On how it feels to win the UEFA Champions League
When the referee blows up, maybe you do have a bit more time to think about the lonely life you lead as a footballer – with so many trips and hotel stays, you spend so much time without your family and children. So it reminds you of the people who are around, who were around and whom you now miss. You’re reminded of the sacrifice and hard work you put in as a footballer to reach that special moment. In my case, I’m honoured to be captain and I’m reminded of all those things because everything has served a purpose and helped me bring out the best in myself on such occasions.
On the value of experience
We know what a Champions League final entails. We’ve played in quite a few in recent years and we know what a huge occasion it is. We have to be focused because it can come down to very fine margins in these matches.
[Winning three straight Champions Leagues] is a dream and ambition of mine, but I don’t know what it would feel like. Football moves so quickly that you don’t have enough time to enjoy each moment. We always put our heart and soul into every competition that we play. Now we’ve been rewarded with another final and I hope we can win it, because it wouldn’t just mean winning the Champions League again, it would prove this team have defined an era.
We know they’re very tough opponents. They are very fast going forward and can really hurt you on the break. [Roberto] Firmino and [Mohamed] Salah are such quick and direct players who are very difficult to get hold of, so we’ll try to keep them under control and ensure they don’t have one of their inspired days, because they can certainly cause you damage.
[Liverpool are] very good technically and are full of pace, but we’ll try to hurt them with our players who have similar attributes. We know we can also cause them problems on the counter. We’ll try to take advantage of that and we also know we are a threat from set pieces.