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Remembering when Geoff Shreeves harvested Branislav Ivanovic’s soul live on Sky Sports

"You don't play the final."

Only now, after six years, are we able to fully digest this event.

In April 2012, Chelsea and Barcelona played out a thrilling Champions League semi-final second leg at the Nou Camp.

John Terry was sent off for inexplicably kneeing Alexis Sanchez in the back, Lionel Messi missed a penalty, and Fernando Torres made Gary Neville ejaculate live on air.

“Awwwuwuwuwuuguwooouoo” – Neville, 2012

AP:Associated Press
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“Awwwuwuwuwuuguwooouoo” – Neville, 2012

Then, just when you thought it couldn’t get any more entertaining, Geoff Shreeves banished an unsuspecting Serbian man to the shadow realm.

Branislav Ivanovic was immense on the night, but a 48th minute yellow card meant he incurred a suspension.

Pre-occupied with the task at hand, Chelsea’s intimidating defender failed to register that he would have to watch the final from the stands.

Enter Shreevesy.

Sky Sports’ Paxman seemed to take great joy in snatching Ivanonic’s lifelong ambition away from him.

There is much to discuss, but first, the evidence…

Where to begin?

The way he looks to Ashley Cole straight away is heartbreaking.

Seeking reassurance or clarification, Ivanovic is left to drown in a sea of despair, but what can Cole say? Shreeves is right.

And that’s the thing, it’s straight facts. Rules are rules.

“I’m so sorry, brother, I cannot help you now”

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“I’m so sorry, brother, I cannot help you now”

But it’s the ruthless delivery that makes this such an iconic moment.

The sweat on Ivanovic’s forehead hasn’t even dried yet, adrenaline still courses through his veins.

He would have finished celebrating seconds before and BANG! Shreeves stalks in with his microphone like the grim reaper’s scythe.

Wiv da angels now and forever

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Wiv da angels now and forever

The first punch was a knockout blow.

But Shreeves cares not for mercy. He goes again: “You don’t play the final.”

Ivanovic’s sad exhalation, a forced laugh, fools nobody.

He is quite obviously devastated beyond belief.

His soul evaporates through his eyes as he musters all his Serbian stoicism to stop his tear ducts from bursting and showering Cole, Shreeves and the complicit cameraman.

Cant believe it. I wanna run to u. Really cant believe this. @

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Cant believe it. I wanna run to u. Really cant believe this. @

Having successfully harvested another life force, Shreeves merrily proceeds to ask the empty 6ft 1in shell about the difficulties of switching from right-back to centre-back following Terry’s dismissal.

But it’s no use.

Ivanovic is there in body but not in spirit.

Such was the savagery of this moment, UEFA later changed the rules so that yellow cards expired before the semi-final stage of the competition.

Shreevesy, dream-ender.

Onto the next one

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Onto the next one

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