Playing in a Champions League final is probably the highlight of any players’ career. Going one better and actually winning the competition is the stuff dreams are made of.
You’d treasure that winners’ medal for the rest of your life, wouldn’t you?
But imagine the devastation if you were denied the opportunity to play in the biggest match of your career due to suspension. Now imagine the devastation if you were told that fact in a post-match interview by a certain Geoff Shreeves.
You probably know where we’re going with this…
We’re, of course, talking about the infamous post-match interview with Branislav Ivanovic.
Ivanovic had just played a crucial role in helping Chelsea draw 2-2 with Barcelona at the Camp Nou in their Champions League semi-final second leg to progress to the final 3-2 on aggregate.
However, during the match, he was booked for conceding a penalty which Lionel Messi ultimately missed.
Little did Ivanovic know at the time, that booking would mean he’d miss the final against Bayern Munich.
In fact, he didn’t even know after the final whistle as he conducted a post-match interview alongside Ashley Cole and Petr Cech.
It was left to Mr Shreeves to break the news.
“Branislav, can you clear one thing up, for us,” Shreeves asked. “Were you booked after the penalty?”
Ivanovic confirmed and Shreeves didn’t hesitate in breaking the Serbian’s heart.
“You know that means you’re out of the final now?”
Ivanovic was clearly confused and muttered: “I don’t know.”
Shreeves then went for the jugular.
“Unfortunately that means you don’t play in the final.”
Ivanovic looked close to tears as he repeated “Unfortunate.”
Cole looked on with concern as Ivanovic processed the information.
Take a look at the incredibly awkward moment below:
Recently, Ivanovic spoke about the moment Shreeves crushed his dream. However, the now West Brom defender admitted that it didn’t really sink in that he would be missing the final until he got back on the team coach.
"Honestly, I was in shock about the whole situation," he said. "Our coaching staff and Roberto Di Matteo [the manager] did not tell us before the game who was in the danger zone. When I got booked, after the game I was only thinking about the final.
"When Geoff surprised me, I wasn't even thinking in my head about the final, I was celebrating the semi-final and a big victory.
"I looked strange in that moment. Even when I got into the dressing room I was celebrating and happy. I realised probably on the bus when I calmed down and found out. I looked on my phone and I found I couldn't play in the final. But I don't have any problem with Geoff, I spoke with him and it was all right, I was fine."
Without Ivanovic, Chelsea went on to win the Champions League against Bayern in Munich thanks to Didier Drogba’s heroics.
A few years later, UEFA changed their suspension rules meaning the slate would be wiped clean after the quarter-finals. It meant the only way a player would be suspended for the final is if they were dismissed in the second leg of the semi-final - or handed a retrospective ban.
Ivanovic must wish those rules were in place in 2012.