[unable to retrieve full-text content]
Liverpool and Real Madrid played out a cracking Champions League final on Saturday night, filled with extraordinary goals, incredible drama and heartbreaking injuries.
Los Blancos, favourites for the match due to their incredible success in Europe’s top club competition in recent years, took the lead through after Karim Benzema anticipated well to block Loris Karius’ throw into an empty net, but Sadio Mane soon poked home from Dejan Lovren’s header.
Gareth Bale came on as a second half substitute to score one of the great Champions League final goals before another moment to forget for Karius gave him a second and Real Madrid their third.
Here’s how Saturday’s final played out…
There was heartbreak for Mohamed Salah, who had to leave the pitch after injuring his shoulder in a tangle with Sergio Ramos. That piece of drama got its very own piece, so feel free to peruse. Here’s a snippet of the reactions…
After losing their star man to injury, things got worse for the Reds in the second half when Karius’ attempted throw was seen via telepathy by Benzema, who outstretched his leg to give Los Blancos the lead.
Ramos was not to blame for Salah injury & Benzema was a predatory genius to score that goal.
Those who think otherwise are footballing halfwits. #UCL2018
— Piers Morgan (@piersmorgan) May 26, 2018
Liverpool were soon on level terms though, as Mane showed predatory instincts in the box to flick home Lovren’s header to equalise.
4 – Sadio Mané is only the 4th African player to score in a European Cup/Champions League final after:
Diamond. #UCLfinal #RMALFC @LFC pic.twitter.com/hZBEFpHr6g
— OptaJean (@OptaJean) May 26, 2018
GOOOOOOOAL!! SADIO MANE EQUALISES! WE BELIEVE!!
— DaveOCKOP (@DaveOCKOP) May 26, 2018
However, Gareth Bale’s introduction proved the catalyst for Real Madrid’s victory. Firstly, he scored one of the most incredible goals seen this season, arching his body to net an incredible overhead kick from Marcelo’s cross.
Message to all of you Ronaldo fanboys who couldn’t stop pissing your pants when he scored that overhead…
Gareth Bale’s was 100 times better.
— Tom Todhunter (@tdhntr) May 26, 2018
Gareth Bale has been watching Jerome’s overhead kick against Palace for inspiration. Top man
— Jack Reeve (@JackReeveTNC) May 26, 2018
TAKE A BOW, @GarethBale11!!! Absolutely INCREDIBLE overhead kick to fire us back ahead!
— Real Madrid C.F. (@realmadriden) May 26, 2018
He got in on the act again soon after, profiting from another Karius shocker with a long-range effort that should have been comfortably stopped by the German.
Just had the call from #Karius’s agent. Sorry, no go.
— Morecambe FC (@ShrimpsOfficial) May 26, 2018
Loris Karius blames himself for the defeat. I said Well it was your fault Loris, you’ve cost us the game.
— Boring James Milner (@BoringMilner) May 26, 2018
The errors will likely haunt Karius for a long time, with Liverpool likely to pursue a new goalkeeper this summer even more ferociously following his two mistakes.
As if there wasn’t enough happening, a streaker stopped Real adding a fourth late on, coming on to the pitch with Cristiano Ronaldo ready to shoot and potentially have the fitting last word, as he has so often in recent years…
The streaker saved Liverpool from a 4-1 loss
— @Georgebakhos1 (@GeorgeBakhos1) May 26, 2018
FFS streaker messed up Ronaldo’s chance 😡
— The Boi (@ChuBoi) May 26, 2018
As for Real fans, it’s fair to say they were beaming after winning a third Champions League in a row…
Real Madrid na UEFA Champions Lague:
1️⃣3️⃣ #UCLFinal #HalaMadrid pic.twitter.com/DnKTjJ1noM
— Cristiano Ronaldo (@CitouRonaldo7) May 26, 2018
Most UCL winners in the history:
Real Madrid = 13
AC Milan = 7
Cristiano Ronaldo FC = 5
Liverpool/ Barcelona/Bayern = 5
Man can only be compared with clubs right now, he’s bigger than football pic.twitter.com/abffxXs3XK
— OMAR (@Omar__cr7_) May 26, 2018
[unable to retrieve full-text content]
Lyon’s attacking midfielder Nabil Fekir could be set with for a move to Liverpool later this summer, with the Frenchman refusing to rule out a move to the Merseyside club.
However, despite the 24-year-old Frenchman’s apparent, impending move to join Jurgen Klopp’s men, he would not be disappointed if Real Madrid were to claim their third successive final win on Saturday, as reported by the Liverpool Echo.
Speaking at a press conference with the French national team ahead of the upcoming World Cup, Fekir said: “Do I have a personal favourite between Liverpool and Real for the Champions League final? No, no really not!
“We have two team-mates who will be playing tomorrow, Raphael Varane and Karim Benzema. May the best win! If Real could win we would be happy for them!”
Regarding his future, Fekir added: “For now I am in Clairefontaine. Games are coming and I really don’t have my situation in my mind. I let things happen but nothing is done. I have to discuss with the Jean-Michel Aulas and we’ll see what happens next.”
Following their Champions League clash against Real Madrid, Liverpool are planning on intensifying their pursuit of Fekir, with the goal scoring midfielder viewed as an ideal replacement for Philippe Coutinho who departed the club in January to join Barcelona.
Not since May 1960, when a 127,000-strong Hampden Park watched on as Real Madrid demolished Eintracht Frankfurt to continue the trend of being the only side to lift the European Cup – a stretch which had lasted five consecutive years – has Spanish football,
During that period, the Los Blancos XI were undeniably one of the greatest sides in history, with such names as
2da Champions del real Madrid: Equipo: Alonso, Torres, Marquitos, Lesmes, Muñoz, Zárraga, Kopa, Mateos, Di Stéfano, Rial y Gento. Entrenador: José Villalonga. pic.twitter.com/JOrqIIgbJz
— J. A. Gòmez Gimènez (@jagomezgimenez) May 22, 2018
“We just had the misfortune to be around at the same time as that incredible Real Madrid team,” reflected Stade de Reims goalkeeper Dominique Colonna in 1959 after his side’s second European Cup final defeat to Madrid. “If it wasn’t for them, Reims might have dominated Europe for years.”
Of course, however, L
Leeds United v Bayern Munich
1975 European Cup Final
Captains Billy Bremner & Franz Beckenbauer Shake Hands Before Kick Off pic.twitter.com/hz34D6btDv
— Superb Footy Pics (@SuperbFootyPics) May 8, 2017
From one to eleven, superstar names of the present and the future are displayed across the shoulders on the famous all white of the Estadio
Real Madrid and Portugal star Cristiano Ronaldo has revealed former Arsenal, Chelsea and England full back Ashley Cole as the toughest defender he’s ever had to face.
Ronaldo came up against Cole on a regular basis in the early stages of his career while playing under Sir Alex Ferguson at Manchester United. The Portuguese superstar joined the Red Devils from Sporting CP in 2003, having impressed the Scotsman in a previous Champions League encounter between the two sides.
Ronaldo spent six years at Old Trafford between 2003 and 2009, back when the Premier League trophy was contested mainly between United, Arsenal and Chelsea.
Cole and Arsenal triumphed in the 2003/04 season, before the 107-cap England star moved across London to Chelsea, where he secured league titles in the 2004/05 and 2005/06 seasons, ahead of Ronaldo’s United.
Speaking to Spanish talk show El Chiringuito TV (via the Daily Mail), Ronaldo recalled his early duels with Cole, when asked by the presenter to name his
Cole controversially signed for Chelsea in 2006 from London rivals Arsenal. He made a total of 229 appearances for the club before he left to join Roma as a free agent in 2014.
The former England international spent two seasons in Rome and then left to Los Angeles in 2016 to play for MLS side LA Galaxy, where the 37-year-old is still playing.
Ronaldo, on the other hand, has continued to dominate European football. The 33-year-old has scored 43 goals for Real Madrid this season and will be looking to further add to his tally on Saturday when Los Blancos face Liverpool in the Champions League final in Kiev.
Ahead of the highly anticipated Champions League final between Real Madrid and Liverpool in Kiev on Saturday, Spanish Sky Sports journalist Guillem Balague has predicted Los Blancos will be incapable of handling Jurgen Klopp’s mercurial Reds’ attack.
While Real Madrid will be looking to make this Saturday their third Champions League triumph in a row, and their fourth in five years, Liverpool are gearing up to claim their first piece of European silverware since their dramatic victory over AC Milan in 2005.
And although there’s a significant contingent of Madrid supporters who believe their 13th European Cup is all but secured, the Reds’ attacking triumvirate of Sadio Mane, Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Salah will not make it easy for La Liga outfit.
In fact, Spanish football journalist Guillem Balague believes that, despite their experience and winning track record, Real Madrid will find it ‘impossible’ to deal with Liverpool in Kiev on Saturday, as reported by the Daily Star.
Speaking to Liverpool fan channel, Redmen TV, Balague said: “I was with Rafa Benitez a couple of days ago. We were going through the final, and he came out with something that made me think. It was a very good analysis.
“It was about intensity versus knowledge and control, particularly the intensity of Liverpool. If they go from minute one, it’s impossible to be matched by Real Madrid.
“By controlling the game in a conservative way, they are just trying to stop Liverpool going at that rate and pace.
“That’s all they’ll be able to do.
Two giants of European football, Real Madrid and Liverpool, will lock horns once more as they face off in the biggest game in club football in Kiev this weekend, in the 2017/18 Champions League final.
It will only be the sixth time that they’ve come up against one another in competitive matches, all of which have been in European Cup competitions.
Both sides have had their fair share of successes over one another over the years. So with that in mind, and ahead of the game, take a look into the archives to find out how previous encounters have turned out.
1. Liverpool 1-0 Real Madrid (European Cup Final, 1981)
The first time the Reds faced off against the Galacticos was on the biggest stage of them all; the European Cup final.
In 1981, the match took place at the Parc des Princes in Paris, and Liverpool’s Alan Kennedy got the only goal of the game eight minutes from time.
His goal gifted the Merseyside outfit with their third European Cup in four years.
2. Real Madrid 0-1 Liverpool (Champions League Last 16 First Leg, 2009)
Liverpool’s Yossi Benayoun got the only goal of the game in the first leg tie of this last 16 clash at the Santiago Bernabeu, in 2009.
The the Reds’ smash and grab performance secured them a 1-0 victory to take back to Anfield, ahead of a game that will live long in the memory of Liverpool fans…
3. Liverpool 4-0 Real Madrid (Champions League Last 16 Second Leg, 2009)
It was one of the greatest European nights at Anfield, as Liverpool demolished Los Merengues with a stunning 4-0 victory in the second leg.
Goals from Fernando Torres, Steven Gerrard and Andrea Dossena piled on the misery for Real, who were unceremoniously dumped up 5-0 on aggregate.
4. Liverpool 0-3 Real Madrid (Champions League Group Stage, 2014)
Real Madrid got their long and overdue victory over Liverpool in Europe with dominating display at Anfield in 2014.
The reigning champions showed their style and class on the night and their effortless nature of their passing and control of play left Liverpool looking at each other wondering what to do.
Cristiano Ronaldo, and a brace from Karim Benzema, did the business.
5. Real Madrid 1-0 Liverpool (UEFA Champions League Group Stage, 2014)
Liverpool’s starting lineup stole the headlines on this occasion as opposed to Real Madrid’s victory.
The Reds decided to start with players like Javier Manquillo, Kolo Toure, Lazar Markovic, Fabio Borini, Alberto Moreno and Lucas Leiva, while Brendan Rodgers opted to leave left star players such as Steven Gerrard and Mario Balotelli on the bench.
It was a shock move, and proved to be the end of his reign for the Northern Irishman.
Zinedine Zidane has called up the entire Real Madrid squad for the Champions League final on Saturday, ensuring Liverpool remain in the dark over the final team selection in Kiev.
The 24-man squad was announced by
Real Madrid squad:
Los Blancos’ fourth final in five years has seen the club instated as favourites over their Premier League counterparts, where many expect their experience on the big stage to come up trumps against a Liverpool outfit who have not featured in a European Cup final since 2007.
Mauro Icardi’s wife and agent Wanda Nara has revealed there has been a great deal of interest from a host of European super clubs willing to trigger the Argentine striker’s release clause.
The Inter captain currently has his release clause set at a hefty
Nara spoke to Radio Metro regarding the possibility of a big-money deal, saying: “There are some big clubs ready to pay the release clause, which is very high, but considering the figures that are circulating in football right now and the kind of player Mauro is, it’s not even that remarkable.
“There are many clubs putting pressure on, but his priority is Inter. There will be a meeting with their director of sport and the priority as of today is to stay here.”
As a result of Inter securing Champions League football for the 2018/19 season, the Nerazzuri are naturally very keen to renew the contract of their prized asset, keeping him at the club as they look to return to the formidable force in Italy, and indeed Europe, that they once were.
“It irritates me when people underestimate Mauro, as he is wanted by the three best teams in the world,” Nara added.
“We’ll see what he does with Inter, the situation is he’ll either sign a renewal or leave, but the priority is to remain here and resolve the issue before we can go on vacation.”
With Icardi omitted from Argentina’s World Cup squad destined for Russia this summer, he’ll have plenty of time to consider his next destination without the added pressures of international football. However, it goes without saying that Inter fans will undoubtedly be keen to see their talisman donning the same blue and black jersey come the end of the summer.