The UEFA Champions League final referee Nicola Rizzoli has admitted to crying after the game between Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund. The Bavarians triumphed 2-1 at Wembley to seal their fifth European title and the Italian referee has revealed his emotions. “It happened after the game”, the 41-year-old told La Gazzetta dello Sport. “I was alone, I looked at the stadium and all the fans cheering, even Dortmund's. The match was calm and the players were really fair helping me to fade from the spotlight; I only whistled 17 fouls. After the match, I was moved to tears. I thought I had done well, but I wanted to wait for Collina's judgement. If I had done something wrong, I would have been disappointed and, because I grew up with Collina, it would have been even harder. So, when he entered the dressing room, I held my breath. He looked at me for a couple of seconds and there was silence. Then he said: well done, well done, everyone!”
- You have frequently applied the advantage.
- Stopping an action is often a pity; football is nice especially when it’s fluent, without interruptions. A referee has not always this chance, but in this match I noticed that it was possible.
- But why is it different in Serie A?- It’s a problem of culture. When Italian teams play in UEFA competitions, they also change their styles, focusing on the respect for the opponent. A player knows that a red card might lead to a suspension of several matches, so he is careful. There aren’t exaggerated complaints. Everything is easy.
- Are you saying that a UCL final is easier than a Serie A match?- Yes, it’s true. Of course, we cannot compare the importance and the pressure of this final with other matches, even in Serie A, where I have more difficulties from a technical point of view.
- Other memories from “your” Wembley final?- At the end of the game, Robben told me: “You deserved this final and you were really good”. I am quite able to play football, but sometimes I envy those players; they are really champions. Robben, Schweinsteiger and Reus were my favourite players in this final.
- What was the most difficult decision in this match?- The penalty kick awarded to Borussia; even thogh it can appear clear on TV, it wasn’t. I did not have a free view, Reus was obstructing me. I was able to understand the situation thank also to my experience.
- Klopp asked for the second yellow card to Dante.- To be honest, he congratulated me. Anyway, I understand that we can discuss about this situation. It appeared to me as an unintentional foul. It was negligence by Dante and, according to the rules, this is not a yellow card. You must issue a second yellow card only when you are really sure. Some people say that when you whistle a penalty, the card is mandatory. It is a stupid and false sentence. Furthermore, the action did not appear to me as a promising attack for Borussia.
- What about the situation in the first half between Ribery and Lewandowski?- Yes, I could have booked them, but in those cases the referee must calm down the players, not exasperate them. It’s always a better choice. They immediately had a clarification and nothing happened. In the second half it was different; therefore, I cautioned Ribery and Grosskreutz.
- The first goal scored by Bayern was an excellent decision due to an onside position very difficult to see.- Yes, thank to this man here, near me. (Rizzoli points to his AR) Faverani: “I have to admit that I was lucky. I was focused on Mandzukic, he was in offside. Ribery decided to pass the ball to Robben, at first he also appeared to me offside, but I waited because I evaluated the speed of the action and I thought that he was in a regular position. And that was correct, I decided by intuition”.
- What are your next goals?- 200 matches in Serie A and the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.
- A long time has passed since you started as a referee.- Yes, and I would like to meet again a man who 25 years ago said to me: “You cannot referee; you are not able to do that. I know important people in our association (AIA) and will make you stop refereeing”.
Source: La Gazzetta dello Sport