Kaka has explained that he ‘feels lucky’ to have participated in the famous 2005 Champions League final despite being on the wrong side of the ‘miracle of Istanbul’ that saw Liverpool come from three goals down to defeat AC Milan.
The former Brazil star insists that he was taught ‘a very good lesson’ during that night at the Ataturk Stadium and believes his experiences made him a better player before getting revenge on the Reds two years later in the 2007 final in Athens.
“In 2005 we were so close to winning the Champions League,” he told 90min (as quoted by Liverpool Echo). “Beating a team like Liverpool 3-0 at half-time. The pass to Hernan Crespo (for his goal) is one of the best assists of my career.
“In my opinion, (we had) one of the best defences in the history of football, but we conceded three goals in six minutes. That final is really unbelievable. It’s unfortunate that we lost, but I participated in an amazing game.
“(The) 2005 (final) is a really special moment. Of course, it was a loss, but I still feel lucky to witness that miracle moment in my life, even if it’s on the wrong side. And for me, it was a very good lesson that I took from that game.”
“The most important lesson for me from that game was that I couldn’t control the result, all I could control was the process. So after that, I started to be more professional, to be thinking more about the details, and then two years later I had the opportunity to be in the final again and win. I believe miracles are made when professionalism meets passion.”
During that famous night in Istanbul the 41-year-old played an instrumental role as Carlo Ancelotti’s side headed in at half time 3-0 up.
A goal inside the first minute from Paolo Maldini was followed up by a Hernan Crespo brace to put the Italians on the brink of glory.
A spirited second half display from the Premier League side ensured the continued into extra time, though, with goals coming from Vladimir Smicer, Xabi Alonso and Steven Gerrard.
Heroics from Jerzy Dudek then helped keep the scoreline level before the Polish shot stopper saved Andriy Shevchenko’s decisive spot kick to win Liverpool their fifth European Cup.
It’s brilliant to see Kaka speaking so honestly about a game that marked one of AC Milan’s darkest night in football and it really is a game that will never be forgotten.