European Cup

Crvena Zvezda vs Milan

Match Worn Shirt

Bursac Milos

Did you Know?

This shirt was worn by Milos Bursac during the European Cup’s game between Crvena Zvezda and A.C. Milan which took place in Belgrade, “Rajko Mitić” Stadium also known as Marakana, on November 9th 1988. This game literally wrote an important page of football’s history. That AC Milan’s team is now known as ‘The Immortals’ after collecting 10 major honours in nine years, including three European Cups. They remain the last team to successfully defend that trophy. But their run of dominance in Europe was almost curtailed before it had begun. Arrigo Sacchi’s star-filled side found themselves facing defeat by Crvena Zvezda in this game of the second round of the 1988-89 European Cup. With half an hour of the second leg remaining, Sacchi’s men were 2-1 down on aggregate and reduced to 10 men after striker Pietro Paolo Virdis was sent off. The Serie A champions needed a saviour, and found one in unlikely circumstances as a thick fog enveloped the Crvena Zvezda Stadium, forcing referee Dieter Pauly to call the game off. “It was almost the end of the dream for Milan,” then Crvena Zvezda captain Dragan Stojkovic told BBC Sport. “After the game, Milan recognized they were very, very lucky. Maybe it was an act of God! Even today when I talk to Milan director Adriano Galliani he laughs about it and says ‘Thanks to the fog in Belgrade we became a big team!'”. The first round in Milan ended 1-1 and the second leg, on 9 November 1988, started badly for Milan as Dejan Savicevic, whose summer move to Red Star had been disrupted by a call-up for 12 months’ mandatory military service, smashed in an opener after another surging run from skipper Stojkovic. Virdis then saw red after a clash with Goran Juric to leave Sacchi’s side with 10 men just after half-time. “Milan were on their knees, but then everything happened very quickly. After 10 minutes of the second half the fog came in and, in one moment, suddenly it was invisible. The referee wanted to let us play but he had no choice, it was impossible. At half-time the visibility was fine, but minute by minute it got worse, First, I couldn’t see the stand. Then I couldn’t see the goal. Then I couldn’t see the penalty area. Then I couldn’t see the ball!” said Stojkovic. Referee Pauly had no option but to postpone the game in the 57th minute and hand Milan a lifeline. It was one they would take 24 hours later. The extra day’s rest allowed Sacchi to name another of his prize assets on the bench for the replay. With the fog fully cleared and the stadium again packed, Van Basten got the better of a static defence to head Milan ahead before Stojkovic replied, latching on to a pass from the tiring Savicevic to lash into the roof of the net. Gullit came on early in the second half but could not inspire Milan, with the game going on to penalties. Stojkovic scored from the spot but Savicevic missed as Milan won 4-2 in the shootout. After their scare in Belgrade, Milan went through the gears, destroying Real Madrid 6-1 in the semi-final before Gullit and Van Basten scored twice each to thrash Steaua Bucharest 4-0 in the final at the Nou Camp.

Things to Know:

This game was also remembered for former Milan player Roberto Donadoni’s incident, who came very close to be one of a handful of players to ever die on-field, in this match against Crvena Zvezda in Belgrade. He had his life saved only through the quick-thinking of Red Star’s physiotherapist, who broke his jaw to make a passage for oxygen to reach his lungs after he had suffered a bad foul and lay unconscious.

Things to Know:

Fudbalski Klub Crvena Zvezda, which translates into English as simply Red Star, is a Serbian professional football club based in Belgrade commonly known elsewhere as Red Star Belgrade, the major part of the Red Star multi-sport club. They are the only Serbian and Yugoslav club to have won the European Cup, having done so in 1991, and the only team to have won the Intercontinental Cup, also in 1991. With 30 national championships, 24 national cups, 2 national supercups and one league cup between Serbian and Yugoslav competitions, Red Star was the most successful club in Yugoslavia and finished first in the Yugoslav First League all-time table, and is the most successful club in Serbia. Since the 1991–92 season, Red Star’s best results are in the UEFA Champions League group stage and UEFA Europa League knockout phase. According to 2008 polls, Red Star Belgrade is the most popular football club in Serbia, with 48.2% of the population supporting them. They have many supporters in other former Yugoslav republics and in the Serbian diaspora. Their main rivals are fellow Belgrade side Partizan. The championship matches between these two clubs are known as The Eternal derby. According to the International Federation of Football History & Statistics’ list of the Top 200 European clubs of the 20th century, Red Star is the highest-ranked Serbian and ex-Yugoslavian club, sharing the 27th position on the list with Dutch club Feyenoord.