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European Cup 1999

Two goals in injury time gave Manchester United their historic Treble last night and manager Alex Ferguson the greatest moment of his life. Substitutes Teddy Sheringham and Ole Gunnar Solksjaer were the heroes as United beat Bayern Munich 2-1 in the Champions League final after trailing from the sixth minute. While United celebrated their astonishing victory, Ferguson tried to put into words what had happened. With his winner's medal strung on silk around his neck he declared:'I'm proud of my players, I'm proud of my family, I'm proud of my heritage and what has been achieved. This is the greatest moment of my life.'

European Champions

He declared that somebody up there must like him and his team - and that person was Sir Matt Busby the founder of the United legend. Ferguson said: 'It was so fitting that this day would have been the 90th birthday of Sir Matt. He will have been up there looking down on us and I think he'll have been doing a lot of kicking up there. 'He added: 'When I ran on to the pitch at the end I didn't really say anything to any of them. I just hugged and kissed them. I was slobbering all over them because you can't top that. It's the pinnacle. 'Before Teddy scored, I was starting to adjust my mind to losing the game. I was reminding myself to keep my dignity and to accept that this was not going to be our year after all. 'When it went to 1-1, Steve McClaren said to me we should regroup 4-4-2 for extra-time but I said: "This game isn't finished". And it wasn't. 'Then it all changed. It was incredible. We rode our luck when they hit the woodwork, I know, but I still say we deserved to win because we were the ones who kept trying to play attacking football while after Bayern scored they tried to lock the game up and that can be dangerous. 'I just felt that Sheringham and Solskjaer are always liable to score goals when they come on fresh. OK, it was fortunate but it doesn't matter how the goals are scored because that's what their job is. They are terrific substitutes.'

As United gathered together for yet another victory photograph, Ferguson walked over and took Roy Keane by the arm so he could be included. Keane, like Paul Scholas, missed the final through suspension and Ferguson said:'l saw Roy wandering around and he looked gutted. He was trying to be cheerful but no-one would want to be missing on a night like this. 'What is perhaps best of all is that the whole team embraced my concept of how I believe football should be played. 'I still can't quite take all this in. I just want to relish the evening and let it all sink in and try to understand what happened out there.'

Peter Schmeichel, who ended his career as a United player by captaining the side to their greatest triumph said: 'Not even Hans Christian Andersen could have written a fairytale like that. 0f course you believe you have a chance until the final whistle and I never stopped believing we had a chance - although I admit it was not much of one. 'Ferguson said:'Peter couldn't be going out in a better way. We'll miss him of course because he is the greatest goalkeeper we've ever had but this was not down to just him nor was it about one man tonight. 'Peter knows that. This was about every player end every member of my staff and I am proud of every one of them. I don't think we can ever top this.'

Bayern coach Ottmar Hitzfeld was understandably devastated and even after the final whistle he was struggling to come to terms with what had happened. 'I feel so sorry for my team because they were so close to winning this match but they have lost,' he said. 'It's really difficult to digest and this is inconceivable for us but then this is what football is all about. 'It could take days or even weeks to recover from this but I must say that Manchester are great champions.'

Franz Beckenbauer, the Bayern president, said:'lt was a cruel defeat. We came so close. It is the most unfortunate defeat I have ever experienced.' Bayern veteran Lothar Matthaus said: 'It was not the best team that won but the luckiest.'

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