Liverpool captain Phil Thompson shakes the hand of his Madrid counterpart Santillana ahead of the 1981 European Champion Clubs’ Cup final at the Parc des Princes in Paris – the first meeting between the two sides
A place in history
Two of football’s greatest teams meet again with the club game’s grandest prize at stake
It speaks volumes for their pedigree that Real Madrid CF and Liverpool FC will face off in Kyiv with 17 European Cups between them, more than any previous final pair. The lion’s share of those belong to Madrid, and the holders can now stretch their record haul to 13. A year on from becoming the first side to successfully defend their crown in the UEFA Champions League era, the Spanish club hope to triumph for a third consecutive season – a feat beyond reach since FC Bayern München completed their hat-trick in 1976.
Liverpool have other ideas. Back in the final for the first time in 11 years, the Reds will counter Madrid’s vast experience and knowhow with fearlessness and attacking verve. Having scored a record 46 goals on the road to Kyiv, they will not be awed. Indeed, Liverpool were the last club to defeat Madrid in a European Cup final – a 1-0 victory in 1981 that sealed the third of their five continental crowns.
Surprisingly, that was one of just five previous meetings between the teams, and few expect such a tight affair with the spectacular Cristiano Ronaldo and Mohamed Salah on the loose. Both will look to make the difference, while another intriguing subplot plays out on the touchline. As Zinédine Zidane aims to become the first coach in the competition’s 63 years to win the trophy three seasons in a row, Jürgen Klopp has his heart set on a first European crown. For one of these men and their team, the history books await.