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"I thought my heart was going to explode." Lionel Messi reveals that Andrés Iniesta's late goal against Chelsea FC in the UEFA Champions League semi-final second leg was just as exciting for his FC Barcelona team-mates as it was for the spectators. Manchester United FC star Cristiano Ronaldo is the man who will be trying to outgun the Argentina ace in the final in Rome on Wednesday, and he reveals in the latest issue of Champions, the official magazine of the UEFA Champions League, that he has been dreaming of the match.
Carrick and Xavi
Michael Carrick and Xavi Hernández are also on duty in Rome. The United and England man lets us in on a few tricks of the trade, while his Spanish counterpart discusses life at Barça under coach Josep Guardiola and the brilliance of striker Samuel Eto'o. Champions also profiles Guardiola, his ethos of good football and his Catalan pride.
Tactics and lineups
Champions is the best place to find out the latest on the tactical tussle that awaits the Stadio Olimpico. Discover the probable tactics and lineups of the two finalists, the stories behind the team crests and golden moments. As the final prepares to unfold in Italy, who better to chat to than Clarence Seedorf? The AC Milan star talks about his early days at AFC Ajax and his record in winning the UEFA Champions League with three separate clubs.
Hoeness – the story
Uli Hoeness has been at FC Bayern München for more than 30 years. The footballer-turned-administrator talks exclusively about his days as a player, financial management and off-field behaviour. UEFA President Michel Platini was at the peak of his powers in the 1980s with Juventus. Champions examines how the Frenchman conquered Italian football during that decade. "He was a Picasso," recalls Giovanni Trapattoni, his former coach at Juve.
Champions catches up with Club Atlético de Madrid winger Simão, while Viv Anderson, who won two European Champion Clubs' Cups with Nottingham Forest FC, shares the inside story on coach Brian Clough's unique management. UEFA Champions League referee Herbert Fandel tells us about his life as a top match official and pianist.
Elsewhere, we review every goal scored in the UEFA Champions League final – including Zinedine Zidane's fantastic volley for Real Madrid CF against Bayer 04 Leverkusen in Glasgow in 2002. The Dossier is dedicated to finals, the preparation that goes into them, the men who have shone in them and what it takes to win one. Add to this the mystery of football in India, Feyenoord's unexpected European triumph in 1970, the stars of tomorrow in Scouting Report and much, much more. Champions, the official magazine of the UEFA Champions League, is on sale on newsstands across Europe.
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