Chelsea’s Christian Pulisic could barely contain himself after being informed that he was the first American to win the Champions League.
The US star came on in the 66th minute of the Blues’ 1-0 victory over their Premier League rivals Manchester City in Porto, and he almost put the gloss on the victory when he fired fired following a fast break.
Ultimately though, all Chelsea needed was Kai Havertz’s first half strike to confirm victory, with Pulisic left to reflect on his little slice of history.
“I’m just so proud. I’m so proud to be here,” the former Borussia Dortmund star, who used to play under Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel in the Bundesliga, told CBS Sports.
“It’s been a difficult road for me, and I couldn’t imagine winning the Champions League ever in my life, and now I’m here.
“It’s just crazy. I can’t explain it, it’s just incredible. I have no words. I’m so proud. I’ve been hugging my family and friends – I’m just so proud.”
Chelsea had been considered the underdogs for the game by many, but manager Tuchel managed to outwit City boss Pep Guardiola after the Catalan had named a surprising starting XI.
Guardiola opted to leave out holding midfielders Rodri and Fernandinho in the match, and the gamble didn’t pay off as the midfield area was largely controlled by Chelsea’s tireless N’Golo Kante.
“We were a bit surprised, I expected Fernandinho in the line-up to start,” said Tuchel after the game.
“He chose a very offensive line-up, a very technical line-up, it was very hard to steal the ball and recover the ball.
“Everything else we more or less expected.
“We expected that they wanted us to pin on the side, very, very wide.
“So it was very important that we stepped out with Azpi (Cesar Azpilicueta) and Toni (Antonio Rudiger) constantly out of the back five to support our midfield. It was important to stay in a block in our front five to avoid diagonal switch of play, this is what we tried to implement and follow.
“It was a strong bond, we were absolutely sure we had to play with a strong bond and genuine belief with what we did.
“Minute after minute we could grab some ball possession we could win more and more second balls and initiate some dangerous counter attacks which gave us confidence, and from then on it was a tough match until the end.”
Chelsea’s victory was the club’s second Champions League crown, following on from their victory over Bayern Munich in 2012.
Owner Roman Abramovich was in the stands in Porto to see the victory, and remarkably his meeting with Tuchel at full-time was the first time the pair have crossed paths since the German was appointed to replace club legend Frank Lampard in January.