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'It's history and we're still talking about it' - Paulo Sousa on winning the Champions League back-to-back

'It's history and we're still talking about it' - Paulo Sousa on winning the Champions League back-to-back

Bongarts

The former Portugal midfielder claimed the competition with Juventus in 1996 and Borussia Dortmund in 1997, an achievement matched only by Samuel Eto'o.

Paulo Sousa says he is proud to have made history by winning the Champions League in consecutive seasons with different clubs - a feat matched only by Samuel Eto'o.

No club has ever managed to retain the title since AC Milan won the old European Cup back in 1989 and 1990, but Sousa lifted the Champions League trophy with Juventus in 1996 and then at Dortmund a year later.

"It felt really good, but it’s always a dream for a professional footballer to reach that level," he said. "The recognition I gained after one season to play in such a final and to win, and to win it twice. It’s history and we are still talking about that, it’s one of the greatest experiences a player can achieve."

Sousa, who later played for Inter, Parma, Panathinaikos and Espanyol and won 51 caps for Portugal, later saw Eto'o match his achievement with wins for Barcelona in 2009 and Inter the following season.

"Great players, they deserve these kinds of things," he said of the Cameroonian striker. "He’s a player, always with lots of character, always keeps in shape, he’s a hard worker, technically good, he has played in different countries, with different clubs, and he’s always performing. For that he deserves all this credit."

The 43-year-old, currently coach of Maccabi Tel Aviv in Israel, says playing for Juventus and winning back-to-back Champions League titles were two of the highlights of his playing career.

"I cannot forget about the two Champions Leagues," he said. "It was amazing and it made me proud. Arriving in Italy to play for Juventus, who after nine years without winning the league, winning the league and becoming an important player in that season, that was special too."

And of the players he played against, Sousa cites former Juventus team-mate Zinedine Zidane as the finest he faced.

"Zinedine Zidane: great player, great person. He was technically amazing, physically amazing, always right there in the key moments. There was lots of personality in his football, final passes, goals, headers, left, right foot.

"He was the most complete player I played against."

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