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Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Manchester United Champion League Trophy Presentation


Manchester United Champion League Trophy Presentation


Christiano Ronaldo Interview after Champion League Final


Ronaldo: I'm staying

On a night of European glory, Cristiano Ronaldo gave Reds fans even more reason to celebrate when he quashed rumours that he could join Real Madrid this summer by pledging his future to United.

When asked by a TV reporter whether he would be leaving the club with which he has already achieved so much in his short career, Ronaldo gave the emphatic reply all Reds fans wanted to hear.

“No, no, no. I’m going to stay,” he said.

It was a fitting end to an emotional night for the Portuguese winger who opened the scoring in the 26th minute, but then missed his spot-kick in the dramatic penalty shoot-out.

“When I missed the penalty, I thought we were going to lose,” he said.

“I played well in the game and I scored a goal, but I missed the penalty. I thought it was going to be the worst day of my life.

“But the lads did their jobs. They believed they were going to score, and they scored. Penalties is a lottery, you never know who is going to win, but I think we deserve to win because we played better in the game.

“It means everything to me because we won both trophies, the Champions League and the League, so I feel very happy. It is one of the most happy days of my life. I feel very, very proud.”

Manchester United Champion Celebration Video Clip


Manchester United Vs. Chelsea Result Report

United are Champions of Europe for the third time after beating Chelsea in dramatic fashion... 6-5 on penalties.

Edwin van der Sar was ultimately the man who made the Reds' dream come true when he saved the Blues' seventh spot-kick taken by Nicolas Anelka. John Terry also missed in the shoot-out, when a goal with his kick would have won the final for Chelsea.

Earlier, Cristiano Ronaldo had put the Reds in front with a first-half header before Frank Lampard equalised in first-half injury time.

The debate over who would feature in United’s attack was an intriguing one. Would Sir Alex Ferguson opt to pitch Wayne Rooney up front on his own via a 4-5-1 formation? Or would he go 4-3-3 in a bid to combat Chelsea’s three-man midfield? The answer was neither. Instead the United manager chose to start with Owen Hargreaves down the right – who had so impressed in that position in the victory over Roma in the quarter-final home leg - Michael Carrick and Paul Scholes anchored the midfield, with Cristiano Ronaldo taking up the left flank position. Wayne Rooney and Carlos Tevez were up front. It was in fact the first time the attacking six had ever played together.

Sir Alex had said in the build-up to the game that choosing his substitutes would prove to be a tougher exercise that selecting his starting eleven. Predictably there were a couple of notable absentees including skipper Gary Neville and Louis Saha, although both have spent much of the campaign troubled by injury. The biggest shock was Ji-sung Park, who had worked so tirelessly to help the Reds book their place in Moscow against Barcelona. Of the travelling squad, goalkeeper Tom Heaton, defender Gerard Pique and young striker Danny Wellbeck were the others who missed out.

The Luzhniki Stadium was a sea of colour and noise before kick-off with the travelling Reds in typically good voice. There wasn’t too much for both sets of supporters to shout about early on; as expected the opening exchanges were very tight with neither side giving an inch.

United looked the more livelier outfit with Owen Hargreaves in particular seeing a lot of the ball. He sent in a couple of decent crosses in from the right in the opening 10 minutes and in the 16th minute he went very close to getting on the end of Ronaldo’s excellent left-wing centre. Unfortunately, for the England international it was a tad too high.

Ronaldo was involved again a minute later, lofting a great ball over the top to the onrushing Patrice Evra on the left. But his cross was well headed clear by John Terry.

United were temporarily down to ten men whilst Paul Scholes received treatment for a bloodied nose after an accidental collision with Claude Makelele – for which both were booked.

That left United short in midfield and when Carlos Tevez lost possession in 23rd minute, Chelsea looked to make the one-man advantage count. Frank Lampard floated a cross towards Didier Drobga at the back post, but thankfully Nemanja Vidic was on hand to head clear.

Three minutes later United took the lead through that boy Ronaldo. Neat play between Scholes and Wes Brown after a throw-in on the right flank allowed the defender the time to pick out a cross for Ronaldo at the back post who expertly directed his header past a statue-like Petr Cech for his 42nd goal of the season. Can’t do it on the big stage, eh?!

United were in the ascendancy and four minutes later Ronaldo took flight for another header from another Brown centre, but no-one was there to get on the end of his knock-down.

Chelsea, who had so far offered little in attack, went close to drawing level on 34 minutes. Drogba headed Lampard’s deep cross to the far post, back across goal. Rio Ferdinand dithered for a just second with Michael Ballack breathing down his neck. His presence forced the United skipper into heading towards his own goal, but Edwin van der Sar was alert, beating the effort away at point blank range.

United broke forward immediately from the resulting corner, Wayne Rooney finding Ronaldo with an exquisite 40 yard cross-field pass. The winger controlled it brilliantly and delivered a perfect cross onto Carlos Tevez’s head. Cech blocked the diving effort from the Argentine and was also on hand to parry Michael Carrick’s follow-up shot from the edge of the box.

Ronaldo headed the subsequent corner over, but United were clearly growing in confidence and Ronaldo in particular was giving stand-in right-back Michael Essien a torrid time.

Two minutes before the break Hargreaves won possession, broke forward and fed Rooney on the right. He fizzed in an early daisy-cutter which evaded Makelele at the front post. Tevez was waiting just behind him but just wasn’t able to poke the ball goalwards

There was no letup in the action but this time it was at Chelsea’s end. Ferdinand was booked for a foul on Lampard right on the edge of the box, but Ballack curled the subsequent free-kick over Van der Sar’s crossbar much to the delight of the jubilant United fans behind the goal.

That jubilation turned to deflation right on the stroke of half-time when Chelsea drew level. Ferdinand’s clearance fell to Michael Essien, marauding forward from right-back. His shot cannoned off both Vidic and Ferdinand before dropping to Frank Lampard in the area. Van der Sar raced to meet him but slipped at the vital moment, allowing the Chelsea midfielder to side-foot home. It was a real blow for United and not what they had deserved.

You wondered how that sucker punch would affect United, if at all It didn’t look to have done too much damage when Patrice Evra powered in the area on 54 minutes and lofted a cross towards Rooney, Tevez and Hargreaves. But it was too high for the trio.

Chelsea began to take a grip of proceedings soon after. Essien broke forward down the right and, after holding off the attentions of Ronaldo, cut inside and hit a powerful left foot drive. Van der Sar slipped, as he had done for the goal (dodgy pitch, anyone?) but thankfully for United the shot flew over the bar.

United’s back line were on red alert thereafter - Vidic brilliantly headed Ashley Cole’s cross away from danger as Drogba lay in wait, before Ferdinand twice the same as the Blues’ attacking barrage continued. Michael Carrick then hooked Florent Malouda’s inviting free-kick away from danger.

Having weathered the Chelsea storm, United looked to get things going again in attack. In the 72nd minutes, Rooney, who had been somewhat quiet up to this point, picked up possession and found Hargreaves on the right. He laid the ball into Carrick’s path, but a Chelsea body dived to block.

The Reds breathed a sigh of relief 12 minutes from time when Drogba arced a left-foot shot against van der Sar’s left-hand post with the Dutchman well beaten.

The Ivorian Coast international was making a nuisance of himself and nearly got on the end of Ashley Cole’s cross after Ferdinand had slipped – a common occurrence for both sets if players after the break – but the United defence were on hand to clear.

Eight minutes from time Tevez curled an effort wide of Cech’s right-hand post, but the Chelsea stopper looked to have it covered.

The half chances were all falling to Chelsea, who had dominated the second period. Drogba went very close to steering Joe Cole’s low centre home three minutes from time, but blasted wide.

Ryan Giggs entered the fray to break Sir Bobby Charlton’s all-time appearance record soon after. But that was to be the last notable action of the 90 minutes as the match entered extra-time.

Two minutes in some intricate passing between Carrick, Giggs and Rooney almost put Tevez in, but a Chelsea defender managed to deflect the ball through to Cech.

Having drawn Chelsea level earlier, Frank Lampard went close to giving them the lead two minutes later, spinning and clipping a shot from inside the area which rebounded back off the bar and away.

United went just as close in the 11th minute of added time. Rooney fired a cross-field pass f towards Ronaldo. Essien intercepted but his clearance dropped to Evra who burst into the area, before pulling the ball back to Giggs. It was all set for the record-breaker to score the winner, but John Terry cleared his shot off the line.

Six minutes into the second period, Vidic upended Anelka to hand Chelsea a free-kick a dangerous area some 20 yards out on the right edge of the box. Thankfully, Drogba blasted wide.

The Chelsea striker was at the centre of the match’s most controversial moment five minutes from time. Chelsea put the ball out of play in their own half with one of their players down suffering with cramp, but the Blues were irked when Tevez only returned the ball by knocking it out again in a similar area. A melee ensued with virtually every player getting involved. Most notably Drogba and Vidic swapped exchanges with the Ivorian slapping the Serb. Referee Michel Lubos wasted no time in producing the red card for Drogba. Tevez and Ballack also went into the book, but just with yellows.

A further yellow card, for a foul by Essien, was to be the last noteworthy event before the game headed for penalties. There United were to have their glory but not before Ronaldo had his penalty saved by Petr Cech, to give Chelsea a brief advantage. When Terry squandered this, Anderson scored to level - then Kalou and Giggs both netted before Anelka stepped up for the final decisive spot-kick, saved superbly by Edwin van der Sar.

United: Kings of Europe!

Edwin van der Sar was the hero as United were crowned champions of Europe for the third time after a dramatic penalty shoot-out victory over Chelsea at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow.

Forty years after winning their first European Cup final at Wembley in 1968, and 50 years since the Munich tragedy, fate played a big part as a dramatic Champions League final went to penalties.

After Cristiano Ronaldo had missed his kick, John Terry had the chance to win the cup, but slipped on the run up and his kick hit the post. Nicolas Anelka's sudden death penalty was then saved by van der Sar, sparking jubilant scenes among United’s rain-soaked travelling contingent.

Cristiano Ronaldo had given United a 26th minute lead with a header from Wes Brown’s cross in a first half which the Reds dominated. Carlos Tevez had two clear chances to put United 2-0 ahead, but his efforts were well saved by Chelsea keeper Petr Cech, who also denied Michael Carrick.

Chelsea gained a foothold in the game in the final few minutes of the first half, and equalised with almost the last kick of the half, when a deflected Michael Essien shot fell kindly for Frank Lampard, who beat Rio Ferdinand and Van der Sar.

The Londoners dominated the second half and Didier Drogba struck the post, before Frank Lampard did likewise in extra time. Ryan Giggs, making a record breaking appearance for the Reds, spurned United’s best chance.

In the second period of extra time, Drogba was red carded for a slap on Nemanja Vidic, but despite the one man advantage, the Reds couldn’t make the breakthrough on a heavy pitch, and so the final went to penalties.

After Tevez and Carrick had scored for United and Ballack and Belletti for Chelsea , Ronaldo hesistated in his run up and shot straight at Cech. Terry could have won it for Chelsea, but in the end it fell to United’s Dutch keeper to complete a memorable and emotional night for Sir Alex's side.

Manchester United Vs. Chelsea Highlights Video Clip

Manchester U. * [1 - 1] Chelsea
26' [1 - 0] C. Ronaldo
45' [1 - 1] F. Lampard
penalty shoot-out : [6 - 5]