26th February 2017
There are few situations in football with greater pressure than taking a penalty in a Champions League final shootout.
But when Djibril Cisse stepped up from 12 yards in the 2005 meeting between Liverpool and AC Milan, with millions around the world watching on, the Frenchman was simply counting his blessings to be there.
A broken leg earlier in the season had ruled the striker out of much of the run to Istanbul, and he returned to competitive action only a month before the showpiece at the Ataturk Stadium.
Cisse was sent on as a substitute after the Reds’ remarkable recovery from a three-goal deficit against the Serie A heavyweights to level the match at 3-3.
When the conclusion of extra-time called for penalties to decide the victors, he was quickly in the queue to take a spot-kick – and planted the ball home to help secure the trophy for a fifth time in the club’s history.
“I asked to take a pen,” Cisse told Soccer AM.
“My story is a little bit unusual, the way to the final. Four months earlier I was on crutches, trying to get fit for the next season – not to play Champions League football.