Benitez hailed a hero for Liverpool's final victory
26 May 2005, MADRID — Football fans hailed the dramatic Champions League cup final victory of Liverpool's Spanish manager Rafael Benitez and his team over AC Milan.
26 May 2005
MADRID — Football fans hailed the dramatic Champions League cup final victory of Liverpool's Spanish manager Rafael Benitez and his team over AC Milan.
Liverpool's dramatic victory, a penalty shoot-out win over AC Milan after being three goals down, sparked joyous scenes in Spain as well as Istanbul and back in Britain.
It was their fifth European Cup triumph, a feat which means they get to keep the trophy, the BBC reported.
In Liverpool, locals poured into the streets - the city's operational police officer said he had never witnessed "so many revellers in the city centre".
Those who enjoyed their team's heroics first-hand in Istanbul - there were at least 30,000 in the stadium itself - face a long journey home after partying into the night.
Twenty-four planes will be ferrying them back to Liverpool's airport.
But in both countries, there was very little trouble and only a few arrests overnight.
The result also marks a significant night for British football, with Liverpool becoming the first British side since Manchester United in 1999 to win the Champions League.
British prime Minister Tony Blair sent a message to the victorious Liverpool team and manager Benitez.
In the message, Blair said: "Unbelievable. Incredible. Brilliant. The whole country is very proud of you."
The prime minister's wife Cherie added: "I am absolutely delighted of course as a Liverpool girl. It is a fantastic news for the whole city and the whole country."
Bookmakers Ladbrokes are counting the cost of Liverpool's success after a nationwide gamble on the Reds to win the trophy.
Liverpool were 100/1 to win the game at half-time and more than 100 people backed them, with one punter putting GBP 50 on.
"Over £10 million was riding on the match, it was one of the biggest betting games ever," said Ladbrokes spokesman Warren Lush.
"We estimate the the industry has lost over £2 million. We're just thanking our lucky stars that it was a draw after 90 minutes otherwise our losses would have been at least double that."
Subject: Spanish news