Dalglish says reports have 'exonerated' Liverpool fans for Champions League final chaos

By Sports Desk May 29, 2022

Liverpool great Kenny Dalglish believes media reporting of crowd problems at the delayed Champions League final has "totally exonerated" Reds fans.

The showpiece match, which Real Madrid won 1-0 at the Stade de France on Saturday, had its start twice as UEFA pushed back the kick-off time.

European football's governing body initially moved the start back by 15 minutes after citing "security reasons" for the hold-up.

The two teams returned for a second warm-up at 21:05 local time before the match finally started at 21:36 – 36 minutes later than planned – after a second delay.

Liverpool fans complained of heavy-handed policing outside the stadium, suggesting tear gas or pepper spray had been used on supporters. A number of British-based journalists reported first-hand accounts of witnessing poor organisation and inappropriate behaviour outside the stadium by French authorities.

The Premier League club subsequently requested a formal investigation, while UEFA blamed the delays on fans trying to use "fake tickets" to gain entry.

French interior minister Gerald Darmanin also claimed "thousands" of Reds fans had tried to use counterfeit tickets or attempted to force entry to the stadium.

Liverpool fan group Spirit of Shankly accused UEFA of "shambolic mismanagement", and Dalglish followed suit by defending the Reds supporters.

"I think the fans are totally exonerated if you read all the press reports, and I think the French authorities should be a bit embarrassed with the way they behaved," Dalglish told Sky Sports.

"If it's normal, then fine, but our fans never behaved anything other than supportive of the football club."

Some supporters suggested the problems in the French capital were reminiscent of Hillsborough, scene of the tragedy when 97 people died after a crush developed in the Leppings Lane end at the 1989 FA Cup semi-final.

Dalglish refused to compare the events in France to the disaster at the match between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest at Sheffield Wednesday's home stadium, but he condemned the problems in Paris.

"If that's how bad it was, that tells you how sad it must be, but I think it's wrong to compare Hillsborough with anything else," he added.

Related items

  • Madrid ready to adapt if Asensio and Ceballos leave – Ancelotti Madrid ready to adapt if Asensio and Ceballos leave – Ancelotti

    Carlo Ancelotti hopes Marco Asensio and Dani Ceballos stay at Real Madrid but says Los Blancos will "adapt" if they decide to move on.

    Winger Asensio and midfielder Ceballos are in the final year of their contracts with the European and LaLiga champions.

    Asensio has been linked with the likes of Liverpool and Manchester United, while Ceballos is reportedly a target for his former club Real Betis.

    Madrid boss Ancelotti knows there are no guarantees the duo will still be at the Santiago Bernabeu when the transfer window closes on September 1.

    The Italian told reporters on Saturday: "They are here and working fine. Each one can comment on their future, but I focus on the squad I have with both.

    "Until the 31st, it is like that. If something changes in their heads, we will adapt."

    The champions start the defence of their LaLiga title at Almeria on Sunday, and Ancelotti is as hungry as ever for more trophies after a magnificent 2021-22 season.

    "I have always said that I am passionate about this game," he said. "I'm working for the best club in the world, and that's where the motivation comes from.

    "I wake up in the morning, I enjoy my day, and I'm enjoying my life here at Real Madrid. I know it won't be forever, but there's still a hunger, and I'm delighted to be the manager of Real Madrid."

    Madrid face a hectic schedule ahead of the World Cup, but Ancelotti expects the bigger challenges to come after the tournament in Qatar.

    He said: "Until the World Cup, we won't have many problems. The players will want to go in good condition, and they will prepare well, enjoying the games beforehand. 

    "The big question we have is after the World Cup: how the players will return? After the World Cup, they usually go on vacation, and this year, they will return to enter the important moment of the season. 

    "You have to assess fatigue, think about giving rest... These are things that we doubt today."

  • Now or never for Benzema with Ballon d'Or, but he has Mbappe's backing Now or never for Benzema with Ballon d'Or, but he has Mbappe's backing

    Kylian Mbappe suggests Karim Benzema would have to "stop thinking about the Ballon d'Or forever" if he did not win the top individual award this year.

    Benzema is the favourite among the 30 Ballon d'Or nominees announced by France Football on Friday.

    The announcement marked the end of an era, with last year's winner Lionel Messi absent from the shortlist for the first time since 2005.

    Mbappe is at the forefront of the next generation of contenders, and he told France Football he would put himself on the 2022 podium alongside Benzema and Sadio Mane.

    But the forward's France team-mate Benzema is clearly a deserving winner, having inspired Real Madrid to LaLiga and Champions League glory.

    Indeed, Mbappe feels Benzema will never take home the Ballon d'Or if this is not his year.

    "Of course. He is 34 years old, has just made the season of his life, wins another Champions League by often being decisive," the Paris Saint-Germain striker told France Football.

    "Instead of Karim, if I don't win there [in that position], I stop thinking about the Ballon d'Or forever."

    It has been a fine week for Benzema, who surpassed Raul as Madrid's outright second-highest goalscorer in a midweek Super Cup win over Eintracht Frankfurt, while he was shortlisted for the UEFA Men's Player of the Year award ahead of his Ballon d'Or nomination.

    But prior to the match in Helsinki, Benzema said: "I'm not like that in terms of whether I'm the best or not. I always give my all for this club, the best club in the world.

    "I have to give more and more every year. It's true I had a very good season, but other people can comment on if I'm the best in the world. I'm focused on helping my team in matches, that's all I can say.

    "I'm not thinking about [the Ballon d'Or]; there's trophies to win every year, that's very important. I always stress the importance of success for the team that leads to individual success."

    After Madrid's victory, Los Blancos coach Carlo Ancelotti said there was "no doubt" that Benzema was the world's best player.

  • Barcelona midfielder Nico completes Valencia loan move Barcelona midfielder Nico completes Valencia loan move

    Barcelona midfielder Nico Gonzalez has completed a season-long loan move to LaLiga rivals Valencia.

    The 20-year-old broke into Barca's first team last season, scoring two goals and providing as many assists in 37 appearances.

    With Franck Kessie among the Blaugrana's new signings and Manchester City midfielder Bernardo Silva reportedly a target, Nico informed Xavi he wanted to move on in order to be given more playing time.

    Valencia on Saturday confirmed Nico will spend the 2022-23 campaign at the Mestalla Stadium.

    Barca's head coach Xavi on Friday stated that he had mixed feelings over Nico's temporary switch.

    He said: "[Nico] came to me three weeks ago. I insisted that he continue because he would have minutes. I like Nico.

    "But a few days ago he came back and told me that there was a team where he would play. He has been brave and is going to Valencia.

    "I hope he comes back more mature because it must be important for the future of Barca. For the midfield we have [Sergio] Busquets, [Miralem] Pjanic, Kessie, Frenkie [de Jong], Sergi Roberto, and even [Andreas] Christensen, who can play there."

    Valencia start their season at home to newly promoted Girona on Sunday, while Barca face Rayo Vallecano on Saturday.

© 2022 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.