EXCLUSIVE: Arsenal Invincible Sol Campbell remembers 2006 UEFA Champions League final

Arsenal's Sol Campbell celebrates his goal. Picture: Martin Rickett/PA Archive/PA Images

Arsenal's Sol Campbell celebrates his goal. Picture: Martin Rickett/PA Archive/PA Images - Credit: PA Archive/PA Images

Ahead of the Europa League final, Arsenal legend Sol Campbell spoke exclsively to Islington Gazette sports reporter Dan Mountney as he relived the 2006 UEFA Champions League final – the last time the Gunners played in a European final.

Arsenal players line up. Picture: Martin Rickett/PA Archive/PA Images

Arsenal players line up. Picture: Martin Rickett/PA Archive/PA Images - Credit: PA Archive/PA Images

Arsenal had reached the final without losing a game, beating the likes of Real Madrid and Juventus on route to Paris, with Campbell key as the Gunners set a new competition record by keeping 10 consecutive clean sheets.

However, they were up against a superb Barcelona side, and Arsene Wenger's men got off to the worst possible start when Jens Lehmann was sent off with just 18 minutes gone after he brought down Samuel Eto'o outside the box.

But, the Gunners kept battling away in their first ever Champions League final, and they were rewarded in the 37th minute when Campbell powered a header past Barca goalkeeper Victor Valdes from a Thierry Henry free-kick.

"That moment is exhilarating. So many things are going through your mind," recalled Campbell.

Arsenal's Sol Campbell scores the opening goal of the game. Picture: Nick Potts/PA Archive/PA Images

Arsenal's Sol Campbell scores the opening goal of the game. Picture: Nick Potts/PA Archive/PA Images - Credit: PA Archive/PA Images


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It was all to end in heartache for the Gunners though, as a quick-fire double from Eto'o and Brazilian full-back Juliano Belletti won the final for the Blaugrana.

Campbell believes that even with 10-men, Arsenal could have won the final had they taken their chances, and confessed that he feels his goal wasn't 'really worth it'.

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"For us, we missed the big chances on the day and that's key really," he said

"If we'd have stuck one of them away I don't think Barcelona would have come back from 2-0 down.

Arsenal's Sol Campbell celebrates his goal. Picture: Martin Rickett/PA Archive/PA Images

Arsenal's Sol Campbell celebrates his goal. Picture: Martin Rickett/PA Archive/PA Images - Credit: PA Archive/PA Images

"For me, I'd rather not score the goal and win the game, but that's just me. If you score but don't win the game, it's not really worth it in my mind."

Arsenal's Sol Campbell looks on as Barcelona's players celebrate victory. Picture: David Davies/PA A

Arsenal's Sol Campbell looks on as Barcelona's players celebrate victory. Picture: David Davies/PA Archive/PA Images - Credit: PA Archive/PA Images

Arsenal's Thierry Henry after Barcelona's victory. Picture: Martin Rickett/PA Archive/PA Images

Arsenal's Thierry Henry after Barcelona's victory. Picture: Martin Rickett/PA Archive/PA Images - Credit: PA Archive/PA Images

Arsenal's Thierry Henry. Picture: Nick Potts/PA Archive/PA Images

Arsenal's Thierry Henry. Picture: Nick Potts/PA Archive/PA Images - Credit: PA Archive/PA Images

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