24-goal Istanbul hero reveals what Rafa Benitez told him before coming on in 2005 Final

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Any excuse to look back on that famous night in Istanbul, right?

Former Liverpool striker Djibril Cisse has reflected on how confident he had been when Rafa Benitez asked which players were prepared to take a penalty in the decisive shootout of the 2005 Champions League Final.

The Frenchman also revealed the simple message Rafa Benitez gave him before he was sent on as a substitute with the scoreline at 3-3.

Speaking on Saturday morning’s Soccer AM, he said: “Simple words. Use your pace and try to win the game for us. Really basic. Yeah. I asked him to take a pen.”

“For me it was no pressure, no stress. Just take your penalty, do what you do best – scoring goals – and try to help your team as much as you can.”

“My story is a little bit unusual on the way to the final. Four months earlier I was on crutches trying to get fit for the next season, not to play Champions League football. I was so lucky and proud of everything I achieved to be there that night to help my team.”

“It was unexpected for me to be there in front of the amazing Liverpool fans and they had missed two penalties before I even took mine so if I miss, okay I miss, but it’s nothing big.”

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It’s worth remembering just how painfully unlucky Cisse was with injuries during his time at Anfield and how recurring setbacks stopped him from having an even greater impact.

He in fact only returned to action a month before the final against AC Milan having suffered a horrific injury six months earlier.

Cisse made 79 appearances for Liverpool and scored 24 goals, including a crucial strike in Liverpool’s remarkable FA Cup Final win over West Ham that saw the Reds pull one back to make it 2-1 before going on to win on penalties after some Steven Gerrard heroics.

He has since played for a host of clubs after leaving Merseyside in 2006 but recently announced his retirement from football.

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