left him three tickets at the hotel reception, but someone must have seen me leave them, asked for them and stole them. Poor my colleague had to go to the resale. He was sending me messages. That, at least, served to distract me and forget the nerves of the party. And the celebration? Well, family, nothing to do with the euphoria and explosion of Amsterdam, that was unique. The other day my mother reminded me that on the plane back from Paris we celebrated the birthday of the woman from Sanchís. These days I think sadly of Lorenzo Sanz [deceased by coronavirus]. He created that team.

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