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Olić and Inter the men of the moment

Published: Friday 30 April 2010, 14.23CET
After a week of semi-final deciders and record-breaking feats, UEFA.com settles back into its easy chair for a one-stop guide to thrilling highs and gut-churning lows of the last seven days.
Olić and Inter the men of the moment
Diego Milito, Iván Córdoba and Wesley Sneijder celebrate an epochal defeat at Camp Nou ©Getty Images

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Published: Friday 30 April 2010, 14.23CET

Olić and Inter the men of the moment

After a week of semi-final deciders and record-breaking feats, UEFA.com settles back into its easy chair for a one-stop guide to thrilling highs and gut-churning lows of the last seven days.

Player: Ivica Olić (FC Bayern München)
Olić suffered the disappointment of last-four elimination with Hamburger SV in the UEFA Cup 12 months ago and was on a one-man crusade to avoid a repeat at the Stade de Gerland, scoring all three goals as Bayern booked their place in the UEFA Champions League final. Asked whether he was in the form of his life, he replied: "Well, it looks like it, but I think my team are also in their best form; an attacker just has to play his part and score goals." A couple more in the decider against FC Internazionale Milano and he will finish the 2009/10 competition's top scorer.

Team: FC Internazionale Milano
A 1-0 loss is rarely something to celebrate, but that margin of defeat felt like a pulverising victory for Inter as they earned a 3-2 aggregate win against FC Barcelona. It was no mean defensive feat, given that they played for over an hour with ten men following Thiago Motta's dismissal. "Against Barcelona it's difficult enough when you have 11 men so when you do it with ten it's making history," said coach José Mourinho. "This is the best defeat of my life. It's a shame I couldn't have played: I would have been awful on the pitch but I would have sweat blood as my players did."

Goals: Gerard Piqué (FC Barcelona) & Mladen Petrić (Hamburger SV)
In the end, both would prove consolations but these goals deserved to win any game. You have to hand it to soon-to-be deposed European champions Barcelona; few strikers could muster the kind of Fred Astaire footwork that preceded Piqué's 84th-minute strike against Inter, let alone centre-backs. Hamburg, meanwhile, lost 2-1 to Fulham FC at Craven Cottage to miss out on a UEFA Europa League final at their own stadium having opened the scoring through Petrić's delicious free-kick. Sad, then, that the Croatian international was left to reflect on "the biggest disappointment of my career".

Quote: Sir Alex Ferguson (Manchester United FC)
"You'll be gone before I'm gone, don't you worry."
The veteran manager tells journalists he is not about to retire just yet.

Number: 53
World record total of domestic league titles Rangers FC have now won after they ended the Scottish Premier League race last Sunday.

Club stalwart: Noel Bailie (Linfield FC)
While Rangers claimed their 53rd title in Scotland, Linfield took their 49th in Northern Ireland. However, they have an apparent record-holder within their ranks, with 39-year-old captain Bailie making his 1,001st appearance in all competitions for the club in the Belfast side's 1-0 win against Cliftonville FC on Tuesday. Having made his debut in 1989, the iconic No11 is says he is not done yet – a man hewn from the same immovable rock as Sir Alex.

Young gun: Valērijs Šabala (JFK Olimps)
We are throwing this one open to you guys: on 23 April, Šabala scored his first goal in the Latvian Virsliga against Skonto FC at the age of 15 years and 193 days. We think it is a European record for the youngest scorer in a top-flight fixture, beating the mark set by AS Roma's Amedio Amadei back in 1936/37, when he was a long-in-the-tooth 15 years and 284 days old. Šabala has now set his sights on "one day being as good as my idols, Didier Drogba and Gonzalo Higuaín". If you know of a younger scorer, mail us at questions@uefa.ch.

Gift horse: Dario Šimić (NK Dinamo Zagreb)
Defender Šimić arguably settled his debt to the club which schooled him from the age of 12 when Inter paid €11m for his services in 1999, but while the 100-times capped Croatian international went on to shine for AC Milan and AS Monaco FC, he never forgot his roots. Now he has agreed to play one final season for Dinamo for free. "When they called me it took about ten seconds to make a decision," said the 34-year-old. "They made it possible for me to earn so much in my career so I don't need any money from them; that's my way of saying thank you."

Keep of the grass: Lev Strelkov (FC Sibir Novosibirsk)
Having qualified for the 2010/11 UEFA Europa League by merely making the Russian Cup final against FC Zenit St. Petersburg on 16 May final, Sibir – derived from their location in Siberia – are already plotting hopeful destinations. Club director Strelkov, it seems, has some unfinished business with Liverpool FC's security staff. "They owe me one," he joked. "When I visited the Anfield museum in 2004, I asked if I could walk out on to the pitch. They told me it was forbidden. I replied that they would be leading me out on to it one day."

Last chance to see: Roy Makaay (Feyenoord)
There were bigger names, but if you watched European football in the 2000s, it was hard to ignore Roy Makaay. The Dutch striker dazzled for RC Deportivo La Coruña and FC Bayern München, and scored the fastest UEFA Champions League goal, 10.2 seconds into Bayern's meeting with Real Madrid CF on 7 March 2007. Now 35, he has announced that the second leg of Feyenoord's Dutch Cup final against AFC Ajax on 6 May will be his last game. "My instinct and my body told me I have had enough," he said. "I'm certain I'll not make a comeback as a player – I am 1,000% sure." Das Phantom may soon be gone, but his spirit will linger on.

Last updated: 30/04/10 14.57CET

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