Van der Sar revels in Champions League glory

May 22, 2008

Manchester United goalkeeper Edwin van der Sar was pleased to be the Champions League final penalty shoot-out hero in Moscow - but admitted luck had played a part in his side's victory.

Chelsea captain John Terry had the opportunity to take the European Cup to London for the first time after Cristiano Ronaldo had earlier missed from the spot, but he struck the post after he slipped on a wet pitch at the Luzhniki Stadium.

As the shoot-out went to sudden death, Ryan Giggs converted and the 37-year-old goalkeeper then saved Nicolas Anelka's kick to take the trophy back to Old Trafford for the third time.

'We didn't really want penalties but when the moment comes you know you can be a hero,' van der Sar said. 'It's one of the benefits of having a long career. I won this final in 1995 with Ajax and I lost one on penalties so I know it's hard.

'When I lost the Champions League final in 1996 I was heartbroken and didn't leave the house for three days so it's good this has gone my way.

'We were a little bit lucky with John Terry's slip, although you could say the goal we conceded was an easy goal, the ball changed direction and I slipped.

'It's our luck that he slipped otherwise it would have been all over and someone else would be sitting here. Life and football can change on small things. Penalties are all about the quality of strikes and you just have to hope that you save one.

'Saving that - I don't have any words for it. What can I say? It's great. You see it coming, you save it and then you get up and you know the game's over.

'You have two, three or four seconds on your own, arms in the air and everything goes through your mind. You see your team-mates coming and it's just happiness.

'It's always difficult because before that five went in. I was close to one or two, I touched Ashley Cole's penalty and should have saved that one but I knew.'

The Dutch goalkeeper also revealed he drew inspiration from a compatriot who had performed heroics in a penalty shoot-out 20 years ago.

'It's always nice to win but to win it sort of yourself. Hans van Breukelen won it in 1988 with PSV Eindhoven against Benfica,' van der Sar told uefa.com. 'He saved the last penalty and I strived my whole career to get a decisive moment and to have that final moment to win the game is fantastic.

'I'm grateful to have had that opportunity from (manager) Alex Ferguson at 34 to come here to United - sometimes I wonder why it didn't happen sooner, but never mind. I've got two titles and the Champions League tonight and we're not finished yet.'