“Tonight we were a team of heroes on a pitch where the heroes left blood,” he said. “This victory belongs to everyone: of those who played tonight and those who weren’t on the pitch, of the fans who suffered here at the Camp Nou and those who suffered in their homes. This page of history that we have written tonight is something to tell our grandchildren about, not the press. It’s an absolutely incredible day.
“This is our party and I want all the fans to come to the airport and wait for these boys, and I want them in Rome where we will play another final. I can imagine their joy because all of our fans know how hard it was tonight. It was hard with eleven men, let alone ten. This is the most beautiful defeat of my life, but this team deserved to draw 0-0.
“I have already won the Champions League, but winning today was even sweeter. I won that cup 3-0 and I already knew I was champion before the final whistle. It wasn’t the same today. I’m not a good player, but if I could have played I would have left blood on the pitch.”
Celebratory runs and shouts of joy. This was José Mourinho after De Bleeckere blowed for full time.
“Barcelona were expecting to win but they already had an enormous surprise at the Meazza,” said the Inter coach. “And when we saw certain phrases on T-shirts and other episodes, we knew our opponents were afraid. We would have won the game with eleven men, but we had to deal with the injury to Pandev, and thanks to the bravery of Chivu who was spectacular and prepared for the match in ten minutes. And then Thiago Motta was sent off. It was an incredible game.
“My joy is that this Inter has won against Chelsea and Barcelona and has a European dimension now, whether it wins the Champions League or not. The fans? I thought is was impossible to find an empathy like the one I built with the Chelsea fans but now I have found an even greater one with the Inter fans. Do I like Italian football more now? No. I respect everyone and everything, but I no longer like it. My future? For now my path goes to Rome, then Siena and then Madrid.”
The dream of all Inter fans came true thanks to a compact and solid team capable of avoiding provocations, including those of Lionel Messi. “Messi is Messi, an absolutely incredible talent from another galaxy,” said Mourinho. “But like his team-mates, he didn’t play with enough strength today.
“I can guarantee you one thing. Next year I will return to play at the Camp Nou. It always happens to me, but something will happen to me every time I go there. The red card for Thiago Motta I had in the past with Drogba. Unfortunately Thiago lost it a bit but I didn’t say anything to him. I preferred to use the interval to talk to my players.
“De Bleeckere’s refereeing? I don’t want to judge him. Before the game I said that when the referee’s job is much easier when the players help him. I think somebody didn’t follow this advice today…”