Istanbul Heroes: Where Are They Now?

Choon Yau TanCorrespondent IApril 22, 2009

ISTANBUL, TURKEY - MAY 25:  Liverpool players celebrate victory following the European Champions League Final between Liverpool and AC Milan on May 25, 2005 at the Ataturk Olympic Stadium in Istanbul, Turkey.  (Photo by Ben Radford/Getty Images)

It has been nearly four years since Liverpool dramatically clinched their fifth European crown in May 2005. The heroic comeback in Istanbul was probably one of the best game ever played, if not the best.

Despite being down by three goals against AC Milan at half-time, the Reds scored three goals in the space of six second half minutes to level the score. Liverpool went on to win on penalties, after Jerzy Dudek denied Andriy Shevchenko's penalty.

Many would probably still remember Liverpool's starting line-up that night and the substitutes used. Sami Hyypia, Jamie Carragher, Xabi Alonso, and Steven Gerrard are the only ones left in the squad from that magical night.

Liverpool's starting line-up against AC Milan was: Jerzy Dudek, Steve Finnan, Jamie Carragher, Sami Hyypia, Djimi Traore, Luis Garcia, Xabi Alonso, Steven Gerrard, John Arne Riise, Harry Kewell, Milan Baros. Vladimir Smicer, Dietmar Hamann, and Djibril Cisse went in eventually replacing injured Harry Kewell, Steve Finnan, and Milan Baros respectively.

Jerzy Dudek will always be remembered for being the hero of the Istanbul game. He did more than just saving a couple penalties in the shoot-out. Dudek kept Liverpool alive in the extra time by denying Shevchenko twice from close range.

That was probably the peak of his career. Jose Reina came in the summer and became Liverpool's new first choice goalkeeper immediately and Dudek left two seasons later to Real Madrid. Being the second choice behind Iker Casillas in Santiago Bernabeu limits his appearances to only eight so far.

Steve Finnan had a quiet night in Istanbul and was substituted out at half-time in order to push more men forward.

Finnan left Anfield last summer to Espanyol where Albert Riera came on the other way.

Djimi Traore thought his career in Liverpool was over after scoring an own goal in the defeat to Burnley in January 2005. He started in Istanbul as a left back but played as one of the three centre backs in the second half. Fearlessly threw himself into challenges that night and it was probably one of the best performances in his career.

The Mali defender stayed for another season before moving on to Charlton in summer 2006. After a year's spell there, he was snapped by Portsmouth and over the past two seasons, he has been loaned out to Rennes and Birmingham.

Luis Garcia was Liverpool's top scorer in Champions League 2004-05 campaign. Didn't find the net in the six-goal thriller but nevertheless he was the man that booked the ticket to Istanbul after scoring the only goal in both legs against Chelsea.

Luis Garcia remained as an important member of Liverpool after that night, he played many games and scored many crucial goals. He was sold to Atletico Madrid in summer 2007 as a part of the deal that saw Fernando Torres coming to Anfield.

John Arne Riise was superb down the left flank against Milan in 2005 and made an assist. His cross was headed in by Steven Gerrard to narrow down the deficit. Unfortunately, Riise's penalty was blocked by Dida in the shoot-out.

Riise remained as a regular starter and had a respectable role in the team. He scored a last minute own goal against Chelsea in Champions League semifinal at Anfield. Not long after that, he was signed by AS Roma in summer 2008.

Harry Kewell had just returned from injury not long before the Istanbul game. He made a rare start but was forced out halfway through the first half due to torn adductor muscle. He is still the only Australian to have won the Champions League.

His next few seasons were pretty disappointing as well, he spent more time nursing his injury than on the pitch. In summer 2008, he turned down a contract by Liverpool and moved to Galatasaray on a free transfer.

Milan Baros was energetic as usual in Istanbul. He was quite a threat to Milan defenders and made a few decent shots. Baros was taken off late in the second half to make way for Djibril Cisse.

Baros left for Aston Villa right after that and never looked back. He spent two seasons there and was traded to Lyon for John Carew. After half a season, he was loaned to Portsmouth for the rest of the season. In summer 2008, Milan Baros moved to Galatasaray for a fee around €5.5m and reunited with former teammate Harry Kewell.

Vladimir Smicer started the match in Istanbul from the bench. However, he didn't have to wait too long before being substituted in for injured Harry Kewell. He scored Liverpool's second that night, a beautiful 20-yard drilling to the unreachable bottom left corner. He scored his penalty in the shootout to mark a perfect night for him.

That was also Smicer's last competitive match in Liverpool's outfit. He moved on to Bordeaux and after two seasons in summer 2007, Smicer went back to Czech Republic and signed for Slavia Prague.

Dietmar Hamann started from the bench as well and was substituted in at half time for Steve Finnan when Liverpool desperately needed goals. His presence allowed skier Gerrard to push forward and the substitution worked positively. Hamann converted in his penalty calmly in the shoot out as well.

The arrival of Momo Sissoko prevented Hamann from playing regularly and he left in summer 2006, signing for Manchester City. He has made a respectable amount of 54 appearances so far.

Djibril Cisse was among the substitutes as well in the Istanbul night having just recovered from a serious leg-break in the beginning of the season. He went into the game late in the second half but despite not doing much, his fresh leg runs troubled his opposition a little. He netted his penalty in the shootout as well.

Cisse suffered another serious injury in an international friendly ahead of World Cup 2006. He was loaned out to Marseille that season and in summer 2007, Marseille made the deal permanent. In summer 2008, Cisse made a surprise comeback to the Premiership just before the transfer window closed after Sunderland agreeing a loan deal for the French striker.

Wherever the heroes of Istanbul are, they will always be remembered.


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