MILAN - Record-breaking Italian striker Filippo Inzaghi has spoken of his joy following the moment he scored his record 63rd goal in European competition against Celtic on Tuesday.
The AC Milan marksman's winner in the 1-0 Champions League win made sure Milan finished top of group D, and allowed Inzaghi to surpass German great Gerd Mueller as the all-time top goalscorer in European competition.
As with so many of his 62 previous strikes, Inzaghi's goal was laid on a plate for him after sterling work down the right from Brazilians Kaka and Cafu.
Inzaghi was in the right place at the right time and tapped home from five yards out before wheeling away to celebrate beating Mueller's goal tally of 62.
"It was a strange feeling, like inner peace," he told the Gazetta dello Sport. "In one moment I relived every one of my 62 previous goals, the training environment, hundreds of matches, the pain and the joy of this fabulous job which, frankly, for me is not a job but a passion.
"That's my only secret: the desire to run, to enjoy myself, to score, to cheer. I had a tear in my eye and I feel no shame. At 34 years of age I feel like a child: that's my strength."
Celtic needed a point to secure their passage to the next round for the second year in a row, but in the end it was Benfica's win at Shakhtar Donetsk that ensured the Scots' qualification.
As Milan achieved their aim of finishing top of the group, Inzaghi's winner brought back memories of his double strike at the Champions League final in Athens last year when AC Milan outclassed Liverpool 2-1.
"After the triumph in Athens, I couldn't have asked for anything more but fate gave me another incredible evening, and amazingly, this was in front of our own fans," he said. "I'm delighted to have beaten the record at the San Siro.
"I've had a difficult week with a fever and taking antibiotics and, at the end of it all, I had cramps.
"But I'm really so happy. Firstly I thought about my family, who have been through so many tough times with me when I was injured," he said. - Sapa-AFP