Chris Kirkland has told talkSPORT about the ‘bitterness’ he felt after missing out on Liverpool’s Champions League victory parade in 2005.
The former Reds goalkeeper joined ‘On the Sporting Couch’ for an open and honest discussion about his battle with depression and anxiety during his playing career.
Kirkland was Liverpool’s starting goalkeeper at the beginning of the 2004/05 season and played in four of Liverpool’s six group games in the Champions League.
However, he suffered a back injury in December which saw Jerzy Dudek take his place for the remainder of the season – the Pole eventually proving the hero with a number of key saves in the famous final against AC Milan, including two in the penalty shoot-out.
Kirkland’s involvement earlier on in the tournament meant he was due a winner’s medal though, and yet the sidelined goalkeeper did not receive one after the miracle in Istanbul.
What he was more upset about was missing out on experiencing the open-top bus parade in Liverpool, having to settle to watch it on TV after one of planes flying club staff home was delayed.
Speaking to talkSPORT, Kirkland explained: “Somebody took my medal.
“I don’t know who, apparently it was one of Rafa’s staff, but that’s not the biggest thing for me.
“Any footballer will tell you that when you don’t play in the final, you don’t really feel like you deserve a medal.
“But there were two planes that came back [from Istanbul] and obviously the parade was going to happen, and we got delayed for some reason on our plane.
“Rafa made the decision [to go on without the other players] and we missed the parade.
“That was harsh. We got home and we saw it all on TV.
“There was bitterness there.”
The full interview with Chris Kirkland will be broadcast at 5pm on Sunday 10 June on talkSPORT
‘On the Sporting Couch’, hosted by sports broadcaster and psychotherapist Gary Bloom, is a ground-breaking series of programmes that addresses mental health issues in sport. It features elite sportspeople who have been brave enough to undertake an on-air therapy session to talk candidly about their struggles.