Seedorf accepts that to some extent his unique track record can be put down to being at the right club at the right time: “I have been lucky, I admit it, but luck is only part of it. You need a slice of luck to win the Champions League but you also need to be technically adept, to make the right decisions and most importantly, you need the right mentality. It wasn’t easy to leave Ajax aged 19, just as it wasn’t easy for me to leave Madrid and then Inter for Milan.”
Seedorf moved across the Italian city in 2002 and recently signed a contract extension with Milan until 2011. Last season’s campaign gave the player his fourth UEFA Champions League winner’s medal after victory in the final over Liverpool. His performances in the quarter-finals against Bayern Munich and in the semi-finals against Manchester United provided a masterclass in attacking midfield play, combining elusive movement “between the lines” of the opponents’ midfield and defence with an eye for goal. At the Allianz Arena and the San Siro he scored with powerful shots, but it was the goals he made for others that displayed the depth of Seedorf’s craft.
Against Bayern, Mr Champions League released striker Filippo Inzaghi with a delicate flick off the outside of his right boot that split the Munich defence. For Milan’s first against United, a shot by Kaka, Seedorf drifted off the shoulder of his marker towards the corner of the penalty area, pulling two defenders towards him, before cushioning a perfect header back into the space he had created for the Brazilian.