Valdés save vital to victoryWednesday 17 May 2006
FC Barcelona boss Frank Rijkaard - the fifth man to lift the European Champion Clubs' Cup as player and coach - underlined the crucial role played by goalkeeper Víctor Valdés as "each and every part" of his team contributed to their 2-1 UEFA Champions League final triumph against Arsenal FC. Rijkaard's opposite number Arsène Wenger was also more than satisfied with his players' performance, calling them "absolutely magnificent", but lamented the fact they were left empty-handed following Barcelona's two late goals.
Frank Rijkaard, Barcelona coach
Arsenal did a great job, without any doubt. It wasn't easy and that didn't surprise me. I said beforehand that the Champions League final is special and unique and that you don't have a favourite, just two good teams. Arsenal started well, we less so, but then we began to get back into it. The red card changed the game dramatically and it was a pity in that sense. Arsenal went backwards and started to defend and they still played very well. Víctor Valdés once again played a decisive role. He saved us at a crucial moment with the stop from Thierry Henry. He contributed to the victory and I like that. You need the team, and when each and every part of it does its job you have more strength. All that counts is that FC Barcelona are the 2006 UEFA Champions League winners. The first thing I am thinking of is all our fans and the joy this gives them. We must all be grateful that we can live these moments with Barcelona.
Arsène Wenger, Arsenal manager
The red card was the most important part of the game but we still played well and had two or three good chances to score a second. And when you don't do that, the last 20 minutes are going to be difficult. Congratulations to Barcelona and to my players for a magnificent European season and a great game tonight. When Jens Lehmann got sent off, that left us with 70 minutes to play with ten against eleven, against a team that retains the ball very well. I don't think we could have done much more. I want to thank my players who were absolutely magnificent. They were heroes but they were not rewarded. I will work with them to turn this frustration into success, but they deserve massive credit - as do Barcelona.
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