Rizzoli: “Refereeing the UCL final moved me to tears”

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