Real Madrid and Sevilla will meet in Cardiff in the first European final of the season, aiming to lift the UEFA Super Cup. This trophy brings memories to Carlo Ancelotti, who has already won this title after beating the Andalusians.
It was in 2007, when he was managing AC Milan. However, Los Blancos manager surely remembers that day for what happened before the game, rather than for the match itself. Only three days before the final, Sevilla’s midfielder Antonio Puerta died of a heart attack during a La Liga game against Getafe.
Puerta’s death left Sevilla in dismay, and the players were unable to properly prepare the final against Milan. Tactless as they are, UEFA refused to postpone the match, so Sevilla players had to put their boots on after burying their team-mate.
On the other hand, Milan and Carlo Ancelotti told Sevilla they were at their complete disposal, and they would facilitate a postponement if the Spanish team requested it.
The match ended up being played at the date and time fixed by UEFA, on August 31st 2007, at 20.45. However, the atmosphere surrounding it was very atypical, without the usual joy of this kind of games. Both Milan and Sevilla wore Puerta’s name on their shirts as they entered the field, and kept a one-minute silence.
Sevilla took the lead shortly after the kickoff, thanks to a goal by Renato, who pointed to the sky dedicating the goal to Puerta. The Brazilian could have clinched the victory before half-time, but Alessandro Nesta saved his shot over the goal line.
The psychological blow of Puerta’s death affected Sevilla in the second half, and Milan took advantage of their rival’s lack of concentration. Inzaghi and Jankulovski completed the comeback, and Kaka sealed the victory scoring the final 3-1 in the last minutes.
Milan lifted the trophy, but it could be the first time in football history that the triumph was dedicated to a player from the opposite team: Antonio Puerta.
Carlo Ancelotti admitted in the press conference that the player’s death had also affected them: “What has happened in the last few days has created a unique atmosphere for this match. Obviously, Sevilla were more affected, but they played well, especially in the first half. We were able to overcome and do better in the second half. The team is solid and we were able to keep calm when we were losing the game.”