FULL LIST: Recent UEFA Champions League Winners


The UEFA Champions League trophy is displayed prior to the start of the UEFA Champions League final football match between Liverpool and Real Madrid at the Stade de France in Saint-Denis, north of Paris, on May 28, 2022. Paul ELLIS / AFP

 

Recent winners of the UEFA Champions League after Real Madrid beat Liverpool in the 2021-22 final in Paris on Saturday:

2021-22: Real Madrid (ESP)

2020-21: Chelsea (ENG)

2019-20: Bayern Munich (GER)

2018-19: Liverpool (ENG)

2017-18: Real Madrid (ESP)

2016-17: Real Madrid (ESP)

2015-16: Real Madrid (ESP)

2014-15: Barcelona (ESP)

2013-14: Real Madrid (ESP)

2012-13: Bayern Munich (GER)

2011-12: Chelsea (ENG)

2010-11: Barcelona (ESP)

2009-10: Inter Milan (ITA)

2008-09: Barcelona (ESP)

2007-08: Manchester United (ENG)

READ ALSO: Real Madrid Beat Liverpool To Win 2021/2022 Champions League

Most European Cup/Champions League wins per club

Real Madrid (ESP) — 14 (1956, 1957, 1958, 1959, 1960, 1966, 1998, 2000, 2002, 2014, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2022)

AC Milan (ITA) — 7 (1963, 1969, 1989, 1990, 1994, 2003, 2007)

Liverpool (ENG) — 6 (1977, 1978, 1981, 1984, 2005, 2019)

Bayern Munich (GER) — 6 (1974, 1975, 1976, 2001, 2013, 2020)

Barcelona (ESP) — 5 (1992, 2006, 2009, 2011, 2015)

Ajax (NED) — 4 (1971, 1972, 1973, 1995)

 

AFP

Tens Of Thousands Of Liverpool Fans Turn Paris Red

A Liverpool FC’s supporter walks past a Liverpool FC’s banner in Paris on May 28, 2022, prior to the Champions League football match final between Liverpool FC and Real Madrid. (Photo by Geoffroy Van der Hasselt / AFP)

 

 

 

Up to 60,000 Liverpool supporters, most without tickets, thronged Paris on Saturday, turning avenues and cafe terraces red in their team’s colours ahead of the Champions League final against Real Madrid.

With each club allocated space for just 20,000 supporters in the Stade de France, tens of thousands of the travelling fans were without tickets.

The atmosphere was more of that of a festival with only around a dozen arrests for minor infractions.

The ticketless red-shirted Liverpool supporters packed into a fanzone — with a capacity for 44,000 fans — set up in the east of the city where the match will be shown on giant screens later.

They jumped up and down, chanting: “Allez, Allez, we’ve conquered all of Europe, from Paris down to Turkey.”

They were greeted to an appearance on stage by club legend Kenny Dalglish, who scored the winning goal in the 1978 final.

 

Liverpool FC’s supporters gather near a kebab restaurant in Paris on May 28, 2022, prior to the Champions League football match final between Liverpool FC and Real Madrid. (Photo by Geoffroy Van der Hasselt / AFP)

 

“What a wonderful way to finish the season, lifting the European Cup,” Dalglish told the crowd which stretched back along a tree-lined avenue.

Many of the supporters had travelled to France on Thursday.

“Look by yourself, we’ve taken over all of Paris!” Rohan Sood, 22, from London, told AFP.

He wasn’t going to let the absence of a ticket spoil his day.

“It’s a crazy atmosphere everywhere we go we see Reds. Even without tickets it’s worth it so much.”

“Sun, cold beers, all our friends, a nice big screen, what else do we need? Thank you Paris for the warm welcome,” said Henry Coyle, 52, a Liverpool fan from Belfast in Northern Ireland.

 

Liverpool FC’s supporters gather in Paris on May 28, 2022, prior to the Champions League football match final between Liverpool FC and Real Madrid. (Photo by Geoffroy Van der Hasselt / AFP)

 

There were tough decisions to be made for the Carter family, as only their eldest son had managed to obtain a ticket for the match.

His mother Lucy, a 47-year-old doctor, said her other child and her husband had come along anyway.

“For me the warm-up, all the songs is definitely the best part. I find the game too nervy for me!”, she said.

Lucy Betteridge, 15, gave a succinct assessment of the match ahead.

“Our biggest hope tonight is Tiago’s feet and what we fear the most are Benzema’s.”

 

Liverpool FC’s supporters gather in Paris on May 28, 2022, prior to the Champions League football match final between Liverpool FC and Real Madrid. (Photo by Geoffroy Van der Hasselt / AFP)

 

– ‘A golden moon’ –
Richie Stuart from Liverpool and his friends had invested 125 euros ($134) in plastic buckets and bags of ice to keep 70 bottles of beer cold until the final whistle.

He said he was hoping that atmosphere remained good-natured as the day wore on.

“Fingers crossed, because the sun, the alcohol and a defeat, and it can turn very bad very quickly,” he said.

Tomas Piatraszkiewicz, 43, who lives in Bournemouth on England’s south coast, said he had no choice but to come to Paris once his beloved Reds had qualified for the final.

“I’ve always supported Liverpool, it’s a club with a spirit, there is a Liverpool way of doing things. We’re now in a golden moon with the club. Jurgen Klopp is the best manager in the world for me and a good person,” he said.

Ten kilometres away, supporters of Real Madrid were soaking up the pre-match atmosphere in a separate fanzone — with enough space for 6,000 — reserved for supporters of their team near the Stade de France.

Although they were a smaller group than Liverpool’s travelling army, they were just as enthusiastic.

Mariano Brasal, a 66-year-old retired baker, and his son Diego, 33, only arrived in Paris on Saturday morning.

They have happy memories of attending the 2017 final in Cardiff together when Real beat Juventus.

 

Former Liverpool Scottish football player Kenny Dalglish lays a wreath of flowers behind one of the goal, in front of Liverpool’s supporters, in memory of the 39 fans, who died at the Heysel stadium 37 years ago, prior to the start of the UEFA Champions League final football match between Liverpool and Real Madrid at the Stade de France in Saint-Denis, north of Paris, on May 28, 2022 (Photo by Paul ELLIS / AFP)

 

“I hope today it will be the same way,” Diego said. “I am very calm but maybe later when the match begins I’ll be nervous.”

Adelina Lete, who has supported Real for three decades, was overjoyed to be attending her third Champions League final.

She explained that during the season she drives her son 300 kilometres from their home in Navarre in northern Spain to watch Real’s home matches.

“It’s just my son and me today,” she said. She was hoping for a big game for her two favourite players, Karim Benzema and Luka Modric, “who always give everything for the team”.

Liverpool And Real Madrid Ready For Mouth-Watering Champions League Final

 

 

 

Liverpool and Real Madrid meet in the Champions League final in Paris on Saturday, with Jurgen Klopp’s side aiming to end the season with a trophy treble while the Spanish giants will look to Karim Benzema to inspire them to a 14th European Cup victory.

A crowd of 80,000 will be inside the Stade de France for the 9:00pm (1900 GMT) kickoff, as Liverpool and Real compete for European club football’s most prestigious prize for the second time in five years.

The final promises to be a fitting climax to the European season, with Liverpool looking to win a second Champions League in four seasons just days after they narrowly lost out to Manchester City in the Premier League title race.

They have already won the English League Cup and FA Cup.

“If you are a football person you know what my boys did so far this season was exceptional,” Klopp said on Friday.

“But we all know you are judged by the colour of the medal after a game.

“I’m more than happy and proud of what we did so far, it’s really special. I will feel better if we win the game and that’s all that I am concerned about,” Klopp added.

The German has been boosted by the news that Fabinho and Thiago Alcantara are fit to play.

Both start in midfield for the Reds, while Luis Diaz joins Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah in attack.

This final is only being played in Paris after Saint-Petersburg was stripped of the game following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Up to 60,000 Liverpool supporters have travelled to the French capital, most without tickets.

With only 20,000 supporters from each club allowed to attend the final, tens of thousands of Liverpool fans packed into a fanzone set up in the east of the city, turning a tree-lined avenue into a sea of red.

“Look by yourself, we’ve taken over all of Paris!” Rohan Sood, 22, from London, told AFP.

– Bitter memories of 2018 –
Liverpool can win their seventh European Cup, which would take them level with AC Milan and leave only Real with more victories.

The Anfield club have bitter memories of losing 3-1 to Real in Kyiv in 2018, when Salah went off injured in the first half following a challenge by the now-departed Sergio Ramos.

Gareth Bale scored twice for the Spaniards and errors by goalkeeper Loris Karius undermined Liverpool’s challenge.

Madrid are looking to win their fifth Champions League in nine seasons and, ominously, have won on all of their last seven final appearances.

While Liverpool saw off Inter Milan, Benfica and Villarreal in the knockout rounds, Carlo Ancelotti’s Real produced a series of memorable comebacks to beat Paris Saint-Germain, Chelsea and then Manchester City.

“It is a great success for all of us to be here. We know very well the demands at this club, the history, but for us to get here is huge,” said Ancelotti.

“We are convinced that the season has already been very, very good but now we are very close to getting the big one.”

– Eyes on Benzema –
Liverpool look to have the stronger side on paper, with Alisson in goal, Virgil van Dijk marshalling their defence and Salah and Mane leading their attack.

Yet Real are pinning their hopes on Benzema, the 34-year-old Frenchman who has 15 goals in the competition this season.

He has scored 44 times altogether this season to lead Real to the Spanish title and is the favourite to win the Ballon d’Or.

“He is for sure one of the best players in the world, probably the best forward in the world, and I’m sure the most underestimated player maybe in history,” UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin told AFP on Friday.

Ancelotti said of Benzema: “He has more personality and leadership on and off the field now but what has not changed is his quality and he remains as humble as ever.”

The only change to the Real team from their semi-final second leg against City is the return of David Alaba for Nacho Fernandez in central defence.

Ancelotti can become the first coach to win the Champions League four times, having also triumphed with AC Milan in 2003 and 2007 and with Madrid in his first spell in 2014 — he is currently level on three wins with Zinedine Zidane and Bob Paisley.

This will be the third final between the clubs, who also met in Paris in 1981, when the English side triumphed thanks to Alan Kennedy’s goal at the Parc des Princes.

Real Madrid Beat Liverpool To Win 2021/2022 Champions League

Real Madrid’s Brazilian defender Marcelo lifts the The Champions League trophy after Madrid ‘s victory in the UEFA Champions League final football match between Liverpool and Real Madrid at the Stade de France in Saint-Denis, north of Paris, on May 28, 2022. Paul ELLIS / AFP

 

Vinicius Junior scored the only goal of the game as Real Madrid beat Liverpool 1-0 in Saturday’s Champions League final in Paris to become kings of Europe for a record-extending 14th time after a night marred by problems outside the ground that led to the kick-off being delayed by over half an hour.

Brazilian winger Vinicius turned in Fede Valverde’s enticing low cross in the 59th minute at the Stade de France and Liverpool could not find an equaliser as Jurgen Klopp’s side lost to the Spanish giants in a Champions League final for the second time in five seasons.

The Anfield side will wonder what might have been had the outstanding Thibaut Courtois not pushed Sadio Mane’s shot onto the inside of a post when they were on top in the first half, as they fell short of a trophy treble.

Real Madrid's French striker Karim Benzema celebrates his team's victory of the UEFA Champions League final football match between Liverpool and Real Madrid at the Stade de France in Saint-Denis, north of Paris, on May 28, 2022. Anne-Christine POUJOULAT / AFP
Real Madrid’s French striker Karim Benzema celebrates his team’s victory of the UEFA Champions League final football match between Liverpool and Real Madrid at the Stade de France in Saint-Denis, north of Paris, on May 28, 2022. Anne-Christine POUJOULAT / AFP

 

Winners of the English League Cup and FA Cup this season, they just missed out to Manchester City for the Premier League title and were denied a victory here which would have put them level with AC Milan on seven European Cups.

Instead Real have a fifth Champions League in nine seasons to go with their Spanish title, as Carlo Ancelotti becomes the first coach to win European club football’s greatest prize for a fourth time.

Ancelotti was also in charge of Real when they won the 2014 final having also triumphed with AC Milan in 2003 and in 2007, the latter victory coming against Liverpool.

Delayed kick-off

The match kicked off 35 minutes later than the planned 9:00 pm (1900 GMT) start in the French capital after chaos at entrances to the stadium led to fans being unable to get to their seats.

UEFA said it was “sympathetic” towards those affected and put the huge build-ups of supporters at gates down to “thousands of fans who had purchased fake tickets which did not work in the turnstiles”.

Tear gas was also fired by police as a small number of people could be seen trying to scale fences around the perimeter of the groud.

The final was only moved to the French capital after Saint-Petersburg was stripped of the game following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February.

The delayed kick-off may have been responsible for the slow start to the game itself, as it took 16 minutes before there was an incident of note, Mohamed Salah turning a low Trent Alexander-Arnold cross towards goal only for Courtois to save.

Liverpool's Guinean midfielder Naby Keita (R) and Real Madrid's French midfielder Eduardo Camavinga vie for the ball during the UEFA Champions League final football match between Liverpool and Real Madrid at the Stade de France in Saint-Denis, north of Paris, on May 28, 2022. JAVIER SORIANO / AFP
Liverpool’s Guinean midfielder Naby Keita (R) and Real Madrid’s French midfielder Eduardo Camavinga vie for the ball during the UEFA Champions League final football match between Liverpool and Real Madrid at the Stade de France in Saint-Denis, north of Paris, on May 28, 2022.
JAVIER SORIANO / AFP

 

Liverpool were seen as favourites to avenge their loss to the Spanish giants in the 2018 final in Kyiv and they began to take control of the game.

Mane came agonisingly close to opening the scoring in the 21st minute as he skipped his way into a shooting position inside the box only for Courtois to tip his net-bound shot onto his right-hand post.

Klopp’s side, with Fabinho and Thiago Alcantara starting in midfield after overcoming fitness worries, were on top but could not turn their superiority into a lead.

Outstanding Courtois

Real, meanwhile, created almost nothing in the first half with Karim Benzema quiet, but their captain briefly thought he had got the breakthrough two minutes before the interval.

The Frenchman prodded home after the ball broke back to him inside the area but the offside flag was raised.

The decision to disallow the goal was upheld after a lengthy VAR check, despite Fabinho deflecting Valverde’s touch through to Benzema.

Yet Ancelotti’s side kept their nerve and were rewarded with the goal as the hour mark approached.

Real Madrid's Belgian goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois (C) makes a save during the UEFA Champions League final football match between Liverpool and Real Madrid at the Stade de France in Saint-Denis, north of Paris, on May 28, 2022. FRANCK FIFE / AFP
Real Madrid’s Belgian goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois (C) makes a save during the UEFA Champions League final football match between Liverpool and Real Madrid at the Stade de France in Saint-Denis, north of Paris, on May 28, 2022. FRANCK FIFE / AFP

 

Valverde drove forward down the right before firing a low ball across the face of goal for Vinicius to turn it in at the far post past his Brazilian national team colleague Alisson.

Just like in 2018, Real had drawn first blood, but this time there was no need for them to send on Gareth Bale in order to ensure victory.

Courtois was superb, flying to his right to keep out a Salah curler before two saves in quick succession late on.

First the Belgian got down low when substitute Diogo Jota deflected Salah’s effort towards goal, and then he produced a strong arm to turn a Salah strike behind.

It was Real Madrid’s night.

 

AFP

Klopp Urges Liverpool To Show Madrid Who’s Boss In Champions League Final

In this file photo, Liverpool’s German manager Jurgen Klopp gestures on the touchline during the English League Cup semi-final first leg football match between Liverpool and Arsenal at Anfield in Liverpool, north west England on January 13, 2022. Paul ELLIS / AFP

 

Jurgen Klopp wants Liverpool to show they can more than match Real Madrid as the European giants collide in a Champions League final on Saturday for the second time in five seasons.

Real were too strong when the sides meet in Kyiv in 2018, but Klopp’s men bounced back to become European champions a year later and are now in their third final under the German.

Liverpool will join AC Milan as the second most successful club in European Cup history with seven titles if they lift the trophy at the Stade de France.

Madrid are well out in front as the kings of Europe with 13 titles, but Klopp is keen for Liverpool not to be cowed by history being on the Spanish champions’ side.

“If you look at the history of the club, if you look at the experience of the other team, the way Real Madrid celebrate the comebacks, I would say it’s Real Madrid (who are favourites) because of experience,” Klopp said at his pre-match press conference on Friday.

“But I want us to be on the same level, thinking on the same level. I want us to be us in this game.”

Madrid have needed stirring fightbacks to see off Paris Saint-Germain, Chelsea and Manchester City to get back to the final for the first time in four years.

Liverpool’s path to Paris has been more serene as they prepare for their 63rd game of the season.

Klopp’s men have already won the League Cup and FA Cup and missed out on the Premier League title by a single point to City.

“Once in my life someone told me the more often you win something the more likely it gets you will not win it anymore,” added Klopp. “I’m not sure Real Madrid thinks like that but I have that dream a little bit that it’s the case.

“We obviously played some really, really good stuff this season. We are not here by surprise or we got a ticket or something like that -– we deserved it.

“Being us on the highest level would be cool. If we could do that then we are a really uncomfortable opponent.

“We can talk about what Real Madrid achieved in the past and this season, how good their players are, we probably could write a book together now about this team. But we are good as well and that’s what we want to show.”

READ ALSO: Courtois Ready For Penalties Against Liverpool: ‘It’s A Moment To Shine’

Right Side Of History 

Real Madrid players celebrate their victory at the end of the UEFA Champions League semi-final second leg football match between Real Madrid CF and Manchester City at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium in Madrid on May 4, 2022. (Photo by JAVIER SORIANO / AFP)

 

Madrid also already have silverware to show for their season as they cruised to the La Liga title.

“We are very close to achieving the maximum,” said Carlo Ancelotti ahead of his record-breaking fifth Champions League final as a coach.

Ancelotti won Real’s long-awaited 10th European Cup in his debut season during his first stint in charge at the Bernabeu in 2014.

Thibaut Courtois was on the opposing side that night in Lisbon as the Atletico Madrid goalkeeper and the Belgian is looking forward to being on the right side of history in his first Champions League final since.

“We know when Real Madrid play in finals they win them,” said Courtois. “Now I’m on the right side of that.”

Madrid have enjoyed a more relaxing build-up after sealing the Spanish title nearly a month ago.

But Liverpool are hopeful of having a fully-fit squad to choose from.

Midfielders Fabinho and Thiago Alcantara were doubtful due to muscle injuries, but both returned to training this week and are in contention to start.

AFP

Liverpool And Real Madrid Ready For Champions League Final Rematch

In this file photo, Real Madrid’s Brazilian forward Rodrygo (C) vies with Liverpool’s Brazilian midfielder Fabinho (L) and Liverpool’s Scottish defender Andrew Robertson during the UEFA Champions League quarter final second leg football match between Liverpool and Real Madrid at Anfield in Liverpool, north west England on April 14, 2021. (Photo by Paul ELLIS / AFP)

 

Liverpool and Real Madrid meet in the Champions League final for the second time in five years in Paris on Saturday, with Jurgen Klopp’s side aiming to end the season with a trophy treble while the Spanish giants will look to Karim Benzema to inspire them to a 14th European Cup victory.

A crowd of 80,000 will be inside the Stade de France for the final, which kicks off at 9 pm in Paris (1900 GMT), including around 20,000 supporters of each side who have officially got their hands on precious tickets for the game.

The final promises to be a fitting climax to the European season, with Liverpool looking to win a second Champions League in four seasons since losing 3-1 to Real in Kyiv in 2018 when Mohamed Salah went off injured in the first half and Gareth Bale scored twice for the Spaniards.

Victory would round off a campaign in which Liverpool won the English League Cup and FA Cup, and finished just a point behind champions Manchester City in the Premier League.

“If you are a football person you know what my boys did so far this season was exceptional,” Klopp said on Friday.

“But we all know you are judged by the colour of the medal after a game.

“I’m more than happy and proud of what we did so far, it’s really special. I will feel better if we win the game and that’s all that I am concerned about,” added Klopp, who has been boosted by the news that midfield duo Fabinho and Thiago Alcantara are fit to play.

 Seventh heaven? 

The Anfield club can win their seventh European Cup, a tally that would see them go level with AC Milan and leave only Real with more victories.

Indeed Madrid are looking to win their fifth Champions League in nine seasons and, ominously, have won on all of their last seven final appearances.

While Liverpool saw off Inter Milan, Benfica and Villarreal in the knockout rounds, Carlo Ancelotti’s Real produced a series of memorable comebacks to beat Paris Saint-Germain, Chelsea and then Manchester City.

“It is a great success for all of us to be here. We know very well the demands at this club, the history, but for us to get here is huge,” said Ancelotti, who last year was in charge of Liverpool’s local rivals Everton.

“We are convinced that the season has already been very, very good but now we are very close to getting the big one.”

Liverpool look to have the stronger side on paper, with Alisson in goal, Virgil van Dijk marshalling their defence and Salah and Sadio Mane leading their attack.

Yet Real are pinning their hopes on Karim Benzema, the 34-year-old Frenchman who has 15 goals in the competition this season.

Eyes on Benzema 

He has scored 44 times altogether this season to lead Real to the Spanish title and is the favourite to win the Ballon d’Or.

“He is for sure one of the best players in the world, probably the best forward in the world, and I’m sure the most underestimated player maybe in history,” UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin told AFP on Friday when asked about Benzema.

“He has more personality and leadership on and off the field now but what has not changed is his quality and he remains as humble as ever,” said Ancelotti, who won the 2014 Champions League with Real in his first spell as coach.

Ancelotti can become the first coach to win the Champions League four times, having also triumphed with AC Milan in 2003 and 2007 — he is currently level on three wins with Zinedine Zidane and Bob Paisley.

 Fans descend on Paris

This will be the third final between the clubs, who also met in Paris in 1981, when the English side triumphed thanks to Alan Kennedy’s goal at the Parc des Princes.

This final — which will be refereed by Frenchman Clement Turpin — is only being played in Paris after Saint-Petersburg was stripped of the game following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

There is some concern about the new pitch at the Stade de France which was only laid this week after the venue was used for a concert last weekend — Klopp suggested playing on a brand new surface was “obviously not the best news”.

Around 40,000 Liverpool fans without tickets for the game are also expected to be in Paris, while around seven thousand police will be on duty as part of a massive security operation.

AFP

Courtois Ready For Penalties Against Liverpool: ‘It’s A Moment To Shine’

In this file photo, Real Madrid’s Belgian goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois warms up before the start of the Spanish league football match between Real Madrid CF and Cadiz CF, at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium in Madrid on December 19, 2021. JAVIER SORIANO / AFP

 

Real Madrid goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois has said he will not be afraid to take a penalty if their Champions League final against Liverpool goes the distance on Saturday.

Courtois has an impressive record saving penalties this season, having stopped three of his five faced, including one from Lionel Messi against Paris Saint-Germain in the first leg of the last 16.

It proved a crucial moment as Madrid came back from 1-0 down in the second leg to win the tie 3-2.

The Belgian was also instrumental in Madrid’s most recent penalty shoot-out victory in 2020, as he dived to palm away Thomas Partey’s shot in the final of the Spanish Super Cup against Atletico Madrid. Real Madrid won their last Champions League final that went to penalties, also against Atletico in 2016.

Courtois said he will be doing his homework on Liverpool’s most likely takers while the 30-year-old said he is also ready to step up if required.

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“I remember in pre-season with Chelsea against PSG I scored one and in the Community Shield against Arsenal I missed one,” said Courtois. “(Antonio) Conte put me there because he knew I could shoot well, but obviously standing on the spot, in an important moment, is different.

“I wouldn’t be one of the first five (takers), for sure, but maybe after, if you need to shoot, you have to shoot. I don’t fear it. It’s a moment to shine.

“We won one (shoot-out) against Atletico Madrid in the Super Cup a few years ago when I saved one penalty. This season I have saved three.

“You study ahead. Against Chelsea we had two penalties and you study them, because you can see the similarities. Hopefully it will not come back to that but if it does, I will be ready.”

Mohamed Salah has already said he wants revenge for their loss to Real Madrid in the 2018 final, when two errors by Liverpool goalkeeper Loris Karius gifted Madrid the win.

Liverpool signed Alisson Becker a few weeks later for a world-record 75 million euros and the Brazilian has been a revelation ever since.

“He is a great goalkeeper,” said Courtois. “The times I have played against him in England and with Real, he is one of the best goalkeepers in the world.

“He has great quality and has saved Liverpool a lot of times. Nowadays you need a good defence and goalkeeper and at the other end you need strikers who score you goals, that is what takes you far.”

“If you go back 15 or 20 years it was really different,” Courtois added. “To be a goalkeeper now you have to be a playmaker from the back, you have to come out as a ‘libero’ to (meet) the ball in behind and run out and take it.

“They expect you to be calm on the ball and to make decisive passes but obviously you don’t have someone behind you that can save you because you are the last man.

“You know that sometimes there can be a mistake and I hope it is not coming for me. I don’t want to wish that on any goalkeeper.”

Real Madrid have shown their magic touch again in the Champions League this season, after staging three consecutive comebacks against PSG, Chelsea and then Manchester City to reach the final.

“You just have to see the games we played at home against Paris, Chelsea and City. The moment we equalise or score that goal, the reaction of the other team – you can see that they know what can happen,” Courtois said.

“You can see at 1-1 against City, the reaction of the players. That is what makes Madrid so special, that is why it is so amazing and people talk so much about the history of Real Madrid.”

Real Madrid will be going for a record-extending 14th European Cup while Liverpool will be chasing their seventh, to pull level with AC Milan as the second most successful club in the competition’s history.

Liverpool have already won the League Cup and FA Cup in England this season.

“We don’t have to go crazy because it’s a game that could go back and forth,” said Courtois. “We have to be clear about how we want to play and not play their game. We have to make them play our game, that’s the important thing.”

AFP

Liverpool Eye Revenge Against Real Madrid In Champions League Final Rematch

In this file photo, Real Madrid’s Brazilian forward Rodrygo (C) vies with Liverpool’s Brazilian midfielder Fabinho (L) and Liverpool’s Scottish defender Andrew Robertson during the UEFA Champions League quarter-final second leg football match between Liverpool and Real Madrid at Anfield in Liverpool, northwest England on April 14, 2021. (Photo by Paul ELLIS / AFP)

 

Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool are seeking to cap a remarkable season by avenging their 2018 defeat against Real Madrid when the sides meet again in the Champions League final in Paris on Saturday, but the Spanish giants have their sights on a 14th European Cup triumph.

It is Liverpool’s third Champions League final in five seasons after they followed their 3-1 loss to Real in Kyiv by beating Tottenham Hotspur in Madrid a year later, and they are widely seen as slight favourites at the Stade de France to become kings of Europe for a seventh time.

That would put them level with AC Milan, with only Saturday’s opponents having won the trophy more often, and it would allow the Anfield club to finish the campaign with a treble after they lifted the English League Cup and FA Cup.

“Winning trophies, there is no better feeling,” admitted Liverpool’s Andy Robertson this week.

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For a long time, an unprecedented quadruple was on, but Klopp’s side fell just short in the Premier League, finishing a point behind Manchester City.

“Without the Champions League, it would be a great season. With the Champions League it would be a fantastic season,” said Klopp.

It has already been a memorable few years for Klopp’s side following their loss in Kyiv, when Mohamed Salah was forced off injured in the first half, Lorius Karius endured a nightmare in goal, and Gareth Bale’s brilliance won the trophy for Real.

“I think it is revenge time,” Salah, scorer of 31 goals this season, admitted recently.

Liverpool appear well placed given how much they have strengthened since 2018, chiefly in goal with the arrival of Alisson, while Thiago Alcantara has been a standout in midfield.

Ancelotti Targets Number Four

The problem is that you could be forgiven for thinking that Real’s name is on the cup, as it has literally been so many times before.

While Liverpool saw off Inter Milan, Benfica and Villarreal in the knockout rounds, it is easy to forget now that Carlo Ancelotti’s Real side lost at home to Sheriff Tiraspol in the group stage, such has been their extraordinary run since.

They were 2-0 down on aggregate to Paris Saint-Germain in the last 16 before a Karim Benzema hat-trick in 17 second-half minutes in the second leg took them through.

Against Chelsea in the quarter-finals they scored late at home in the return leg to force extra time before Benzema got their winner.

The best was saved for the semi-final against Manchester City when they went into the 90th minute of the second leg needing two goals just to force extra time. They duly got them, and Benzema then struck the winner.

The 34-year-old Frenchman now leads Madrid into the final in his home country after a campaign in which he has scored 44 goals, with 15 in Europe and 27 on their run to the Spanish title.

Benzema will surely be nailed on to win the Ballon d’Or if his club triumphs in Paris, where victory would also help Real supporters get over Kylian Mbappe’s decision to snub them.

Madrid are chasing their fifth Champions League in nine seasons, a run that began when they beat Atletico Madrid in Lisbon in 2014.

Benzema was in that team, as was Luka Modric, while Ancelotti was the coach in his first spell in charge.

The veteran Italian can now become the first coach to win the Champions League four times, having also triumphed with AC Milan in 2003 and 2007.

Security Operation

The latter victory came against Liverpool and was revenge for the Anfield club’s win over Ancelotti’s Milan in Istanbul in 2005.

“Playing a final with them is something special. They have won six Champions Leagues, and if they reach seven they would go level with Milan, so I have extra motivation to win this final,” smiled Ancelotti, who had a spell as boss of Liverpool’s local rivals Everton before returning to Madrid.

This will be the third final between the clubs, who also met in Paris in 1981 — then the English side were victorious thanks to Alan Kennedy’s goal at the Parc des Princes.

This final was not supposed to be played here, but Paris stepped in after UEFA stripped Saint-Petersburg of the game following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

A crowd of 80,000 will fill the Stade de France, with 20,000 fans of each team officially in attendance.

Around 40,000 more Liverpool fans are expected to travel to Paris without tickets, however, and around seven thousand police will be on duty as part of a massive security operation.

AFP

Mbappe Snub Leaves Real Madrid Reeling As Reality Of New World Order Sets In

Paris Saint-Germain’s French forward Kylian Mbappe poses with a jersey after the announcement he staying at PSG until 2025 before the French L1 football match between Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) and Metz at the Parc des Princes stadium in Paris on May 21, 2022. Anne-Christine POUJOULAT / AFP

 

 

Real Madrid thought they had a signing to define an era and the heir to Cristiano Ronaldo. Instead, they got humiliation and a reminder of football’s new world order, after Kylian Mbappe decided to stay at Paris Saint-Germain.

The boy who plastered posters of Ronaldo onto his bedroom walls had been applauded by Real Madrid’s fans when PSG played at the Santiago Bernabeu in the Champions League in March.

There was even a degree of appreciation for his two goals, which left Madrid on the brink of defeat. This was at least a preview, they thought, of the player that would soon belong to them.

Those expectations have been swelling for years, the protracted nature of this saga creating a longing at Real Madrid and a fanfare in the media.

The hype made Mbappe joining Madrid feel both inevitable and, at the same time, absolutely essential.

The club have been obsessed by Mbappe. The pandemic restricted spending but there has also been a method in their restraint, a building up of funds for the biggest signing of all.

Last year, Sergio Ramos and Raphael Varane were let go to reduce the wage bill while in 2020, Real went without a single summer signing for the first time in 40 years.

More recently, they stepped back from the possibility of signing Erling Haaland from Borussia Dortmund, so convinced were they that Mbappe would come. They briefly thought they could buy both. Instead, they have ended up with neither.

In the short-term, Madrid will cope. They have won La Liga this season at a canter without Mbappe and they will win the Champions League without him too if they defeat a fatigued Liverpool in Paris next Saturday.

This season they have beaten Manchester City, Chelsea, PSG, Barcelona and Atletico Madrid.

And few would say Real’s weakness is their attack. Vinicius Junior has emerged as one of the world’s most frightening wingers and Karim Benzema established himself as the clear favourite for the Ballon d’Or.

With Mbappe in the team, would Vinicius and Benzema have shone so brightly?

But the longer-term is where Real Madrid will surely feel the loss. Mbappe could have been a catalyst for change, a focal point for a new era, the kind of signing that forces a squad to update and tactics to be modernised.

Madrid’s aura and history in the Champions League always makes them an opponent to be respected, but with Mbappe they would once again have been a team to be feared.

– Blow for La Liga –
President Florentino Perez will want to put things right quickly, to restore pride and prestige. Mohamed Salah, Harry Kane, Robert Lewandowski or a sensational return for Ronaldo could all quickly move to the top of his agenda.

If he wants to sting PSG, perhaps even Ousmane Dembele, reportedly destined for Paris from Barcelona, would appeal.

A more strategic approach might be to bolster other positions, like in midfield and at full-back, where Real actually need strengthening more.

For the current players, there could well be a galvanising effect.

The concern had been that an Mbappe announcement before the Champions League final might distract but a number of pointed, although well-disguised, social media posts on Saturday suggest Madrid’s players would enjoy lifting a 14th European Cup now in Paris even more.

It would be a statement for Spanish football but La Liga, whose own relations with Madrid are hardly warm, have been hit hard by the decisions of Mbappe and Haaland to play, not just elsewhere, but for PSG and Manchester City.

“On Kylian Mbappe’s possible announcement to stay at PSG, La Liga wishes to state that this type of agreement attacks the economic stability of European football,” the league wrote in a statement on Saturday.

Amid the rise of state-backed clubs and the soaring wealth of the Premier League, Mbappe might have been an important moment of resistance, a check on the unfettered ability of those clubs to financially bulldoze the market.

For a long time, it was Real Madrid who had that power, an institution with the money and status to poach the world’s best players, even from the world’s top clubs, and there is certainly an irony in the anger now about another club throwing their weight, and money, around.

But their hurt is grounded in the wider point about what Mbappe’s decision, coming so soon after Haaland’s, really means.

Politically and financially, Real Madrid and Barcelona were for so long the top dogs in European football. Now it is the state-run clubs that rule the roost.

‘No Words Can Help’ Ease Man City Euro Exit – Guardiola

Manchester City’s Spanish manager Pep Guardiola reacts during the UEFA Champions League semi-final second leg football match between Real Madrid CF and Manchester City at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium in Madrid on May 4, 2022. (Photo by Paul ELLIS / AFP)

 

Pep Guardiola admits “no words can help” ease the pain of Manchester City’s elimination from the Champions League as he refocuses on his side’s Premier League title challenge.

City were just moments away from claiming a place in the final against Liverpool before Real Madrid staged a stunning fightback at the Bernabeu on Wednesday.

Real scored twice in the final seconds of normal time and eventually won the game 3-1 after extra-time, taking the semi-final tie 6-5 on aggregate.

Asked on Friday what he said to his players, Guardiola told reporters: “We didn’t speak. No words can help what we feel.

“It’s a question of time, try to sleep and think of the targets. Tomorrow we will talk.”

READ ALSO: Three Things We Learned From Real Madrid Vs Manchester City

Real Madrid players celebrate their victory at the end of the UEFA Champions League semi-final second leg football match between Real Madrid CF and Manchester City at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium in Madrid on May 4, 2022. (Photo by JAVIER SORIANO / AFP)

 

The City boss must now pick his men up for the Premier League run-in.

City, who lead Liverpool by just one point with four games left, host mid-table Newcastle on Sunday, a day after Jurgen Klopp’s team play Tottenham.

“We’re not thinking about the title, we’re thinking about Newcastle,” said Guardiola.

“That’s enough to focus on. Then Wolves, then West Ham. It’s not necessary to listen to what people are saying we can achieve.”

Guardiola, speaking at his pre-match press conference, made a passionate defence of his side after their latest stumble on the European stage.

City have dominated English football over the past decade but have yet to be crowned European champions despite huge investment from their Abu Dhabi owners.

“If people say it’s a failure then I disagree,” said Guardiola, whose team lost last year’s Champions League final to Chelsea.

“The people in the squad know how difficult it is. But they accept it. I’m not going to make a debate.

“In the club the feeling we have is we try to do it again. We are sad, of course, because we were close.”

Guardiola, who won two Champions League titles when in charge of Barcelona, said Real deserved their victory but vowed City would not give up on their Champions League dream.

“The players wanted to play the final but for this club to compete against Real the way we did is a joy,” he said.

“I say congratulations to Liverpool and Madrid, they deserve it. Next season we try again and if it doesn’t work we try again.”

AFP

Three Things We Learned From Real Madrid Vs Manchester City

Real Madrid players celebrate their victory at the end of the UEFA Champions League semi-final second leg football match between Real Madrid CF and Manchester City at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium in Madrid on May 4, 2022. (Photo by JAVIER SORIANO / AFP)

 

 

Real Madrid produced another barely believable Champions League fightback to beat Manchester City 3-1 after extra time on Wednesday and reach the final 6-5 on aggregate.

The Spanish champions will take on Liverpool in Paris on May 28 in a repeat of the 1981 and 2018 finals.

AFP Sport looks at three things we learned from a classic semi-final.

City’s Champions League pain goes onPep Guardiola’s reign in Manchester is four games away from delivering four Premier League titles in the past five years.

But the one trophy they really want remains elusive as another shot at the Champions League spectacularly blew up in their faces.

It is now 11 years since Guardiola last lifted Europe’s biggest prize as Barcelona boss.

 

Manchester City’s Spanish manager Pep Guardiola reacts during the UEFA Champions League semi-final second leg football match between Real Madrid CF and Manchester City at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium in Madrid on May 4, 2022. – Real Madrid won the match 3-1. (Photo by Paul ELLIS / AFP)

 

The defensive frailties and fragile mentality of his early seasons at City in this competition seemed to have been washed away by a run to the club’s first ever final last season.

For 89 minutes, they looked like a side maturing under the intense spotlight the latter stages of the Champions League provides.

But that will only make this collapse hurt all the more.

City will look back on the chances wasted to kill off the Spanish giants in both legs as four times they let a two-goal advantage in the tie slip away.

Now they have to rouse themselves quickly to prevent that pain being compounded by also seeing Liverpool snatch away the Premier League title.

Madrid young guns lead the old guard of Karim Benzema and Luka Modric got most of the credit for Real’s revivals to beat Paris Saint-Germain and Chelsea just to make it to the last four.

 

Real Madrid players celebrate their victory at the end of the UEFA Champions League semi-final second leg football match between Real Madrid CF and Manchester City at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium in Madrid on May 4, 2022. (Photo by GABRIEL BOUYS / AFP)

 

However, the introduction of Rodrygo and Eduardo Camavinga also helped swing those second legs at a bouncing Bernabeu in the home side’s favour.

Rodrygo had scored two goals all season until taking the Chelsea tie to extra time last month.

With City leading 1-0 on the night thanks to Riyad Mahrez’s strike and 5-3 on aggregate, the Brazilian transformed the tie by scoring twice in 88 seconds as the game entered stoppage time.

Camavinga’s powerful run beyond the tiring legs of the City midfield then set up the winner as Benzema lured Ruben Dias into a mistimed challenge in the box.

Carlo Ancelotti has consistently kept faith with his veterans all season.

But there are only so many times the Italian can be rescued by his young guns off the bench.

 

Real Madrid’s Brazilian defender Marcelo celebrates with teammates after the UEFA Champions League semi-final second leg football match between Real Madrid CF and Manchester City at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium in Madrid on May 4, 2022. (Photo by GABRIEL BOUYS / AFP)

 

Camavinga and Rodrygo are entitled to believe they deserve to start against Liverpool.

Money can’t buy Madrid’s mentality

The tradition of the 13-time European champions has not stopped Madrid from being the biggest supporters of a breakaway Super League.

Behind their reasoning has been a fear that they can no longer compete financially for the world’s best players up against the state-backed wealth of PSG and City, or even billionaire-backed clubs like Chelsea have been under Roman Abramovich.

However, they have eliminated all three in a remarkable run to their 17th European Cup final.

 

Real Madrid’s French forward Karim Benzema celebrates at the end of the UEFA Champions League semi-final second leg football match between Real Madrid CF and Manchester City at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium in Madrid on May 4, 2022. (Photo by PIERRE-PHILIPPE MARCOU / AFP)

 

“We are the kings of Europe” reverberated around the Bernabeu once Benzema slotted home the crucial penalty.

For all the billions thrown at this competition by PSG and City, they remain without a European Cup between them.

The Madrid tradition of success is something money can’t buy.

Real Madrid And Liverpool Set For Paris Rematch

Real Madrid’s Belgian goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois (R) clears the ball past Athletic Bilbao’s Spanish defender Inigo Martinez during the Spanish Copa del Rey (King’s Cup) quarter-final football match between Athletic Club Bilbao and Real Madrid CF at the San Mames stadium in Bilbao on February 3, 2022.
CESAR MANSO / AFP

 

A third all-English Champions League final in four years seemed to be on the cards but Real Madrid’s incredible late comeback against Manchester City on Wednesday has set up a rematch between the Spanish club and Liverpool in Paris on May 28.

Madrid’s epic European campaign hit new heights as they came back from the dead against Pep Guardiola’s City, trailing 1-0 on the night and 5-3 on aggregate before a Rodrygo brace in the 90th and 91st minutes forced extra time.

Karim Benzema then converted a penalty five minutes into the extra half-hour to make it 3-1 on the night and 6-5 on aggregate for Carlo Ancelotti’s side who then held on to secure their final spot, four days after reclaiming the Spanish title.

Their defeat of City came after they recovered from 2-0 down on aggregate to knock out Paris Saint-Germain in the last 16, and then also fought back to beat Chelsea in extra time in the quarter-finals.

Madrid’s extraordinary triumph on Wednesday followed 24 hours on from Liverpool’s 3-2 win away at Villarreal, in which they came back from two goals down on the night to win 5-3 on aggregate.

The final at the Stade de France will be a repeat of the 2018 showpiece, when Gareth Bale’s stunning double secured a 3-1 win for Real Madrid in Kiev and gave them their record-extending 13th European Cup.

Seven members of the Real team involved that night four years ago also featured against City on Wednesday, just as seven Liverpool players in 2018 played in the win at Villarreal.

“We have a score to settle,” wrote Mohamed Salah on Twitter as the Liverpool forward kicked off the hostilities early.

It will be Liverpool’s third final in five seasons after they went on to win their sixth European crown in 2019, defeating Tottenham Hotspur 2-0 in Madrid.

Another victory at the Stade de France will see them go level on seven European Cups with AC Milan, with only Madrid having won more.

Indeed Real have won all of their seven previous final appearances in the Champions League era, their last defeat at this stage coming in 1981 against Liverpool in Paris.

– Ancelotti’s personal history –

Fans of the Anfield club may try to see that as an omen, recalling Alan Kennedy’s late goal at the Parc des Princes that gave Bob Paisley’s side victory as Liverpool won the European Cup for the third time in five years.

By the time this season’s final comes around they may be seeking to complete a historic quadruple — having already won the League Cup, they trail a chastened Manchester City by just one point at the top of the Premier League and face Chelsea in the FA Cup final on May 14.

Real want history too, though, as does Ancelotti, who won the Champions League twice as a coach with Milan and led Madrid to victory in 2014 during his first spell in charge at the Santiago Bernabeu.

He was on the Milan bench when they lost on penalties to Liverpool in the 2005 final in Istanbul, the Italians throwing away a 3-0 half-time lead.

However, Ancelotti’s Milan gained revenge two years later when they beat the Reds 2-1 in Athens.

“I am really pleased to be in another final, once again against Liverpool. It will be my third final against them as a coach,” said Ancelotti, who was also formerly in charge of their Merseyside rivals Everton.

“I lived in Liverpool for two years so this is a derby for me.”

Ancelotti is level with Liverpool legend Paisley and ex-Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane on three European Cups as a coach, but victory on May 28 would see him become the first manager to win the trophy four times.

He last faced Liverpool during his 18-month spell in charge of Everton, in which time he was unbeaten against them in three Premier League meetings and notably oversaw a 2-0 win at Anfield.