Champions League 2005 final: Liverpool's Istanbul team - where are they now?

Liverpool Istanbul Champions League 2005

The 2005 Champions League final between Liverpool and AC Milan is fondly remembered as one of the finest moments in the club’s history.

Liverpool went into the final knowing they were facing a far superior team that was stacked with elite European talent: Andrea Pirlo, Paolo Maldini, Cafu, Andriy Shevchenko, Clarence Seedorf and Kaka are just a few examples of the stunning players Liverpool faced in Istanbul.

It was a tough ask, to overcome such a formidable outfit. But no one could have predicted the Reds trailing 3-0 at half-time after being mauled for the opening 45 minutes.

Miraculously though, Liverpool came back from the brink. In an incredible turn of events that wouldn’t have been amiss in a Hollywood theatre, that very special Liverpool team pulled off the impossible – fighting back to draw 3-3 before winning the tie on penalties.

It’s a moment etched in history and the players involved won’t be forgotten in a hurry – so with that in mind, where are they now?

Where are Liverpool’s Istanbul team?

Jerzy Dudek

The Polish keeper’s iconic double save against Shevchenko in the final minutes of extra time just summed up the miracle of Istanbul. He also pulled off the crucial penalty save against the Ukrainian to give Liverpool the cup.

Despite his heroics, though, Pepe Reina became Liverpool’s number one the following season and Dudek eventually went to Real Madrid to act as back-up to Iker Casillas.

After hanging up his gloves in 2011, he then enjoyed a spell as a racing driver, although it was more an obsessive hobby rather than a full-time career.

“Motor racing was my passion before football,” Dudek told the LFC website. “I raced go-karts but of course that stopped when I became a professional footballer.

“It really is like a footballer’s life. You have the discipline, you have a mental coach and someone who’s analysing your performances… there are similarities between playing in goal and racing a car.”

Jerzy Dudek thwarted Andriy Shevchenko from the spot in Istanbul
Jerzy Dudek thwarted Andriy Shevchenko from the spot in Istanbul

Steve Finnan

Finnan left the club in 2008 and went on to have brief spells with both Espanyol and Portsmouth.

He then seemingly dropped off the face of the earth before a campaign from the Liverpool Echo in 2015 “Where’s Steve Finnan?” played a key role in hunting down the former right-back.

It turns out Finnan was running his own property business with his brother at the time.

Things soured between the brothers though due to mismanagement of funds after debts of £3.5 million were racked up by the business, per the Mirror.

Something which unfortunately led to Finnan listing his Champions League winners medal and signed match shirt for auction in 2020. Ouch.

Jamie Carragher

Not much needs saying here. Carragher went on to become Liverpool’s second highest appearance holder ever with 737 apps.

Now he’s a world renowned television pundit having forming an exceptional partnership with Gary Neville on Sky Sports.

Jamie Carragher
NEWCASTLE UPON TYNE, ENGLAND – APRIL 08: TV Pundit Jamie Carragher looks on during the Premier League match between Newcastle United and Wolverhampton Wanderers at St. James Park on April 08, 2022 in Newcastle upon Tyne, England. (Photo by Naomi Baker/Getty Images)

Sami Hyppia

The former Liverpool captain went into management after hanging up his boots and has took charge of Bayer Leverkusen, Brighton and FC Zurich.

Djimi Traore

Traore played for a host of clubs across the UK and France after leaving Liverpool, before then jumping across the pond to represent Seattle Sounders.

He stayed in America after his retirement in 2014 and now runs a football development academy.

Harry Kewell

Kewell was forced off through injury in the first half of the Istanbul final and his career never really picked up again after it.

The Australian moved to Galatasaray in 2008 and then went into coaching shortly after. He’s taken charge of Crawley, Notts Country, Oldham and Barnet.

Xabi Alonso

The Spaniard went from strength to strength after Liverpool’s Istanbul triumph, blossoming into a club legend and one of the greatest midfielders of his generation.

He then went to Real Madrid and Bayern Munich winning countless honours before going into management.

Nowadays you can find him running Real Sociedad’s B team.

UEFA Champions League Final - AC Milan v Liverpool
ISTANBUL, TURKEY – MAY 25: (Re-transmission of #52980075) Liverpool midfielder Xabi Alonso of Spain scores the third goal during the European Champions League final between Liverpool and AC Milan on May 25, 2005 at the Ataturk Olympic Stadium in Istanbul, Turkey. (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)

Steven Gerrard

There’s no going under the radar when it comes to Stevie G. Liverpool’s ultimate legend went to LA Galaxy in 2015 before making his way into coaching.

After winning the league with Rangers and breaking Celtics quest for 10 league titles in a row, he moved to Aston Villa, where he remains to this day.

John Arne Riise

Riise will always be remembered as one of Liverpool’s ultimate cult heroes. The Norwegian spent seven years at the club and cemented himself in fan’s hearts thanks to his vicious left foot that banged many a screamer.

After leaving Liverpool in 2008, Riise played for Roma and Fulham, amongst other spells with clubs in Greece, India and his homeland.

Liverpool Istanbul celebrations
LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND – MAY 26: Steven Gerrard (R) leads the celebrations with (L-R) Steve Finnan, Jerzy Dudek, Igor Biscan, Jamie Carragher, Dietmar Hamman and John Arne Riise during the homecoming victory parade through the streets of Liverpool on May 26, 2005 in Liverpool, England. Liverpool defeated AC Milan in a penalty shoot out 3-2 to win the UEFA Champions League final. (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)

Luis Garcia

If you follow Garcia on Instagram, you’ll know the Spaniard is still an avid Liverpool fan to this day.

He often enjoys taking his son to matches and recently played for Liverpool Legends in a game vs Manchester United.

Milan Baros

Kopites will remember the Czech striker for donning the number five jersey combined with an extravagant pair of golden Nike boots.

Baros only retired in 2020 so was the last player of the Istanbul bunch to play professionally. Nowadays he takes football less seriously playing for FK Vigantice, an amateur team in his home nation.

Dietmar Hamann

We all know Hamann went to Man City after leaving Liverpool but what on earth happened to him after that?

Well, he tried his hand at management, which in all honesty, ended awfully. He lasted just four months at Stockport in 2011 before going into punditry where he’s been ever since.

Vladimir Smicer

Smicer played for Bordeaux and Slavia Prague once he left the Reds and decided to call it a day in 2009.

In 2014 he unsuccessfully ran for a seat in European Parliament.

Djibril Cisse

The flamboyant Frenchman became quite the journeymen after leaving the Reds, playing across several nations amidst spells with QPR and Sunderland.

In 2020, he appeared on France’s version of the Masked Singer dressed as a skeleton and finished seventh.

Nowadays you can find Cisse managing in the Marseille youth set-up.

De Jong PRICE agreed (The Football Terrace):

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