AMSTERDAM: Chelsea match-winner Branislav Ivanovic described his match-winning moment in the Europa League Final as one of the finest moments of his life in football writes KEIR RADNEDGE.
The Serbian defender rose, unchallenged, to head the decisive goal which secured a 2-1 victory over Benfica just when extra time was looming. He was also voted man of the match.
Ivanovic said: “It’s a great feeling for me. This is one of the best moments in my career. To score the winning goal in a European final is the dream of every player.
“All the team and staff and supporters deserve this trophy and we are amazing happy about this.”
He played down comparisons with last year’s Champions League Final victory over Bayern Munich which he had missed through suspension. Ivanovic insisted that the priority for every player – including those who were injured this time – was success for the team and the club.
“Every player would exchange playing in a final for the trophy,” he added. “So I’m happy for the whole team. It’s a real pleasure to play with this team and get a chance to win these trophies. We have improved a lot and it’s a great feeling for me personally.”
Complacency was out of question.
Ivanovic said: “When you win one trophy you want another one. It’s something about sport that pushes you forward.
“We found this season how hard other teams play against the champions [of Europe] and so we have to be ready for that again next season and that is what also gives us extra motivation.”