Benitez hailed a hero for Liverpool's final victory

26th May 2005, Comments 0 comments

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."

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Subject: Spanish news

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