Heysel memories a stimulus for Juventus in Champions League

By Phil McNultyChief football writer
Juventus supporters hold a banner reading "39 angels forever" outside the Gran Madre di Dio church in Turin
Juventus supporters hold a banner reading "39 angels forever" outside the Gran Madre di Dio church in Turin

Juventus want to mark the 30th anniversary of the Heysel Stadium tragedy by dedicating a Champions League final victory against Barcelona to the victims and their families.

Thirty-nine fans died when a wall collapsed at the 1985 European Cup Final in Brussels when crowd trouble culminated in a surge by Liverpool fans towards their Juventus counterparts.

Memorials were held in Turin and Liverpool on 29 May to commemorate the anniversary - and underdogs Juventus believe their first Champions League triumph since they beat Ajax in 1996 would be the perfect tribute.

Defender Leonardo Bonucci said in Berlin ahead of Saturday's final: "I went to the service to commemorate the victims last week and I think the memory of what happened there is a further stimulus for us because we are hoping we should be able to dedicate a victory to those who lost their lives that night."

Heysel Stadium disaster
The disaster occurred before the 1985 European Cup final between Juventus and Liverpool at Heysel Stadium in Brussels, Belgium.
Thirty-nine fans died and 600 were injured when a stadium wall collapsed after crowd trouble culminated in a surge by Liverpool supporters towards Juve fans.
Among those killed were 32 Italians, four Belgians, two French fans and one from Northern Ireland.
Fourteen Liverpool fans were found guilty of manslaughter and each jailed for three years.
It resulted in all English football clubs being banned from playing in Europe for five years.

The European Cup Final was played, despite the tragedy before the game, Juventus winning 1-0 through Michel Platini's penalty.

Coach Massimiliano Allegri, who is hoping to complete a treble in Berlin's Olimpiastadion after winning Serie A and the Italian Cup, added: "It is very important. Thirty years ago we saw a tragedy which is going to stay with us and has gone down in the history of football, so I think for Juventus, for Italian fans and for world football, this year is a year to be remembered."

He said: "We have to remember the victims and as I have said in previous press conferences we have to think about the families of the victims."

Juventus's veteran goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon admits Barcelona, inspired by the attacking triumverate of Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Neymar and aiming for their fourth Champions League win in 10 seasons, are overwhelming favourites but insists the Italians will not simply lie down for Luis Enrique's side.

Heysel disaster
The disaster happened after crowd disorder between Liverpool and Juventus fans at the 1985 European Cup final

He said: "They have great players with great skill as a team with players such as Messi, Suarez and Neymar and with Andes Iniesta playing in central midfield.

"Of course they are favourites but we are not whipping boys. When you play a team such as Juventus, with players such as Paul Pogba, Carlos Tevez, Bonucci, Claudio Marchisio and whoever, we are not just here as the designated scapegoat - we have a chance."

Buffon added: "Juventus have always had a reputation for great players, great champions with many trophies and that makes us aware of what we have to live up to. That is a great responsibility, to achieve something great."

Bonucci said: "It will be up all 11 of us to fight for every ball. We are not here to be the sacrificial lambs."

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