Daniele Massaro told uefa.com that AC Milan will beat Liverpool FC tonight after his "dreams came true" in helping the Rossoneri win the 1994 final in Athens.
Thirteen years ago Daniele Massaro was the hero of the UEFA Champions League final in Athens scoring two goals as AC Milan beat FC Barcelona 4-0. Now he is back in the Greek capital as Milan's public relations manager and hopes to see the Rossoneri emulating that triumph against Liverpool FC as he looks to celebrate his 46th birthday in style. Nicknamed 'Beep Beep' after the cartoon character Roadrunner for his pace, Massaro started his career as a right-back and finished it as a striker. He helped Milan to win the Scudetto four times and the European Cup twice during his eight-season spell, scoring 50 goals in 208 appearances. The former Italian international talked with uefa.com about the 1994 final and about this season's showpiece against Liverpool.
uefa.com: Tell us about your memories of 1994?
Daniele Massaro: As a boy I dreamt of wearing the shirt of a big team like Milan, and, of course, dreamt about scoring important goals. I did both that night - my dreams came true that night in Athens. We had a great party afterwards because we were not considered favourites. So it was a pleasant 'surprise', if you can call it that. We celebrated on the pitch, in the hotel and around the town with the fans.
uefa.com: Technically speaking, is this Milan team better than the class of 1994?
Massaro: It's difficult to say. Obviously the players are different, but the mentality is the same. I remember the first time I met [Milan president] Silvio Berlusconi and he told me we had to be the best in Italy, Europe and the world. That philosophy remains the same today. If you look at the results during the Berlusconi presidency, they are extraordinary. This is the third final in five seasons for Milan.
uefa.com: How would you judge this season's European campaign?
Massaro: Honestly, I've always thought that when you start badly you finish even worse but this club has once again proved to have the means to overcome all problems. Once we knew we had no chance of catching [FC] Internazionale [Milano] in the league we focused all our attention on Europe. If you watch Milan now and Milan a few months ago they are two completely different sides. The winter break in Malta improved the team both physically and mentally.
uefa.com: There is only doubt for tonight's lineup - whether Alberto Gilardino or Filippo Inzaghi will start. Who would you play?
Massaro: I think there will be a 'stafetta' ('a relay'). I'm quite sure Gilardino will start. He's very dynamic and I think it's better to start with a physically strong player. Inzaghi has not played much this season but in the last 20 metres he is lethal and could be very useful when the Liverpool defence gets tired.
uefa.com: Do you expect Liverpool to play a more defensive game than Manchester United FC?
Massaro: Manchester came to San Siro trying to play their own football but they left some space for Milan to exploit. I don't think Liverpool will make that mistake because they have a more European mentality thanks to their coach. I think they will start patiently and try to work out the best way to beat Milan. Milan will also have to do the same - play patiently without rushing forward. Compared to Manchester, Liverpool are more of a team - [Steven] Gerrard is their leader but the group overall is strong.
uefa.com: Your prediction?
Massaro: Can I talk like a Milan fan with a scarf and flag? 2-0 Milan.