"We're in another final so how could we not be happy? It ended up being a very tough match but we deserved to win if you look at all the chances we created. We could have made things at lot easier for ourselves if we'd have scored earlier. Particularly if I had..."
Clarence Seedorf, AC Milan's legendary midfielder, had just scored the goal that sent his team into the final of Japan 2007, and yet he was still giving himself a hard time...
"We controlled the entire match," said the Dutchman as he relived the semi-final at the Yokohama International Stadium in an exclusive interview with FIFA.com. "You only have to look at the statistics to see the possession we had (60:40). We dominated our opponents but sometimes the ball just doesn't want to go in. We were unlucky on a few occasions, but we'll make do with the goal we got."
And what a goal it was: one which typified the match as a whole and illustrated AC Milan's strength and skill all in the space of a few seconds. Brazil star Kaka raced down the left wing before pulling the ball back for Seedorf in the middle, who slotted the ball home with his left foot (68'). At that moment, there was a mixture of joy and relief on the faces of Carlo Ancelotti's men. "We deserved to win but in a match like that, you can't be sure of anything. We had to be patient but be on our guard as well."
As most people expected, the Final of the 2007 FIFA Club World Cup on Sunday will see AC Milan face Argentina's Boca Juniors in a re-run of the 2003 Intercontinental (Toyota) Cup which the South Americans won on penalties.
"This is a big match and we're going to prepare for it in the right way. We always respect all of our opponents, but when it comes to Boca, some things are still fresh in the memory so we know exactly what we've got to do..." Revenge seems to be very much on the agenda for the Rossoneri.
Milan's number 10 will obviously play a major role in any success they have this weekend. Seedorf seems to be turning back the clock at the moment - he may have turned 31 but he is at the top of his game as he showed against the Urawa Red Diamonds. "I'm feeling in peak physical form - I seem to get better every day, and that's what's making the difference. I try to improve with each match and enjoy myself out on the pitch. This is an extremely important competition for us and this has given us extra motivation."
This can only be good news for AC Milan, who will need every advantage they can get on Sunday if they are to hoist aloft the FIFA Club World Cup trophy into the Tokyo night sky...