Liverpool FC defender Jamie Carragher could not hide his disappointment as he discussed his team's defeat by AC Milan in the UEFA Champions League final though he magnanimously proclaimed AC Milan captain Paolo Maldini "one of the best players of his era".
The Liverpudlian heartbeat of Rafael Benítez's cosmopolitan side, Carragher told uefa.com: "It is outstanding what he has achieved at this level at his age. He is a world great, one of the best of his era. He has won the whole lot in his career, with five European [Champion Clubs'] Cups now. He will be remembered for a long time." Asked for his reaction to the 2-1 loss in Athens, Carragher was typically forthright: "I'm devastated, to be honest. We were in the same position as they are two years ago and it hurts. But I have great respect for Milan and they are a great side."
The England international also took responsibility for Filippo Inzaghi's opening goal, and would not agree that Milan had the luck on the night. The 29-year-old said: "I wouldn't say they were lucky. For the first goal, I should have cleared it better. I put Xabi [Alonso] under pressure and he fouled Kaká and they scored. There wasn't much in the game overall. It was pretty even in the first half, but to give away a goal just before half-time was a killer blow. We had a good chance in the second half with Stevie [Gerrard], but it wasn't to be."
Winger Jermaine Pennant also pinpointed the breakthrough goal as the crucial moment. He said: "We deserved more than we got. The first goal was cruel, a deflection right on the stroke of half-time. It was a killer. But we came back and Steven Gerrard had a chance and it might have been 1-1, but they were always going to be dangerous on the break." Asked what he had learned from his first term of UEFA Champions League football, the 24-year-old told uefa.com: "You have to take your chances in this game, especially against great teams. If you don't, they will score and then it's game over.
We maybe lacked a killer instinct. If we had that, maybe there would have been a different story."
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