Saturday 16 December 2017

'Team of heroes' sweat blood

Jamie Holland

JOSE MOURINHO was highly emotional when he met reporters after Inter Milan's triumph.

"We were a team of heroes. We sweated blood," he declared. "I thank everyone who played and who did not play. I thank all the fans, those who were here and those who remained at home.

"Absolutely incredible things happened. Now is our festival. I want the fans at the airport waiting for these guys.

"I want the fans to go to Rome where we have a Sunday final against Lazio (in Serie A) and Wednesday when we have another final against Roma (in the Coppa Italia)."

The Portuguese added: "This match was difficult with 11 (players); with 10 versus 11 it was historic. The defeat was the best of my life, but I think this team deserved to draw 0-0.

Julio Cesar has had an amazing game; it seemed we were in equal numbers.

"It is an incredible joy. I have already won a Champions League but today was even better.

"When I won (with Porto) we beat Monaco 3-0 and half an hour before the end I knew we had won. It's a pity I could not play because I have got the same blood."

Meanwhile, Franck Ribery's run of bad news continued yesterday when the Bayern Munich winger learnt that he will miss the Champions League final next month after UEFA decided to impose a three-game suspension on him for his sending-off in the first leg of the semi-final against Lyon.

Ribery, who aside from the red card he picked up at the Allianz Arena last week has also been linked with a prostitution scandal centred on a nightclub on the Champs Elysees in Paris, sat out Bayern's 3-0 win in the second leg on Tuesday, but was expected to be available for the final at the Bernabeu Stadium on May 22.

However, Uefa decided that his high tackle on Lyon's Lisandro Lopez warranted a three-match ban, meaning Ribery will miss the German side's first appearance in the final in nine years.

Bayern have already lodged an appeal.

"Uefa informed us of the decision, arguing that Franck Ribery was guilty (of serious foul play). We do not understand this decision in any way," read a club statement.

"Bayern and Franck Ribery will not accept the decision, but appeal and exhaust all possibilities."

Like Inter Milan in Italy, Bayern have hopes of clinching an unprecedented treble in Germany of European Cup, Bundesliga and cup .

With two league games to go in the league, they top the table on goal difference from Schalke.

Irish Independent

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