After his presence in 2013 UEFA Champions League final, Italian official Nicola Rizzoli spoke with Italy's biggest sports newspaper, Gazzetta dello Sport, about his emotions and impressions collected at Wembley Stadium.
|Nicola Rizzoli urging Mario Mandzukic (c) wa.de|
Gazzetta: Tell us about your feelings during the match.
Rizzoli: There was a quite calm atmosphere. The players were really fair and they helped me to fade from the spotlight, I whistled only 17 fouls. After the final whistle, I cried, I was sure of having shown a good performance on the pitch, but I was waiting for Pierluigi Collina’s words. He came in my room and after a few seconds of silence, he said: “Good, Nicola, you were good along with your whole team. Now it’s time to celebrate and enjoy. You deserve that.“
Gazzetta: You have frequently given advantages.
Rizzoli: Stopping an action is often a pity: football is nice especially when it’s fluent, without interruptions. A referee has not always this chance, but in this match I noticed that it was possible.
Gazzetta: In serie A, it’s different.
Rizzoli: It’s a problem of culture. When our teams play in UEFA competitions, they also change their styles, focusing on the respect for the opponent. A player knows that a red card might mean several matches of ban, so he is careful. There aren’t exaggerated complaints. Everything is easy.
Gazzetta: Hearing your words, it seems that a CL final is easier than a serie A match.
Rizzoli: Yes, it’s true. Of course, we can’t compare the importance and the pressure of this final with other matches, nevertheless in serie A from a technical point of view, I have more difficulties.
Gazzetta: Other memories from “your” Wembley final?
Rizzoli: At the end of the game, Robben talked to me, saying: “You deserved this final, and you were really good.” I’m quite able to play football but sometimes I envy those players, they are really champions. Robben, Schweinsteiger and Reus were my favourite players in this final.
Gazzetta: The most difficult decision of the match?
Rizzoli: Penalty to Borussia Dortmund, even though it can appear clear on TV, it wasn’t. I had not a free view on the pitch, Reus was obstructing me. I was able to understand the situation also thanks to my experience.
Gazzetta: Klopp asked for a second YC to Dante.
Rizzoli: To be honest, he congratulated me. Anyway, I understand that we can discuss about this situation. It appeared to me as an unintentional foul. It was a negligence by Dante, and according to rules, this is not a YC. You must give the second YC only when you are really sure. Some people say that when you whistle a penalty, the card must be mandatory. Stupid and false sentence. Furthermore, the action didn’t appear to me as potentially important for Borussia Dortmund.
Gazzetta: What about the situation between Ribery and Lewandowski in the first half?
Rizzoli: Yes, I might have booked them, but in those cases the referees must calm down the players, not exasperating them. It’s a better choice. They immediately had a clarification and nothing happened. In second half it was different, therefore I booked Ribery and Großkreutz.
Gazzetta: The first goal scored by Bayern is an excellent call due to a very difficult onside position.
Rizzoli: Yes, thank to this man here close to me (Faverani).
Faverani: I have to admit that I was lucky. I was focused on Mandzukic, he was in an offside position. Ribery decided to pass the ball to Robben, at first he also appeared to be offside to me, but I waited because I evaluated the speed of the action, and I thought that he was in a regular position. And that was correct, I decided by intuition.
Gazzetta: Your next goals?
Rizzoli: 200 matches in serie A, and Brazil 2014.
Gazzetta: You are going to fly to Rio de Janeiro with Rocchi.
Rizzoli: Yes, we have a FIFA meeting on the road to WC 2014.
Gazzetta: A lot of time has passed since your first match as referee.
Rizzoli: Yes, and I would like to meet again a man who 25 years ago said to me: “You can’t referee, you are not able to do that. I know important people in our association (AIA). I will make you stop refereeing.”