Jens Nowotny Recalls 2002 Champions League Final Against Real Madrid, Praises Iker Casillas’ Performance That Night

Akshay Surve
·2-min read

The 2002 UEFA Champions League final between Real Madrid and Bayer Leverkusen is famous for the iconic volley by Zinedine Zidane as the ball dropped from the sky and the Frenchman scored of the best goals in the competition's history. But the game was also a start of an alluring career of Spaniard Iker Casillas. And former Leverkusen defender Jens Nowotny who played in that game has hailed the performance of the Spanish goalkeeper and called him the deciding factor. Iker Casillas to Run for Spanish FA Presidency.

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Iker Casillas made an inspired substitute appearance in the 2002 UCL final when regular keeper Cesar went down injured in the 68th minute of the game. The 20-year-old stepped in and made a number of saves to preserve the Spanish giants’ lead. Speaking with Goal, Nowotny remembered Casillas’ performance on that night. ‘We were superior and made a great game,’ he said. Real Madrid and Italian Football Open Facilities to Fight Against COVID-19 Pandemic.

‘But that night Iker Casillas's star rose. He could have gone behind his goal and we would still have hit him!’ Nowotny added. The German side enjoyed a fairy tale run in the competition and almost went all the way but fell short in the summit clash. ‘We could keep up with the Galacticos’ said the defender.

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‘Not only with Real, that season we beat Barcelona and Juventus, we knocked Liverpool and Man Utd out of the competition. We had no reason to admire other players.’ Nowotny added. The former German international retired from the game in 2007. He represented Germany at two European Championships and one World Cup.