Prior to taking the biggest penalty of his career which won AC Milan the 2003 Champions League final against Juventus, Andriy Shevchenko has admitted that his life flashed before him prior to taking it.
After a scoreless draw in both normal time and extra time at Old Trafford, the game was decided by a penalty shootout and the ice-cool Ukrainian stepped up to dispatch the winning kick.
He now holds that moment close as the most special of his career and gave an in-depth reflection on his thoughts prior to taking the most pressurised penalty kick of his career.
“Without a doubt the most beautiful victory was the final against Juventus in Manchester. That was a very strong Juve team and Old Trafford is such a special stadium,” he told DAZN.
“It was the first final of my life and the most important game of my life. I will never forget those 12 to 15 seconds before I took the penalty in which I walked half of the field up to the spot.
“In that time, my whole life passed in front of me. Since you are a child, you grow up with dreams of those moments and you understand that now you can make it a reality.
“That’s when I told myself to stay calm and put it the way I wanted to, without changing my mind. I looked at the referee, then at the ball, then at [Gianluigi] Buffon and I finally heard the whistle and then put it where I wanted.”
Shevchenko also revealed how it was perhaps written in the stars for him to wear the famous No. 7 jersey at the Rossoneri, one he did great justice to with his performances and goals.
“My arrival at Milan was a very special moment. There is a nice story about my No. 7. I remember that Ibrahim Ba arrived and said to me ‘if you want, I can leave that number for you’,” recalled the former Chelsea striker.
“I thanked him. He was very nice about it. Two days later, a childhood friend called me and said to me, ‘do you know that in Hebrew, the number seven is sheva’?
“I couldn’t believe it. He told me it would bring me luck and that certainly was the case.”