It was a Europa League final that will not live long in the memory – well not for the quality on the pitch anyway.
Sevilla lifted the trophy for a record-extending seventh time as they beat Jose Mourinho’s Roma on penalties after a drab 1-1 draw in Budapest.
One perfect record had to fall with Mourinho having previously won all five of the European finals he had been in, and he was left throwing his losers medal to a child in the crowd as Sevilla celebrated.
“That’s what I did, I don’t want silver medals. I don’t keep silver medals, so I gave it away,” Mourinho said.
“I want to stay at Roma but my players deserve more, I deserve more. I don’t want to fight anymore for that. I’m tired of being a coach, a communicator, the club’s spokesperson.”
However, by the end, it was the behaviour of both teams and coaching staff that most people were talking about, with 13 yellows cards awarded, plus one for Mourinho.
The end to Mourinho’s perfect record – but what next?
Mourinho was bidding for a record sixth victory in a major European final that would have seen him eclipse legendary Italian coach Giovanni Trapattoni, who has won five major European trophies.
But after reaching back-to-back European finals his reputation appears to have been restored after damaging departures from both Manchester United and Tottenham.
The 60-year-old declined to comment on his future pre match but has been heavily linked with a move away from Rome this summer to a club that would likely hand him a considerably larger transfer budget than he has worked to in the Italian capital.
Despite having a contract until 2024, there is the thought he will move on in pursuit of a club who he could guide to a third Champions League success, with Paris St-Germain heavily rumoured to be interested,
Mourinho said: “My future? I am serious, I said a few months ago that if I had contact with any other club I would tell the owners, I would not do anything in secret.
“I spoke to the club in December when Portugal asked me, so far I haven’t spoken to anyone because there is no team I have spoken to.
“I’ve won five finals and I lost this one, but I’m coming back home proud again. The boys gave everything. We are all attached to the shirt, to our nature.
“We take things seriously and humbly, we work a lot. Everyone reacts in a different way: one cries, the other doesn’t. The truth is that we are all very sad, with or without crying. Great match, great final – intense, vibrant.”
‘Everyone is petrified of them’
Before the match Sevilla fans made a Tifo saying ‘this competition is ours’ – and they have a point.
The Spanish side who have won every Uefa Cup/Europa League final they have featured in, have now won the competition four times more than any club, with Inter Milan, Juventus, Liverpool and Atletico Madrid all on three successes.
Roma took the early advantage through Paolo Dybala’s placed opener but an equaliser via an own goal from Roma’s Gianluca Mancini was just reward for a dominant second-half display,
After two missed Roma penalties in the shootout, Gonzalo Montiel, who also scored the winning penalty for Argentina in the World Cup final against France, stepped forward to score the winner.
Former Scotland and Everton midfielder Don Hutchinson, speaking on BT Sport, said: “It is remarkable. It is like Real Madrid in the Champions League. Everyone is petrified to play them in Europe.”
This season’s achievement is even more remarkable considering manager Jose Luis Mendilibar was appointed in mid march with his side fighting against relegation from La Liga.
Since then, the 62-year-old has guided them to safety, and, in just his sixth European match as a manager, another Europa League success.
He said about his future: “Right now I don’t know if I’m going to renew or not and I don’t care.
“We’re going to enjoy it because it cost us enough….We came for what we came for and I think the job was well done.
I’m happy to be here, to have won for the club, which was having a hard time when we got here.”
Former Spain international Gaizka Mendieta, on BT Sport, said: “This is a great story. This was beyond their dreams. He came to keep the team in La Liga, they gained confidence and all of a sudden they win the Europa League.”
Hutchinson added: “This team were struggling in La Liga. The big difference between Roma and Sevilla was the quality they had. They dominated the game from 40 minutes and deserved it.”
One of the dirtiest European finals ever?
It was one of the least disciplined European finals in recent memory, with English referee Anthony Taylor and fourth official Michael Oliver deserving their post-match medals.
Both were surrounded by players and the benches with alarming regularity. In total 13 players were shown yellow cards, the most bookings in any Europa League game. Seven of them were to Roma players, a record for a final in a competition.
That does not count the booking for Roma boss Mourinho, who was constantly outside his technical area on the edge of the pitch.
Players and benches clashed regularly, with long waits for many injury stoppages. Three of the 13 players booked were on the bench – with two never even getting on the pitch.
There were more than 25 minutes of injury time across the four halves, with including Mourinho, two yellow cards for every shot on target.
Ex-Liverpool and Real Madrid midfielder Steve McManaman told BT Sport: “The behaviour and histrionics of both benches has been awful and I feel for the fourth official, Michael Oliver. He needed some ear muffs.
“It has been really ugly. In a final like this, we don’t need it. It has been really unsavoury.”
BBC Sport readers’ reactions were mixed.
Martha said: “Jose, hang you head in shame for this brand of football and allowing your players and staff to behave like this in a massive game. A disgusting advert for the children watching who will copy this at the weekend.”
But Dan thought: “Mourinho’s antics on the touchline are more entertaining than any team he’s put together in the last decade.”