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Crespo still going strong at Genoa

Hernán Crespo told uefa.com that he still finds AC Milan's 2005 UEFA Champions League final loss to Liverpool FC "hard to digest" but the 34-year-old is enjoying a new lease of life at Genoa CFC.

Hernán Crespo celebrates his goal against Lille on Matchday 4
Hernán Crespo celebrates his goal against Lille on Matchday 4 ©Getty Images

Hernán Crespo told uefa.com that he still finds AC Milan's 2005 UEFA Champions League final defeat by Liverpool FC "hard to digest" but is keen to find a measure of redemption with Genoa CFC in this season's UEFA Europa League.

Unlikely comeback
Crespo believes Genoa, third in Group B before Wednesday's encounter with bottom-placed SK Slavia Praha, are progressing well and could yet prove genuine contenders. In a distinguished career, the Argentinian won the competition in its previous guise as the UEFA Cup in 1999 when Parma FC defeated Olympique de Marseille 3-0. He has, however, tasted both the sweet and the sour in European competition, scoring twice in the 2005 UEFA Champions League final only for Milan to surrender a three-goal lead and lose to Liverpool on penalties.

Prague experience
"It is still very hard to digest, even today," said Crespo, a late substitute in Saturday's 3-0 derby victory against UC Sampdoria. "I felt very bad after playing one of the best games of my life and scoring two beautiful goals but still losing. But the pain I felt comes from the same source that has helped me come to terms with it. I gave my utmost, played my best-ever game; it was my destiny to lose." Crespo has plenty of experience in Prague having played Slavia's arch-rivals AC Sparta Praha four times in the UEFA Champions League, registering three draws and a victory with Parma and Chelsea FC.

'Something magnificent'
When he left after a frustrating last couple of seasons at FC Internazionale Milano in the summer it was difficult to map Crespo's future but, having already scored five goals in all competitions for his new employers, his hunger has clearly not abated. "Scoring is beautiful, it's a feeling and a moment which only football can give you," he added. "In those five seconds after you score, when you lift up your head and see how you've made everybody happy, it's magnificent. Who wouldn't like to give that feeling to so many people? It's what moves me and is where my passion comes from."

Slowly but surely
Even at 34, Crespo is keen that Genoa, sixth in Serie A, do not get ahead of themselves. "Ambition is good and trying to grow is important but you must get the basics right," he continued. "Talking about winning the Europa League is too much but competing in it is an important experience. I like the format of this competition very much – it's similar to the Champions League and that's good."