The UEFA Champions League draw was again presented by Pinto Pedro and Melanie Winiger in Monaco and opened the show by announcing the short list for the European Player of the Year, Messi, Iniesta and Cristiano Ronaldo before playing the review of last seasons UEFA Champions League competition, which had Gary Neville’s erotic scream for Torres’ goal. Now the whole of Europe get’s to enjoy that moment.
With the VT over Frank Lampard was brought onto the stage along with the UEFA Champions League trophy. Lampard was asked how it felt to finally win the UCL “It was the most amazing feeling.” “At Chelsea we had waited a long time…it was everything we thought it would be.” With that Lampard makes way for the draw to get underway and the first Legend of football to come out and start drawing the clubs from Pot 1 and on came Dennis Law. Law took his place and then came the usual explaining of the draw by UEFA General Secretary Gianni Infantino and the UEFA Director of Competitions, Giorgio Marchetti. With that over on came the UEFA Champions League final ambassador, Steve McManaman. Macca, as some may remember him being called, would draw out the groups the clubs will be in.
With Law drawing from Pot 1, with some difficulty, sweaty hands, Law’s first pick was Real Madrid with McManaman drawing them in group D. After the drawings Law made way for yet another footballing legend and 1995 Ballon d’Or winner, George Weah. George Weah is asked about his journey with football and he takes this time to thank Arsène Wenger, among others, who he says is a father figure. Weah moved from Libya to Cameroon as his chances of a career were better there than in his homeland and from there he was spotted and passed on to Arsène Wenger who was manager at Monaco at the time. The first team picked from Pot 2 was Shakhtar who were drawn with Chelsea.
With Pot 2 over with it was time say goodbye to George Weah and say hello to Ruud Gullit, European player of the year in 1987. Pinto Pedro asked Gullit what it was like to score two goals in the 1989 final which saw Gullit win the European Cup with Milan. “To score two goals in a final after coming back from injury is a great feeling. There is no competition that can compare as a club.” Gullit pulled out Galatasaray from Pot 3 and they were drawn in Group H with Manchester United and Braga.
With pot 3 done and dusted Ruud made way for last legend, Italian World Cup winner and European Player of the year 2006, Fabio Cannavaro. Cannavaro first pick out of Pot 4 was Scotland’s only entry in this years’ Champions League and they were in group G with Barcelona, Benfica and Spartak Moscow, a hard group for them.
With the draw finished Macca carried away the UEFA Champions League Trophy, won he held twice before as a player (2000 & 2002) and with that Melanie Winiger leads into the promo for tomorrows UEFA Super Cup match between Champions League winners Chelsea face Europa League winners Atlético Madrid with Fernando Torres facing his boyhood team and former club.
After the VT had ended the candidates for the European player of the year were introduced with Cristiano Ronaldo coming up first followed by Lionel Messi and finally with Andres Iniesta. 53 journalists (one from each UEFA nation) will be making their choice as to who will be awarded the trophy and the title as Europe’s best player.
Pedro Pinto asks Iniesta about the historic back to back triumphs with Spain to which he said “I feel very privileged to be part of this generation of Spanish footballers.”
Cristiano Ronaldo was asked about how he felt about the last of football. Ronaldo said how it was a very good year, for him and in his opinion, the best things in the world are in Spain with Real Madrid and Barcelona and that he was proud of his season despite losing in the UEFA Champions League and European Championship semi-finals on penalties.
Messi was asked about how he felt regarding his season and he took the time to thanks his team mates saying that he can score so many goals because of the team he plays in – “A lot of my success and goals are down to me being in such a great team that allow me to shine.”
With the short Q&A out of the way Michel Platini comes on stage to announce the 2012 Best European Player award and reads out Andres Iniesta’s name.
On winning the prestigious prize the Spaniard said “Without my team-mates at the Spanish national team and Barcelona, I wouldn’t have won this individual trophy.”
Iniesta won the award with 19 votes, with both Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo with 17 each.
Anyone of them could have won it, but it was nice to see it go to a playmaker rather than a goal scorer. Although Messi and Ronaldo are not your conventional strikers, they do score goals
Lampard brings out the UEFA Champions League Trophy
Iniesta with his trophy
Messi congratulates teammate Iniesta