Milan

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Come Saturday, Liverpool will take the field a day after the thirteenth anniversary of their famous triumph against AC Milan in Istanbul. The Olympic Stadium can expect a thriller between Liverpool and Real Madrid, who have shown the aptitude to ace the knockout blows this season. Liverpool and Klopp have a score to settle, once again against the odds, while Real Madrid and history is a mysterious couple.
Real Madrid and Liverpool’s Battle for Attacking Supremacy Takes Centre-Stage
Come Saturday, Liverpool will take the field a day after the thirteenth anniversary of their famous triumph against AC Milan in Istanbul. The Olympic Stadium can expect a thriller between Liverpool and Real Madrid, who have shown the aptitude to ace the knockout blows this season. Liverpool and Klopp have a score to settle, once again against the odds, while Real Madrid and history is a mysterious couple.
Liverpool have lifted the trophy five times, most recently in 2005, against AC Milan in Istanbul (AFP Photo/Sergei SUPINSKY)
Liverpool have lifted the trophy five times, most recently in 2005, against AC Milan in Istanbul
Liverpool have lifted the trophy five times, most recently in 2005, against AC Milan in Istanbul (AFP Photo/Sergei SUPINSKY)
What is it? The wait is nearly over as Real Madrid and Liverpool compete in the final of the European Cup - for the first time since 1981 - in a mouth-watering match that will decide who will be awarded the coveted Champions League trophy. The defending champions and 12-time winners Real are bidding for their third successive title while Liverpool are seeking the sixth in their history. When is it? Saturday, May 26, 2018 - under 48 hours away. Where is it? The 2018 Champions League final will be held at the NSC Olimpiyskiy Stadium in Kiev, Ukraine. It is the home of Dynamo Kiev. The stadium previously hosted the Euro 2012 final and holds a maximum capacity of 63,000 - the second largest in eastern Europe. What time is kick-off? 7.45pm BST. What TV channel is it on? BT Sport 2. But you can also watch the match for free on the BT Sport app or via BTSport.com or follow the game here with Telegraph Sport. How Liverpool can beat Real Madrid in Champions League Final What happened in the semi-finals? In the first semi, Bayern Munich goalkeeper Sven Ulreich committed a huge blunder as holders Real edged into the final. Ulreich missed a backpass to gift a vital second goal to Karim Benzema at the Bernabeu Stadium, and the Frenchman's double in a pulsating 2-2 draw ensured Real progressed 4-3 on aggregate. Bayern had led early through Joshua Kimmich and a strike from James Rodriguez - who is on loan at the German club from Real - set up a tense finish. However, the hosts withstood considerable pressure to keep their bid for a third successive title on track. Just confirming this actually happened and is not a FIFA '18 bugpic.twitter.com/nNsfSDZvm4— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) May 1, 2018 The following night, Liverpool set up a repeat of their 1981 meeting against Real despite a first Champions League defeat of the season at the Stadio Olimpico. A chaotic 4-2 semi-final second leg loss to Roma saw Liverpool progress 7-6 on aggregate, with victory secured thanks to Sadio Mane's 19th of the season and the rare sight of Georginio Wijnaldum's first away goal in almost three years. A fortuitous own goal by James Milner inbetween had put the hosts back in the game, while Edin Dzeko's strike shortly after half-time ensured the Reds endured a testing conclusion and two late goals for Radja Nainngolan - including a penalty with the last kick of the game - came too late for Roma. Roma v Liverpool Can I still get tickets? The window for buying standard tickets is now closed. It ran on Uefa's website from March 15-22. Hospitality tickets are still on sale on Uefa's website, with prices starting from €3,200 per person. How do I get to Kiev? The City has two airports, Zhulyany (8km south-west of the city centre) and Boryspil International (35km east). Public transport includes buses, trolleybuses, trams and an ever-expanding metro system. Blaggers guide to speaking Ukrainian (source Uefa.com) Hello: Привіт – pree-vee'-t How are you?: Як справи? – yak spra'-vee Please: Будь ласка – bood la'-skah Thank you: Дякую – dja-ku'-yu Goodbye: До побачення – doh po-bah'-chen-ya Where is the stadium?: Де знаходиться стадіон? – de zna-kho'-dee-tsja sta-dee-on' Goal: Гол – Ghol Most European Cups What are they saying? Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp has said his team will be "on fire" for the final: "We were in a League Cup final and didn't win it. People don't tell me in the street since then: 'Thank you for bringing us to the final'. We were in the Europa League final too. Nobody tells me thank you. "I see no trophies after these games. They don't hang silver medals at Melwood. That's a pity, but that's the game. There's still a job to do. "You cannot be more experienced in this competition than Real Madrid. "I think 80 per cent of their team played all these finals. They are four times in the last five years and still together. They are experienced, we are not, but we will be really on fire." Liverpool vs Real Madrid: Head-to-head Road to the final Zinedine Zidane's side won their first two games but a home draw with Tottenham followed by a loss at Wembley meant they finished second in their group. Despite failing behind to Paris St Germain at the Bernabeu, they won 5-2 on aggregate in the last 16 then overcame an almighty scare against Juventus, advancing thanks to Cristiano Ronaldo's last-gasp penalty despite a 3-1 home loss. A semi-final first leg victory in Munich proved pivotal as a 2-2 draw with Bayern in Spain got them over the line. Liverpool had to come through a qualifying round against Hoffenheim and then drew the opening two games in their group. They also threw away a three-goal lead against Sevilla in a 3-3 draw but thumped both Maribor and Spartak Moscow to finish top of Group E. They beat Porto 5-0 in the first leg of their last-16 tie, won both legs in the all-English clash with Manchester City and then saw off Roma 7-6 on aggregate following a 5-2 first-leg win at Anfield. Who fizzed and who flopped in the Champions League semi-final decider? Star men Real have the current Ballon d'or winner. Liverpool may have the next one. Cristiano Ronaldo is the Champions League's all-time leading scorer - with 120 goals, Real Madrid's all-time top scorer and a four-time winner of the competition. Ronaldo, who turned 33 this year, has scored 42 club goals this season. Yet Mohamed Salah has already exceeded that tally. The former Roma winger has enjoyed an incredible first season at Anfield, becoming just the third player in Liverpool history to score 40-plus goals in a single season and winning a slew of personal accolades. If he can outshine Ronaldo in Kiev, the ultimate individual prize may be next. Managers Zidane and Jurgen Klopp have experienced contrasting fortunes in finals. The former has won both of the Champions League finals he has been involved in as a boss. Meanwhile, Klopp has lost his previous five finals as a manage, including in the Europa League against Sevilla two seasons ago. Jurgen Klopp celebrates with his players Credit: GETTY IMAGES Tactics Real have not been as dominant as previous seasons, when their BBC (Gareth Bale, Karim Benzema and Ronaldo) strikeforce was in full flow and Luka Modric and Toni Kroos ran the midfield. This team is more pragmatic. Centre-backs Sergio Ramos and Raphael Varane and defensive midfielder Casemiro form a strong spine and Zidane can usually rely on Ronaldo for a moment of magic. Klopp's gegenpressing style has been used to devastating effect this year thanks to the relentless front three of Salah, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane. Liverpool will pin their hopes on that trio and their harassing style. History This is a meeting of the two of the most decorated clubs in the competition's history. No team has won more European Cups than Real Madrid's 12. Los Blancos won five in a row between 1956 and 1960 and last year they become the first club to retain the title in the Champions League era. Only Real and AC Milan have won more European Cups than Liverpool. The five-time winners' most recent success came in an astonishing 2005 final against AC Milan, who exacted revenge in the 2007 final. The Reds also beat Real in the 1981 final when Alan Kennedy scored the winner. Champions League final 2018 | Real Madrid vs Liverpool Salah vs Ronaldo: A comparison Liverpool and Real Madrid will be looking to Mohamed Salah and Cristiano Ronaldo to make the difference for their respective teams on May 26. Here, we look at the numbers behind the two players' astonishing campaigns: Club appearances (all competitions): Salah (Liverpool) 49, Ronaldo (Real Madrid) 41 Club goals (all competitions): Salah 43, Ronaldo 42 Domestic league goals: Salah 31, Ronaldo 24 Domestic league assists: Salah 9, Ronaldo 5 Champions League goals (includes qualifiers): Salah 11, Ronaldo 15 Champions League assists (includes qualifiers): Salah 4, Ronaldo 2 Braces: Salah 7, Ronaldo 11 Hat-tricks: Salah 0, Ronaldo 1 Four goals in a game: Salah 1, Ronaldo 1 Longest scoring streak: Salah 7 games, Ronaldo 12 games Longest run without a goal: Salah 3 games, Ronaldo 3 games *Includes all competitive games except internationals. How Spanish sides have dominated past decade What are the odds? Real Madrid to win 6/5 Draw 11/4 Liverpool to win 2/1 What is our prediction? Real have not been as dominant as previous seasons, although they still managed to see off PSG, Juventus and Bayern Munich en route to the final. If Liverpool are to win, much will depend on their front three of Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane and their harassing style. There will be goals aplenty, and this feels like Liverpool's time. Predicted score: Liverpool win 4-3 in extra time. Liverpool's Champions League campaign | In Numbers
Champions League final 2018: What time does Liverpool vs Real Madrid kick-off, what TV channel is it on and what is our prediction?
What is it? The wait is nearly over as Real Madrid and Liverpool compete in the final of the European Cup - for the first time since 1981 - in a mouth-watering match that will decide who will be awarded the coveted Champions League trophy. The defending champions and 12-time winners Real are bidding for their third successive title while Liverpool are seeking the sixth in their history. When is it? Saturday, May 26, 2018 - under 48 hours away. Where is it? The 2018 Champions League final will be held at the NSC Olimpiyskiy Stadium in Kiev, Ukraine. It is the home of Dynamo Kiev. The stadium previously hosted the Euro 2012 final and holds a maximum capacity of 63,000 - the second largest in eastern Europe. What time is kick-off? 7.45pm BST. What TV channel is it on? BT Sport 2. But you can also watch the match for free on the BT Sport app or via BTSport.com or follow the game here with Telegraph Sport. How Liverpool can beat Real Madrid in Champions League Final What happened in the semi-finals? In the first semi, Bayern Munich goalkeeper Sven Ulreich committed a huge blunder as holders Real edged into the final. Ulreich missed a backpass to gift a vital second goal to Karim Benzema at the Bernabeu Stadium, and the Frenchman's double in a pulsating 2-2 draw ensured Real progressed 4-3 on aggregate. Bayern had led early through Joshua Kimmich and a strike from James Rodriguez - who is on loan at the German club from Real - set up a tense finish. However, the hosts withstood considerable pressure to keep their bid for a third successive title on track. Just confirming this actually happened and is not a FIFA '18 bugpic.twitter.com/nNsfSDZvm4— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) May 1, 2018 The following night, Liverpool set up a repeat of their 1981 meeting against Real despite a first Champions League defeat of the season at the Stadio Olimpico. A chaotic 4-2 semi-final second leg loss to Roma saw Liverpool progress 7-6 on aggregate, with victory secured thanks to Sadio Mane's 19th of the season and the rare sight of Georginio Wijnaldum's first away goal in almost three years. A fortuitous own goal by James Milner inbetween had put the hosts back in the game, while Edin Dzeko's strike shortly after half-time ensured the Reds endured a testing conclusion and two late goals for Radja Nainngolan - including a penalty with the last kick of the game - came too late for Roma. Roma v Liverpool Can I still get tickets? The window for buying standard tickets is now closed. It ran on Uefa's website from March 15-22. Hospitality tickets are still on sale on Uefa's website, with prices starting from €3,200 per person. How do I get to Kiev? The City has two airports, Zhulyany (8km south-west of the city centre) and Boryspil International (35km east). Public transport includes buses, trolleybuses, trams and an ever-expanding metro system. Blaggers guide to speaking Ukrainian (source Uefa.com) Hello: Привіт – pree-vee'-t How are you?: Як справи? – yak spra'-vee Please: Будь ласка – bood la'-skah Thank you: Дякую – dja-ku'-yu Goodbye: До побачення – doh po-bah'-chen-ya Where is the stadium?: Де знаходиться стадіон? – de zna-kho'-dee-tsja sta-dee-on' Goal: Гол – Ghol Most European Cups What are they saying? Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp has said his team will be "on fire" for the final: "We were in a League Cup final and didn't win it. People don't tell me in the street since then: 'Thank you for bringing us to the final'. We were in the Europa League final too. Nobody tells me thank you. "I see no trophies after these games. They don't hang silver medals at Melwood. That's a pity, but that's the game. There's still a job to do. "You cannot be more experienced in this competition than Real Madrid. "I think 80 per cent of their team played all these finals. They are four times in the last five years and still together. They are experienced, we are not, but we will be really on fire." Liverpool vs Real Madrid: Head-to-head Road to the final Zinedine Zidane's side won their first two games but a home draw with Tottenham followed by a loss at Wembley meant they finished second in their group. Despite failing behind to Paris St Germain at the Bernabeu, they won 5-2 on aggregate in the last 16 then overcame an almighty scare against Juventus, advancing thanks to Cristiano Ronaldo's last-gasp penalty despite a 3-1 home loss. A semi-final first leg victory in Munich proved pivotal as a 2-2 draw with Bayern in Spain got them over the line. Liverpool had to come through a qualifying round against Hoffenheim and then drew the opening two games in their group. They also threw away a three-goal lead against Sevilla in a 3-3 draw but thumped both Maribor and Spartak Moscow to finish top of Group E. They beat Porto 5-0 in the first leg of their last-16 tie, won both legs in the all-English clash with Manchester City and then saw off Roma 7-6 on aggregate following a 5-2 first-leg win at Anfield. Who fizzed and who flopped in the Champions League semi-final decider? Star men Real have the current Ballon d'or winner. Liverpool may have the next one. Cristiano Ronaldo is the Champions League's all-time leading scorer - with 120 goals, Real Madrid's all-time top scorer and a four-time winner of the competition. Ronaldo, who turned 33 this year, has scored 42 club goals this season. Yet Mohamed Salah has already exceeded that tally. The former Roma winger has enjoyed an incredible first season at Anfield, becoming just the third player in Liverpool history to score 40-plus goals in a single season and winning a slew of personal accolades. If he can outshine Ronaldo in Kiev, the ultimate individual prize may be next. Managers Zidane and Jurgen Klopp have experienced contrasting fortunes in finals. The former has won both of the Champions League finals he has been involved in as a boss. Meanwhile, Klopp has lost his previous five finals as a manage, including in the Europa League against Sevilla two seasons ago. Jurgen Klopp celebrates with his players Credit: GETTY IMAGES Tactics Real have not been as dominant as previous seasons, when their BBC (Gareth Bale, Karim Benzema and Ronaldo) strikeforce was in full flow and Luka Modric and Toni Kroos ran the midfield. This team is more pragmatic. Centre-backs Sergio Ramos and Raphael Varane and defensive midfielder Casemiro form a strong spine and Zidane can usually rely on Ronaldo for a moment of magic. Klopp's gegenpressing style has been used to devastating effect this year thanks to the relentless front three of Salah, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane. Liverpool will pin their hopes on that trio and their harassing style. History This is a meeting of the two of the most decorated clubs in the competition's history. No team has won more European Cups than Real Madrid's 12. Los Blancos won five in a row between 1956 and 1960 and last year they become the first club to retain the title in the Champions League era. Only Real and AC Milan have won more European Cups than Liverpool. The five-time winners' most recent success came in an astonishing 2005 final against AC Milan, who exacted revenge in the 2007 final. The Reds also beat Real in the 1981 final when Alan Kennedy scored the winner. Champions League final 2018 | Real Madrid vs Liverpool Salah vs Ronaldo: A comparison Liverpool and Real Madrid will be looking to Mohamed Salah and Cristiano Ronaldo to make the difference for their respective teams on May 26. Here, we look at the numbers behind the two players' astonishing campaigns: Club appearances (all competitions): Salah (Liverpool) 49, Ronaldo (Real Madrid) 41 Club goals (all competitions): Salah 43, Ronaldo 42 Domestic league goals: Salah 31, Ronaldo 24 Domestic league assists: Salah 9, Ronaldo 5 Champions League goals (includes qualifiers): Salah 11, Ronaldo 15 Champions League assists (includes qualifiers): Salah 4, Ronaldo 2 Braces: Salah 7, Ronaldo 11 Hat-tricks: Salah 0, Ronaldo 1 Four goals in a game: Salah 1, Ronaldo 1 Longest scoring streak: Salah 7 games, Ronaldo 12 games Longest run without a goal: Salah 3 games, Ronaldo 3 games *Includes all competitive games except internationals. How Spanish sides have dominated past decade What are the odds? Real Madrid to win 6/5 Draw 11/4 Liverpool to win 2/1 What is our prediction? Real have not been as dominant as previous seasons, although they still managed to see off PSG, Juventus and Bayern Munich en route to the final. If Liverpool are to win, much will depend on their front three of Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane and their harassing style. There will be goals aplenty, and this feels like Liverpool's time. Predicted score: Liverpool win 4-3 in extra time. Liverpool's Champions League campaign | In Numbers
What is it? The wait is nearly over as Real Madrid and Liverpool compete in the final of the European Cup - for the first time since 1981 - in a mouth-watering match that will decide who will be awarded the coveted Champions League trophy. The defending champions and 12-time winners Real are bidding for their third successive title while Liverpool are seeking the sixth in their history. When is it? Saturday, May 26, 2018 - under 48 hours away. Where is it? The 2018 Champions League final will be held at the NSC Olimpiyskiy Stadium in Kiev, Ukraine. It is the home of Dynamo Kiev. The stadium previously hosted the Euro 2012 final and holds a maximum capacity of 63,000 - the second largest in eastern Europe. What time is kick-off? 7.45pm BST. What TV channel is it on? BT Sport 2. But you can also watch the match for free on the BT Sport app or via BTSport.com or follow the game here with Telegraph Sport. How Liverpool can beat Real Madrid in Champions League Final What happened in the semi-finals? In the first semi, Bayern Munich goalkeeper Sven Ulreich committed a huge blunder as holders Real edged into the final. Ulreich missed a backpass to gift a vital second goal to Karim Benzema at the Bernabeu Stadium, and the Frenchman's double in a pulsating 2-2 draw ensured Real progressed 4-3 on aggregate. Bayern had led early through Joshua Kimmich and a strike from James Rodriguez - who is on loan at the German club from Real - set up a tense finish. However, the hosts withstood considerable pressure to keep their bid for a third successive title on track. Just confirming this actually happened and is not a FIFA '18 bugpic.twitter.com/nNsfSDZvm4— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) May 1, 2018 The following night, Liverpool set up a repeat of their 1981 meeting against Real despite a first Champions League defeat of the season at the Stadio Olimpico. A chaotic 4-2 semi-final second leg loss to Roma saw Liverpool progress 7-6 on aggregate, with victory secured thanks to Sadio Mane's 19th of the season and the rare sight of Georginio Wijnaldum's first away goal in almost three years. A fortuitous own goal by James Milner inbetween had put the hosts back in the game, while Edin Dzeko's strike shortly after half-time ensured the Reds endured a testing conclusion and two late goals for Radja Nainngolan - including a penalty with the last kick of the game - came too late for Roma. Roma v Liverpool Can I still get tickets? The window for buying standard tickets is now closed. It ran on Uefa's website from March 15-22. Hospitality tickets are still on sale on Uefa's website, with prices starting from €3,200 per person. How do I get to Kiev? The City has two airports, Zhulyany (8km south-west of the city centre) and Boryspil International (35km east). Public transport includes buses, trolleybuses, trams and an ever-expanding metro system. Blaggers guide to speaking Ukrainian (source Uefa.com) Hello: Привіт – pree-vee'-t How are you?: Як справи? – yak spra'-vee Please: Будь ласка – bood la'-skah Thank you: Дякую – dja-ku'-yu Goodbye: До побачення – doh po-bah'-chen-ya Where is the stadium?: Де знаходиться стадіон? – de zna-kho'-dee-tsja sta-dee-on' Goal: Гол – Ghol Most European Cups What are they saying? Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp has said his team will be "on fire" for the final: "We were in a League Cup final and didn't win it. People don't tell me in the street since then: 'Thank you for bringing us to the final'. We were in the Europa League final too. Nobody tells me thank you. "I see no trophies after these games. They don't hang silver medals at Melwood. That's a pity, but that's the game. There's still a job to do. "You cannot be more experienced in this competition than Real Madrid. "I think 80 per cent of their team played all these finals. They are four times in the last five years and still together. They are experienced, we are not, but we will be really on fire." Liverpool vs Real Madrid: Head-to-head Road to the final Zinedine Zidane's side won their first two games but a home draw with Tottenham followed by a loss at Wembley meant they finished second in their group. Despite failing behind to Paris St Germain at the Bernabeu, they won 5-2 on aggregate in the last 16 then overcame an almighty scare against Juventus, advancing thanks to Cristiano Ronaldo's last-gasp penalty despite a 3-1 home loss. A semi-final first leg victory in Munich proved pivotal as a 2-2 draw with Bayern in Spain got them over the line. Liverpool had to come through a qualifying round against Hoffenheim and then drew the opening two games in their group. They also threw away a three-goal lead against Sevilla in a 3-3 draw but thumped both Maribor and Spartak Moscow to finish top of Group E. They beat Porto 5-0 in the first leg of their last-16 tie, won both legs in the all-English clash with Manchester City and then saw off Roma 7-6 on aggregate following a 5-2 first-leg win at Anfield. Who fizzed and who flopped in the Champions League semi-final decider? Star men Real have the current Ballon d'or winner. Liverpool may have the next one. Cristiano Ronaldo is the Champions League's all-time leading scorer - with 120 goals, Real Madrid's all-time top scorer and a four-time winner of the competition. Ronaldo, who turned 33 this year, has scored 42 club goals this season. Yet Mohamed Salah has already exceeded that tally. The former Roma winger has enjoyed an incredible first season at Anfield, becoming just the third player in Liverpool history to score 40-plus goals in a single season and winning a slew of personal accolades. If he can outshine Ronaldo in Kiev, the ultimate individual prize may be next. Managers Zidane and Jurgen Klopp have experienced contrasting fortunes in finals. The former has won both of the Champions League finals he has been involved in as a boss. Meanwhile, Klopp has lost his previous five finals as a manage, including in the Europa League against Sevilla two seasons ago. Jurgen Klopp celebrates with his players Credit: GETTY IMAGES Tactics Real have not been as dominant as previous seasons, when their BBC (Gareth Bale, Karim Benzema and Ronaldo) strikeforce was in full flow and Luka Modric and Toni Kroos ran the midfield. This team is more pragmatic. Centre-backs Sergio Ramos and Raphael Varane and defensive midfielder Casemiro form a strong spine and Zidane can usually rely on Ronaldo for a moment of magic. Klopp's gegenpressing style has been used to devastating effect this year thanks to the relentless front three of Salah, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane. Liverpool will pin their hopes on that trio and their harassing style. History This is a meeting of the two of the most decorated clubs in the competition's history. No team has won more European Cups than Real Madrid's 12. Los Blancos won five in a row between 1956 and 1960 and last year they become the first club to retain the title in the Champions League era. Only Real and AC Milan have won more European Cups than Liverpool. The five-time winners' most recent success came in an astonishing 2005 final against AC Milan, who exacted revenge in the 2007 final. The Reds also beat Real in the 1981 final when Alan Kennedy scored the winner. Champions League final 2018 | Real Madrid vs Liverpool Salah vs Ronaldo: A comparison Liverpool and Real Madrid will be looking to Mohamed Salah and Cristiano Ronaldo to make the difference for their respective teams on May 26. Here, we look at the numbers behind the two players' astonishing campaigns: Club appearances (all competitions): Salah (Liverpool) 49, Ronaldo (Real Madrid) 41 Club goals (all competitions): Salah 43, Ronaldo 42 Domestic league goals: Salah 31, Ronaldo 24 Domestic league assists: Salah 9, Ronaldo 5 Champions League goals (includes qualifiers): Salah 11, Ronaldo 15 Champions League assists (includes qualifiers): Salah 4, Ronaldo 2 Braces: Salah 7, Ronaldo 11 Hat-tricks: Salah 0, Ronaldo 1 Four goals in a game: Salah 1, Ronaldo 1 Longest scoring streak: Salah 7 games, Ronaldo 12 games Longest run without a goal: Salah 3 games, Ronaldo 3 games *Includes all competitive games except internationals. How Spanish sides have dominated past decade What are the odds? Real Madrid to win 6/5 Draw 11/4 Liverpool to win 2/1 What is our prediction? Real have not been as dominant as previous seasons, although they still managed to see off PSG, Juventus and Bayern Munich en route to the final. If Liverpool are to win, much will depend on their front three of Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane and their harassing style. There will be goals aplenty, and this feels like Liverpool's time. Predicted score: Liverpool win 4-3 in extra time. Liverpool's Champions League campaign | In Numbers
Champions League final 2018: What time does Liverpool vs Real Madrid kick-off, what TV channel is it on and what is our prediction?
What is it? The wait is nearly over as Real Madrid and Liverpool compete in the final of the European Cup - for the first time since 1981 - in a mouth-watering match that will decide who will be awarded the coveted Champions League trophy. The defending champions and 12-time winners Real are bidding for their third successive title while Liverpool are seeking the sixth in their history. When is it? Saturday, May 26, 2018 - under 48 hours away. Where is it? The 2018 Champions League final will be held at the NSC Olimpiyskiy Stadium in Kiev, Ukraine. It is the home of Dynamo Kiev. The stadium previously hosted the Euro 2012 final and holds a maximum capacity of 63,000 - the second largest in eastern Europe. What time is kick-off? 7.45pm BST. What TV channel is it on? BT Sport 2. But you can also watch the match for free on the BT Sport app or via BTSport.com or follow the game here with Telegraph Sport. How Liverpool can beat Real Madrid in Champions League Final What happened in the semi-finals? In the first semi, Bayern Munich goalkeeper Sven Ulreich committed a huge blunder as holders Real edged into the final. Ulreich missed a backpass to gift a vital second goal to Karim Benzema at the Bernabeu Stadium, and the Frenchman's double in a pulsating 2-2 draw ensured Real progressed 4-3 on aggregate. Bayern had led early through Joshua Kimmich and a strike from James Rodriguez - who is on loan at the German club from Real - set up a tense finish. However, the hosts withstood considerable pressure to keep their bid for a third successive title on track. Just confirming this actually happened and is not a FIFA '18 bugpic.twitter.com/nNsfSDZvm4— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) May 1, 2018 The following night, Liverpool set up a repeat of their 1981 meeting against Real despite a first Champions League defeat of the season at the Stadio Olimpico. A chaotic 4-2 semi-final second leg loss to Roma saw Liverpool progress 7-6 on aggregate, with victory secured thanks to Sadio Mane's 19th of the season and the rare sight of Georginio Wijnaldum's first away goal in almost three years. A fortuitous own goal by James Milner inbetween had put the hosts back in the game, while Edin Dzeko's strike shortly after half-time ensured the Reds endured a testing conclusion and two late goals for Radja Nainngolan - including a penalty with the last kick of the game - came too late for Roma. Roma v Liverpool Can I still get tickets? The window for buying standard tickets is now closed. It ran on Uefa's website from March 15-22. Hospitality tickets are still on sale on Uefa's website, with prices starting from €3,200 per person. How do I get to Kiev? The City has two airports, Zhulyany (8km south-west of the city centre) and Boryspil International (35km east). Public transport includes buses, trolleybuses, trams and an ever-expanding metro system. Blaggers guide to speaking Ukrainian (source Uefa.com) Hello: Привіт – pree-vee'-t How are you?: Як справи? – yak spra'-vee Please: Будь ласка – bood la'-skah Thank you: Дякую – dja-ku'-yu Goodbye: До побачення – doh po-bah'-chen-ya Where is the stadium?: Де знаходиться стадіон? – de zna-kho'-dee-tsja sta-dee-on' Goal: Гол – Ghol Most European Cups What are they saying? Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp has said his team will be "on fire" for the final: "We were in a League Cup final and didn't win it. People don't tell me in the street since then: 'Thank you for bringing us to the final'. We were in the Europa League final too. Nobody tells me thank you. "I see no trophies after these games. They don't hang silver medals at Melwood. That's a pity, but that's the game. There's still a job to do. "You cannot be more experienced in this competition than Real Madrid. "I think 80 per cent of their team played all these finals. They are four times in the last five years and still together. They are experienced, we are not, but we will be really on fire." Liverpool vs Real Madrid: Head-to-head Road to the final Zinedine Zidane's side won their first two games but a home draw with Tottenham followed by a loss at Wembley meant they finished second in their group. Despite failing behind to Paris St Germain at the Bernabeu, they won 5-2 on aggregate in the last 16 then overcame an almighty scare against Juventus, advancing thanks to Cristiano Ronaldo's last-gasp penalty despite a 3-1 home loss. A semi-final first leg victory in Munich proved pivotal as a 2-2 draw with Bayern in Spain got them over the line. Liverpool had to come through a qualifying round against Hoffenheim and then drew the opening two games in their group. They also threw away a three-goal lead against Sevilla in a 3-3 draw but thumped both Maribor and Spartak Moscow to finish top of Group E. They beat Porto 5-0 in the first leg of their last-16 tie, won both legs in the all-English clash with Manchester City and then saw off Roma 7-6 on aggregate following a 5-2 first-leg win at Anfield. Who fizzed and who flopped in the Champions League semi-final decider? Star men Real have the current Ballon d'or winner. Liverpool may have the next one. Cristiano Ronaldo is the Champions League's all-time leading scorer - with 120 goals, Real Madrid's all-time top scorer and a four-time winner of the competition. Ronaldo, who turned 33 this year, has scored 42 club goals this season. Yet Mohamed Salah has already exceeded that tally. The former Roma winger has enjoyed an incredible first season at Anfield, becoming just the third player in Liverpool history to score 40-plus goals in a single season and winning a slew of personal accolades. If he can outshine Ronaldo in Kiev, the ultimate individual prize may be next. Managers Zidane and Jurgen Klopp have experienced contrasting fortunes in finals. The former has won both of the Champions League finals he has been involved in as a boss. Meanwhile, Klopp has lost his previous five finals as a manage, including in the Europa League against Sevilla two seasons ago. Jurgen Klopp celebrates with his players Credit: GETTY IMAGES Tactics Real have not been as dominant as previous seasons, when their BBC (Gareth Bale, Karim Benzema and Ronaldo) strikeforce was in full flow and Luka Modric and Toni Kroos ran the midfield. This team is more pragmatic. Centre-backs Sergio Ramos and Raphael Varane and defensive midfielder Casemiro form a strong spine and Zidane can usually rely on Ronaldo for a moment of magic. Klopp's gegenpressing style has been used to devastating effect this year thanks to the relentless front three of Salah, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane. Liverpool will pin their hopes on that trio and their harassing style. History This is a meeting of the two of the most decorated clubs in the competition's history. No team has won more European Cups than Real Madrid's 12. Los Blancos won five in a row between 1956 and 1960 and last year they become the first club to retain the title in the Champions League era. Only Real and AC Milan have won more European Cups than Liverpool. The five-time winners' most recent success came in an astonishing 2005 final against AC Milan, who exacted revenge in the 2007 final. The Reds also beat Real in the 1981 final when Alan Kennedy scored the winner. Champions League final 2018 | Real Madrid vs Liverpool Salah vs Ronaldo: A comparison Liverpool and Real Madrid will be looking to Mohamed Salah and Cristiano Ronaldo to make the difference for their respective teams on May 26. Here, we look at the numbers behind the two players' astonishing campaigns: Club appearances (all competitions): Salah (Liverpool) 49, Ronaldo (Real Madrid) 41 Club goals (all competitions): Salah 43, Ronaldo 42 Domestic league goals: Salah 31, Ronaldo 24 Domestic league assists: Salah 9, Ronaldo 5 Champions League goals (includes qualifiers): Salah 11, Ronaldo 15 Champions League assists (includes qualifiers): Salah 4, Ronaldo 2 Braces: Salah 7, Ronaldo 11 Hat-tricks: Salah 0, Ronaldo 1 Four goals in a game: Salah 1, Ronaldo 1 Longest scoring streak: Salah 7 games, Ronaldo 12 games Longest run without a goal: Salah 3 games, Ronaldo 3 games *Includes all competitive games except internationals. How Spanish sides have dominated past decade What are the odds? Real Madrid to win 6/5 Draw 11/4 Liverpool to win 2/1 What is our prediction? Real have not been as dominant as previous seasons, although they still managed to see off PSG, Juventus and Bayern Munich en route to the final. If Liverpool are to win, much will depend on their front three of Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane and their harassing style. There will be goals aplenty, and this feels like Liverpool's time. Predicted score: Liverpool win 4-3 in extra time. Liverpool's Champions League campaign | In Numbers
Missing out on the most iconic photograph Take a look at the most memorable image of Steven Gerrard lifting the European Cup. Behind the red ticker-tape on the podium, I should be standing to his right, but just as he went to lift the trophy I had an attack of cramp and fell on my knees. Whoever sees that photograph now sees the Spanish right-back Josemi – an unused substitute. I’m hidden from view, shouting in agony. Jamie Carragher should be to Steven Gerrard's right - but an attack of cramp has floored him Credit: PA Getting Paolo Maldini’s shirt after the game I would love to say I swapped shirts with Maldini, one of the greatest players of all time, in some grand, respectful gesture at full-time. What really happened is the AC Milan players were so upset, they slung their kits and medals and left sharpish. Our younger players – part of the travelling squad - went into the deserted dressing room, took the shirts and losers medals and handed them out. I got Maldini’s shirt, and to this day some of the squad players have the losers’ medals. Carragher nabbed Maldini's shirt after the game Credit: AP Spotting my family in the crowd The Ataturk Stadium holds 76,000 people, yet at the final whistle when I ran to celebrate with the supporters, who was the first person I spotted? My cousin, Jamie, was right near the front of the stand with other friends and family. The photographers again caught the moment. Talk about fate. I still struggle to put into words the sheer joy of that moment. I love that photograph. It shows what winning means, not just to the players, but to supporters and everyone who goes on that journey with us. Jamie Carragher celebrates with his family after the 2005 final Credit: Liverpool Echo Didi Hamann’s cigar Didi Hamann arrived at Liverpool with the reputation of being one of those ultra-professional German footballers who had inflicted years of hurt on English football. European Cup final 2018 | Real Madrid vs Liverpool Remember how we perceived them? Robotic. It could not have been further from the truth. Didi was like the world’s biggest Scouser at Liverpool and led the celebrations during the good times. After our win in Istanbul, he dragged our Chairman, David Moores, into the shower and they shared the biggest cigar they could get their hands on. The homecoming After our victory we enjoyed the traditional open top bus tour of Liverpool, which was again one of those most incredible experiences. Afterwards the players partied at the Sir Thomas St Hotel in the city centre. I would like to tell you how long it went on for, but the memories remain sketchy. I have a vague recollection of a few of us getting some stares as we wondered around in our Liverpool tracksuits, trying to get a cab at 5am the next morning. Liverpool's players enjoy their open-top bus tour in 2005, before their heavy night on the town Credit: Getty Images Europe
Jamie Carragher: A cramp attack, swiping Maldini's shirt and cigars in the showers - five Istanbul memories
Missing out on the most iconic photograph Take a look at the most memorable image of Steven Gerrard lifting the European Cup. Behind the red ticker-tape on the podium, I should be standing to his right, but just as he went to lift the trophy I had an attack of cramp and fell on my knees. Whoever sees that photograph now sees the Spanish right-back Josemi – an unused substitute. I’m hidden from view, shouting in agony. Jamie Carragher should be to Steven Gerrard's right - but an attack of cramp has floored him Credit: PA Getting Paolo Maldini’s shirt after the game I would love to say I swapped shirts with Maldini, one of the greatest players of all time, in some grand, respectful gesture at full-time. What really happened is the AC Milan players were so upset, they slung their kits and medals and left sharpish. Our younger players – part of the travelling squad - went into the deserted dressing room, took the shirts and losers medals and handed them out. I got Maldini’s shirt, and to this day some of the squad players have the losers’ medals. Carragher nabbed Maldini's shirt after the game Credit: AP Spotting my family in the crowd The Ataturk Stadium holds 76,000 people, yet at the final whistle when I ran to celebrate with the supporters, who was the first person I spotted? My cousin, Jamie, was right near the front of the stand with other friends and family. The photographers again caught the moment. Talk about fate. I still struggle to put into words the sheer joy of that moment. I love that photograph. It shows what winning means, not just to the players, but to supporters and everyone who goes on that journey with us. Jamie Carragher celebrates with his family after the 2005 final Credit: Liverpool Echo Didi Hamann’s cigar Didi Hamann arrived at Liverpool with the reputation of being one of those ultra-professional German footballers who had inflicted years of hurt on English football. European Cup final 2018 | Real Madrid vs Liverpool Remember how we perceived them? Robotic. It could not have been further from the truth. Didi was like the world’s biggest Scouser at Liverpool and led the celebrations during the good times. After our win in Istanbul, he dragged our Chairman, David Moores, into the shower and they shared the biggest cigar they could get their hands on. The homecoming After our victory we enjoyed the traditional open top bus tour of Liverpool, which was again one of those most incredible experiences. Afterwards the players partied at the Sir Thomas St Hotel in the city centre. I would like to tell you how long it went on for, but the memories remain sketchy. I have a vague recollection of a few of us getting some stares as we wondered around in our Liverpool tracksuits, trying to get a cab at 5am the next morning. Liverpool's players enjoy their open-top bus tour in 2005, before their heavy night on the town Credit: Getty Images Europe
Missing out on the most iconic photograph Take a look at the most memorable image of Steven Gerrard lifting the European Cup. Behind the red ticker-tape on the podium, I should be standing to his right, but just as he went to lift the trophy I had an attack of cramp and fell on my knees. Whoever sees that photograph now sees the Spanish right-back Josemi – an unused substitute. I’m hidden from view, shouting in agony. Jamie Carragher should be to Steven Gerrard's right - but an attack of cramp has floored him Credit: PA Getting Paolo Maldini’s shirt after the game I would love to say I swapped shirts with Maldini, one of the greatest players of all time, in some grand, respectful gesture at full-time. What really happened is the AC Milan players were so upset, they slung their kits and medals and left sharpish. Our younger players – part of the travelling squad - went into the deserted dressing room, took the shirts and losers medals and handed them out. I got Maldini’s shirt, and to this day some of the squad players have the losers’ medals. Carragher nabbed Maldini's shirt after the game Credit: AP Spotting my family in the crowd The Ataturk Stadium holds 76,000 people, yet at the final whistle when I ran to celebrate with the supporters, who was the first person I spotted? My cousin, Jamie, was right near the front of the stand with other friends and family. The photographers again caught the moment. Talk about fate. I still struggle to put into words the sheer joy of that moment. I love that photograph. It shows what winning means, not just to the players, but to supporters and everyone who goes on that journey with us. Jamie Carragher celebrates with his family after the 2005 final Credit: Liverpool Echo Didi Hamann’s cigar Didi Hamann arrived at Liverpool with the reputation of being one of those ultra-professional German footballers who had inflicted years of hurt on English football. European Cup final 2018 | Real Madrid vs Liverpool Remember how we perceived them? Robotic. It could not have been further from the truth. Didi was like the world’s biggest Scouser at Liverpool and led the celebrations during the good times. After our win in Istanbul, he dragged our Chairman, David Moores, into the shower and they shared the biggest cigar they could get their hands on. The homecoming After our victory we enjoyed the traditional open top bus tour of Liverpool, which was again one of those most incredible experiences. Afterwards the players partied at the Sir Thomas St Hotel in the city centre. I would like to tell you how long it went on for, but the memories remain sketchy. I have a vague recollection of a few of us getting some stares as we wondered around in our Liverpool tracksuits, trying to get a cab at 5am the next morning. Liverpool's players enjoy their open-top bus tour in 2005, before their heavy night on the town Credit: Getty Images Europe
Jamie Carragher: A cramp attack, swiping Maldini's shirt and cigars in the showers - five Istanbul memories
Missing out on the most iconic photograph Take a look at the most memorable image of Steven Gerrard lifting the European Cup. Behind the red ticker-tape on the podium, I should be standing to his right, but just as he went to lift the trophy I had an attack of cramp and fell on my knees. Whoever sees that photograph now sees the Spanish right-back Josemi – an unused substitute. I’m hidden from view, shouting in agony. Jamie Carragher should be to Steven Gerrard's right - but an attack of cramp has floored him Credit: PA Getting Paolo Maldini’s shirt after the game I would love to say I swapped shirts with Maldini, one of the greatest players of all time, in some grand, respectful gesture at full-time. What really happened is the AC Milan players were so upset, they slung their kits and medals and left sharpish. Our younger players – part of the travelling squad - went into the deserted dressing room, took the shirts and losers medals and handed them out. I got Maldini’s shirt, and to this day some of the squad players have the losers’ medals. Carragher nabbed Maldini's shirt after the game Credit: AP Spotting my family in the crowd The Ataturk Stadium holds 76,000 people, yet at the final whistle when I ran to celebrate with the supporters, who was the first person I spotted? My cousin, Jamie, was right near the front of the stand with other friends and family. The photographers again caught the moment. Talk about fate. I still struggle to put into words the sheer joy of that moment. I love that photograph. It shows what winning means, not just to the players, but to supporters and everyone who goes on that journey with us. Jamie Carragher celebrates with his family after the 2005 final Credit: Liverpool Echo Didi Hamann’s cigar Didi Hamann arrived at Liverpool with the reputation of being one of those ultra-professional German footballers who had inflicted years of hurt on English football. European Cup final 2018 | Real Madrid vs Liverpool Remember how we perceived them? Robotic. It could not have been further from the truth. Didi was like the world’s biggest Scouser at Liverpool and led the celebrations during the good times. After our win in Istanbul, he dragged our Chairman, David Moores, into the shower and they shared the biggest cigar they could get their hands on. The homecoming After our victory we enjoyed the traditional open top bus tour of Liverpool, which was again one of those most incredible experiences. Afterwards the players partied at the Sir Thomas St Hotel in the city centre. I would like to tell you how long it went on for, but the memories remain sketchy. I have a vague recollection of a few of us getting some stares as we wondered around in our Liverpool tracksuits, trying to get a cab at 5am the next morning. Liverpool's players enjoy their open-top bus tour in 2005, before their heavy night on the town Credit: Getty Images Europe
Missing out on the most iconic photograph Take a look at the most memorable image of Steven Gerrard lifting the European Cup. Behind the red ticker-tape on the podium, I should be standing to his right, but just as he went to lift the trophy I had an attack of cramp and fell on my knees. Whoever sees that photograph now sees the Spanish right-back Josemi – an unused substitute. I’m hidden from view, shouting in agony. Jamie Carragher should be to Steven Gerrard's right - but an attack of cramp has floored him Credit: PA Getting Paolo Maldini’s shirt after the game I would love to say I swapped shirts with Maldini, one of the greatest players of all time, in some grand, respectful gesture at full-time. What really happened is the AC Milan players were so upset, they slung their kits and medals and left sharpish. Our younger players – part of the travelling squad - went into the deserted dressing room, took the shirts and losers medals and handed them out. I got Maldini’s shirt, and to this day some of the squad players have the losers’ medals. Carragher nabbed Maldini's shirt after the game Credit: AP Spotting my family in the crowd The Ataturk Stadium holds 76,000 people, yet at the final whistle when I ran to celebrate with the supporters, who was the first person I spotted? My cousin, Jamie, was right near the front of the stand with other friends and family. The photographers again caught the moment. Talk about fate. I still struggle to put into words the sheer joy of that moment. I love that photograph. It shows what winning means, not just to the players, but to supporters and everyone who goes on that journey with us. Jamie Carragher celebrates with his family after the 2005 final Credit: Liverpool Echo Didi Hamann’s cigar Didi Hamann arrived at Liverpool with the reputation of being one of those ultra-professional German footballers who had inflicted years of hurt on English football. European Cup final 2018 | Real Madrid vs Liverpool Remember how we perceived them? Robotic. It could not have been further from the truth. Didi was like the world’s biggest Scouser at Liverpool and led the celebrations during the good times. After our win in Istanbul, he dragged our Chairman, David Moores, into the shower and they shared the biggest cigar they could get their hands on. The homecoming After our victory we enjoyed the traditional open top bus tour of Liverpool, which was again one of those most incredible experiences. Afterwards the players partied at the Sir Thomas St Hotel in the city centre. I would like to tell you how long it went on for, but the memories remain sketchy. I have a vague recollection of a few of us getting some stares as we wondered around in our Liverpool tracksuits, trying to get a cab at 5am the next morning. Liverpool's players enjoy their open-top bus tour in 2005, before their heavy night on the town Credit: Getty Images Europe
Jamie Carragher: A cramp attack, swiping Maldini's shirt and cigars in the showers - five Istanbul memories
Missing out on the most iconic photograph Take a look at the most memorable image of Steven Gerrard lifting the European Cup. Behind the red ticker-tape on the podium, I should be standing to his right, but just as he went to lift the trophy I had an attack of cramp and fell on my knees. Whoever sees that photograph now sees the Spanish right-back Josemi – an unused substitute. I’m hidden from view, shouting in agony. Jamie Carragher should be to Steven Gerrard's right - but an attack of cramp has floored him Credit: PA Getting Paolo Maldini’s shirt after the game I would love to say I swapped shirts with Maldini, one of the greatest players of all time, in some grand, respectful gesture at full-time. What really happened is the AC Milan players were so upset, they slung their kits and medals and left sharpish. Our younger players – part of the travelling squad - went into the deserted dressing room, took the shirts and losers medals and handed them out. I got Maldini’s shirt, and to this day some of the squad players have the losers’ medals. Carragher nabbed Maldini's shirt after the game Credit: AP Spotting my family in the crowd The Ataturk Stadium holds 76,000 people, yet at the final whistle when I ran to celebrate with the supporters, who was the first person I spotted? My cousin, Jamie, was right near the front of the stand with other friends and family. The photographers again caught the moment. Talk about fate. I still struggle to put into words the sheer joy of that moment. I love that photograph. It shows what winning means, not just to the players, but to supporters and everyone who goes on that journey with us. Jamie Carragher celebrates with his family after the 2005 final Credit: Liverpool Echo Didi Hamann’s cigar Didi Hamann arrived at Liverpool with the reputation of being one of those ultra-professional German footballers who had inflicted years of hurt on English football. European Cup final 2018 | Real Madrid vs Liverpool Remember how we perceived them? Robotic. It could not have been further from the truth. Didi was like the world’s biggest Scouser at Liverpool and led the celebrations during the good times. After our win in Istanbul, he dragged our Chairman, David Moores, into the shower and they shared the biggest cigar they could get their hands on. The homecoming After our victory we enjoyed the traditional open top bus tour of Liverpool, which was again one of those most incredible experiences. Afterwards the players partied at the Sir Thomas St Hotel in the city centre. I would like to tell you how long it went on for, but the memories remain sketchy. I have a vague recollection of a few of us getting some stares as we wondered around in our Liverpool tracksuits, trying to get a cab at 5am the next morning. Liverpool's players enjoy their open-top bus tour in 2005, before their heavy night on the town Credit: Getty Images Europe
Missing out on the most iconic photograph Take a look at the most memorable image of Steven Gerrard lifting the European Cup. Behind the red ticker-tape on the podium, I should be standing to his right, but just as he went to lift the trophy I had an attack of cramp and fell on my knees. Whoever sees that photograph now sees the Spanish right-back Josemi – an unused substitute. I’m hidden from view, shouting in agony. Jamie Carragher should be to Steven Gerrard's right - but an attack of cramp has floored him Credit: PA Getting Paolo Maldini’s shirt after the game I would love to say I swapped shirts with Maldini, one of the greatest players of all time, in some grand, respectful gesture at full-time. What really happened is the AC Milan players were so upset, they slung their kits and medals and left sharpish. Our younger players – part of the travelling squad - went into the deserted dressing room, took the shirts and losers medals and handed them out. I got Maldini’s shirt, and to this day some of the squad players have the losers’ medals. Carragher nabbed Maldini's shirt after the game Credit: AP Spotting my family in the crowd The Ataturk Stadium holds 76,000 people, yet at the final whistle when I ran to celebrate with the supporters, who was the first person I spotted? My cousin, Jamie, was right near the front of the stand with other friends and family. The photographers again caught the moment. Talk about fate. I still struggle to put into words the sheer joy of that moment. I love that photograph. It shows what winning means, not just to the players, but to supporters and everyone who goes on that journey with us. Jamie Carragher celebrates with his family after the 2005 final Credit: Liverpool Echo Didi Hamann’s cigar Didi Hamann arrived at Liverpool with the reputation of being one of those ultra-professional German footballers who had inflicted years of hurt on English football. European Cup final 2018 | Real Madrid vs Liverpool Remember how we perceived them? Robotic. It could not have been further from the truth. Didi was like the world’s biggest Scouser at Liverpool and led the celebrations during the good times. After our win in Istanbul, he dragged our Chairman, David Moores, into the shower and they shared the biggest cigar they could get their hands on. The homecoming After our victory we enjoyed the traditional open top bus tour of Liverpool, which was again one of those most incredible experiences. Afterwards the players partied at the Sir Thomas St Hotel in the city centre. I would like to tell you how long it went on for, but the memories remain sketchy. I have a vague recollection of a few of us getting some stares as we wondered around in our Liverpool tracksuits, trying to get a cab at 5am the next morning. Liverpool's players enjoy their open-top bus tour in 2005, before their heavy night on the town Credit: Getty Images Europe
Jamie Carragher: A cramp attack, swiping Maldini's shirt and cigars in the showers - five Istanbul memories
Missing out on the most iconic photograph Take a look at the most memorable image of Steven Gerrard lifting the European Cup. Behind the red ticker-tape on the podium, I should be standing to his right, but just as he went to lift the trophy I had an attack of cramp and fell on my knees. Whoever sees that photograph now sees the Spanish right-back Josemi – an unused substitute. I’m hidden from view, shouting in agony. Jamie Carragher should be to Steven Gerrard's right - but an attack of cramp has floored him Credit: PA Getting Paolo Maldini’s shirt after the game I would love to say I swapped shirts with Maldini, one of the greatest players of all time, in some grand, respectful gesture at full-time. What really happened is the AC Milan players were so upset, they slung their kits and medals and left sharpish. Our younger players – part of the travelling squad - went into the deserted dressing room, took the shirts and losers medals and handed them out. I got Maldini’s shirt, and to this day some of the squad players have the losers’ medals. Carragher nabbed Maldini's shirt after the game Credit: AP Spotting my family in the crowd The Ataturk Stadium holds 76,000 people, yet at the final whistle when I ran to celebrate with the supporters, who was the first person I spotted? My cousin, Jamie, was right near the front of the stand with other friends and family. The photographers again caught the moment. Talk about fate. I still struggle to put into words the sheer joy of that moment. I love that photograph. It shows what winning means, not just to the players, but to supporters and everyone who goes on that journey with us. Jamie Carragher celebrates with his family after the 2005 final Credit: Liverpool Echo Didi Hamann’s cigar Didi Hamann arrived at Liverpool with the reputation of being one of those ultra-professional German footballers who had inflicted years of hurt on English football. European Cup final 2018 | Real Madrid vs Liverpool Remember how we perceived them? Robotic. It could not have been further from the truth. Didi was like the world’s biggest Scouser at Liverpool and led the celebrations during the good times. After our win in Istanbul, he dragged our Chairman, David Moores, into the shower and they shared the biggest cigar they could get their hands on. The homecoming After our victory we enjoyed the traditional open top bus tour of Liverpool, which was again one of those most incredible experiences. Afterwards the players partied at the Sir Thomas St Hotel in the city centre. I would like to tell you how long it went on for, but the memories remain sketchy. I have a vague recollection of a few of us getting some stares as we wondered around in our Liverpool tracksuits, trying to get a cab at 5am the next morning. Liverpool's players enjoy their open-top bus tour in 2005, before their heavy night on the town Credit: Getty Images Europe
Missing out on the most iconic photograph Take a look at the most memorable image of Steven Gerrard lifting the European Cup. Behind the red ticker-tape on the podium, I should be standing to his right, but just as he went to lift the trophy I had an attack of cramp and fell on my knees. Whoever sees that photograph now sees the Spanish right-back Josemi – an unused substitute. I’m hidden from view, shouting in agony. Jamie Carragher should be to Steven Gerrard's right - but an attack of cramp has floored him Credit: PA Getting Paolo Maldini’s shirt after the game I would love to say I swapped shirts with Maldini, one of the greatest players of all time, in some grand, respectful gesture at full-time. What really happened is the AC Milan players were so upset, they slung their kits and medals and left sharpish. Our younger players – part of the travelling squad - went into the deserted dressing room, took the shirts and losers medals and handed them out. I got Maldini’s shirt, and to this day some of the squad players have the losers’ medals. Carragher nabbed Maldini's shirt after the game Credit: AP Spotting my family in the crowd The Ataturk Stadium holds 76,000 people, yet at the final whistle when I ran to celebrate with the supporters, who was the first person I spotted? My cousin, Jamie, was right near the front of the stand with other friends and family. The photographers again caught the moment. Talk about fate. I still struggle to put into words the sheer joy of that moment. I love that photograph. It shows what winning means, not just to the players, but to supporters and everyone who goes on that journey with us. Jamie Carragher celebrates with his family after the 2005 final Credit: Liverpool Echo Didi Hamann’s cigar Didi Hamann arrived at Liverpool with the reputation of being one of those ultra-professional German footballers who had inflicted years of hurt on English football. European Cup final 2018 | Real Madrid vs Liverpool Remember how we perceived them? Robotic. It could not have been further from the truth. Didi was like the world’s biggest Scouser at Liverpool and led the celebrations during the good times. After our win in Istanbul, he dragged our Chairman, David Moores, into the shower and they shared the biggest cigar they could get their hands on. The homecoming After our victory we enjoyed the traditional open top bus tour of Liverpool, which was again one of those most incredible experiences. Afterwards the players partied at the Sir Thomas St Hotel in the city centre. I would like to tell you how long it went on for, but the memories remain sketchy. I have a vague recollection of a few of us getting some stares as we wondered around in our Liverpool tracksuits, trying to get a cab at 5am the next morning. Liverpool's players enjoy their open-top bus tour in 2005, before their heavy night on the town Credit: Getty Images Europe
Jamie Carragher: A cramp attack, swiping Maldini's shirt and cigars in the showers - five Istanbul memories
Missing out on the most iconic photograph Take a look at the most memorable image of Steven Gerrard lifting the European Cup. Behind the red ticker-tape on the podium, I should be standing to his right, but just as he went to lift the trophy I had an attack of cramp and fell on my knees. Whoever sees that photograph now sees the Spanish right-back Josemi – an unused substitute. I’m hidden from view, shouting in agony. Jamie Carragher should be to Steven Gerrard's right - but an attack of cramp has floored him Credit: PA Getting Paolo Maldini’s shirt after the game I would love to say I swapped shirts with Maldini, one of the greatest players of all time, in some grand, respectful gesture at full-time. What really happened is the AC Milan players were so upset, they slung their kits and medals and left sharpish. Our younger players – part of the travelling squad - went into the deserted dressing room, took the shirts and losers medals and handed them out. I got Maldini’s shirt, and to this day some of the squad players have the losers’ medals. Carragher nabbed Maldini's shirt after the game Credit: AP Spotting my family in the crowd The Ataturk Stadium holds 76,000 people, yet at the final whistle when I ran to celebrate with the supporters, who was the first person I spotted? My cousin, Jamie, was right near the front of the stand with other friends and family. The photographers again caught the moment. Talk about fate. I still struggle to put into words the sheer joy of that moment. I love that photograph. It shows what winning means, not just to the players, but to supporters and everyone who goes on that journey with us. Jamie Carragher celebrates with his family after the 2005 final Credit: Liverpool Echo Didi Hamann’s cigar Didi Hamann arrived at Liverpool with the reputation of being one of those ultra-professional German footballers who had inflicted years of hurt on English football. European Cup final 2018 | Real Madrid vs Liverpool Remember how we perceived them? Robotic. It could not have been further from the truth. Didi was like the world’s biggest Scouser at Liverpool and led the celebrations during the good times. After our win in Istanbul, he dragged our Chairman, David Moores, into the shower and they shared the biggest cigar they could get their hands on. The homecoming After our victory we enjoyed the traditional open top bus tour of Liverpool, which was again one of those most incredible experiences. Afterwards the players partied at the Sir Thomas St Hotel in the city centre. I would like to tell you how long it went on for, but the memories remain sketchy. I have a vague recollection of a few of us getting some stares as we wondered around in our Liverpool tracksuits, trying to get a cab at 5am the next morning. Liverpool's players enjoy their open-top bus tour in 2005, before their heavy night on the town Credit: Getty Images Europe
Missing out on the most iconic photograph Take a look at the most memorable image of Steven Gerrard lifting the European Cup. Behind the red ticker-tape on the podium, I should be standing to his right, but just as he went to lift the trophy I had an attack of cramp and fell on my knees. Whoever sees that photograph now sees the Spanish right-back Josemi – an unused substitute. I’m hidden from view, shouting in agony. Jamie Carragher is nowhere to be seen Credit: Getty images Getting Paolo Maldini’s shirt after the game I would love to say I swapped shirts with Maldini, one of the greatest players of all time, in some grand, respectful gesture at full-time. What really happened is the AC Milan players were so upset, they slung their kits and medals and left sharpish. Our younger players – part of the travelling squad - went into the deserted dressing room, took the shirts and losers medals and handed them out. I got Maldini’s shirt, and to this day some of the squad players have the losers’ medals. Carragher nabbed Maldini's shirt after the game Credit: AP Spotting my family in the crowd The Ataturk Stadium holds 76,000 people, yet at the final whistle when I ran to celebrate with the supporters, who was the first person I spotted? My cousin, Jamie, was right near the front of the stand with other friends and family. The photographers again caught the moment. Talk about fate. I still struggle to put into words the sheer joy of that moment. I love that photograph. It shows what winning means, not just to the players, but to supporters and everyone who goes on that journey with us. Didi Hamann’s cigar Didi Hamann arrived at Liverpool with the reputation of being one of those ultra-professional German footballers who had inflicted years of hurt on English football. European Cup final 2018 | Real Madrid vs Liverpool Remember how we perceived them? Robotic. It could not have been further from the truth. Didi was like the world’s biggest Scouser at Liverpool and led the celebrations during the good times. After our win in Istanbul, he dragged our Chairman, David Moores, into the shower and they shared the biggest cigar they could get their hands on. The homecoming After our victory we enjoyed the traditional open top bus tour of Liverpool, which was again one of those most incredible experiences. Afterwards the players partied at the Sir Thomas St Hotel in the city centre. I would like to tell you how long it went on for, but the memories remain sketchy. I have a vague recollection of a few of us getting some stares as we wondered around in our Liverpool tracksuits, trying to get a cab at 5am the next morning.
Jamie Carragher: A cramp attack, swiping Maldini's shirt and cigars in the showers - five Istanbul memories
Missing out on the most iconic photograph Take a look at the most memorable image of Steven Gerrard lifting the European Cup. Behind the red ticker-tape on the podium, I should be standing to his right, but just as he went to lift the trophy I had an attack of cramp and fell on my knees. Whoever sees that photograph now sees the Spanish right-back Josemi – an unused substitute. I’m hidden from view, shouting in agony. Jamie Carragher is nowhere to be seen Credit: Getty images Getting Paolo Maldini’s shirt after the game I would love to say I swapped shirts with Maldini, one of the greatest players of all time, in some grand, respectful gesture at full-time. What really happened is the AC Milan players were so upset, they slung their kits and medals and left sharpish. Our younger players – part of the travelling squad - went into the deserted dressing room, took the shirts and losers medals and handed them out. I got Maldini’s shirt, and to this day some of the squad players have the losers’ medals. Carragher nabbed Maldini's shirt after the game Credit: AP Spotting my family in the crowd The Ataturk Stadium holds 76,000 people, yet at the final whistle when I ran to celebrate with the supporters, who was the first person I spotted? My cousin, Jamie, was right near the front of the stand with other friends and family. The photographers again caught the moment. Talk about fate. I still struggle to put into words the sheer joy of that moment. I love that photograph. It shows what winning means, not just to the players, but to supporters and everyone who goes on that journey with us. Didi Hamann’s cigar Didi Hamann arrived at Liverpool with the reputation of being one of those ultra-professional German footballers who had inflicted years of hurt on English football. European Cup final 2018 | Real Madrid vs Liverpool Remember how we perceived them? Robotic. It could not have been further from the truth. Didi was like the world’s biggest Scouser at Liverpool and led the celebrations during the good times. After our win in Istanbul, he dragged our Chairman, David Moores, into the shower and they shared the biggest cigar they could get their hands on. The homecoming After our victory we enjoyed the traditional open top bus tour of Liverpool, which was again one of those most incredible experiences. Afterwards the players partied at the Sir Thomas St Hotel in the city centre. I would like to tell you how long it went on for, but the memories remain sketchy. I have a vague recollection of a few of us getting some stares as we wondered around in our Liverpool tracksuits, trying to get a cab at 5am the next morning.
I need only talk about the venue and the memories come pouring back. Istanbul. Say the word at Anfield and that is enough. It is the same for Paris and Rome. To some they conjure images of landmarks from Europe’s greatest cities. For Liverpool supporters these locations are inseparable from the pictures of Emlyn Hughes, Phil Thompson, Graeme Souness and Steven Gerrard lifting the European Cup. I played 737 games for Liverpool. No matter where I go, supporters ask about one. My career – and that of each of my teammates on that glorious evening in the Ataturk Stadium - is defined by victory over AC Milan in 2005. Everything I aspired to be as a footballer was geared towards preparing me for that moment. Everything I aspired to after was about maintaining the standard that helped achieve that ambition. The reputation of those of us who won that night is bonded for eternity. Many years ago I watched a documentary about the British and Irish Lions touring South Africa in 1997. Sir Ian McGeechan was speaking to his squad before the second Test, and the words he delivered resonate when I think of the Champions League final. Carragher (L) celebrates Liverpool winning the Champions League in 2005 Credit: Getty Images “There are days like this. Many players never have it,” he said. “It is special. These are the days you never believe will come again. As you meet each other in the street in 30 years time, there will just be a look. No words. Just a look. You’ll know how special some days in your lives are.” It sounded like he was quoting my favourite Beatles song: "There are places I remember all my life. I know I'll often stop and think about them." My Liverpool teammates from 2005 came to understand ‘the look’ as McGeechan described it. We understand the uniqueness of the experience that ties us. Those Liverpool players walking out in Kiev are not just on the threshold of legendary status – which is so valuable to the club and their careers - but forming that same connection which they will cherish beyond their playing days. Win, and they will have books written, documentaries produced and museum exhibitions curated. They will enjoy reunions celebrating their triumph, and the performances against Porto, Manchester City and Roma that took them there. It may sound a cliché, but it is true. Lives will change. The current Liverpool team is on the cusp of greatness Credit: Getty Images Lose, and the memories fade, as they did after I lost the final in Athens in 2007. We beat Barcelona and Chelsea that year. No-one ever mentions it. Athens is just a place to go and visit the Parthenon. Whatever the result in Kiev, I can recall from my own experience what will be said on Sunday morning. “This is just the start. We must build on this,” is the message of the winners. “We can’t forget what we achieved to get here. We will recover and try again,” is the consoling wisdom for those defeated. These will be words devoid of meaning. Forget the past. Ignore the consequences for the future. This is it. Here and now. It is not about starting a new era for those players, or continuing a ‘five-year plan’. Win the European Cup and the world holds you in a higher regard. It cannot and will not get any better than the feeling of holding that beautiful trophy for the first time. You are elevated to global status. My life, perceptions of my playing career and self-perception of my ability changed after Istanbul. Before 2005 I considered myself a good Premier League footballer, but my Champions League experience took it to another level. Everything changed for Liverpool's players after the 'Miracle of Istanbul' Credit: Getty Images I recall the build-up to final, reading an interview with Paolo Maldini – already an AC Milan legend at that point of his career - where he praised my defending, discussing my performances against Chelsea in the semi-final. I was taken aback. Until then, Maldini was a player I admired from afar as one of the greatest of our generation. It may sound strange, but I was shocked he even knew who I was, let alone recognised me enough to compliment me. Psychologically, it had a profound impact. When I walked side by side with the AC Milan players, I was not sure I belonged on that stage. Once we won it, I was sure I did. The nature of our victory led many to say it was a fluke, but in subsequent years key members of that side – Steven Gerrard, Xabi Alonso, Sami Hyypia, John Arne Riise and myself – played in another final, semi-final and quarter-final. The game itself was freakish, but the standard of our performance to win was not. We became better players, and a much-improved team after 2005. The Liverpool side that lost to AC Milan in 2007 was superior to that which won the competition, but we never experienced the emotion of Istanbul again. The four years between 2005 and 2009 were my most consistent as a footballer, in part because of the belief I took from winning the Champions League, but also because having seen my reputation soar in Europe I was even more determined not to let it slip. I do not like the word ‘arrogant’ but when you hear managers talk about this in a football sense, this is what they mean – knowing you have played well under the greatest pressure and you will do so again. This is why players will often tell you winning that first trophy breeds more success. European Cup final 2018 | Real Madrid vs Liverpool There will be players in Jurgen Klopp’s dressing room today going through a similar transformation.If you interviewed Andy Robertson, Jordan Henderson, Trent Alexander-Arnold or Dejan Lovren a year ago, and asked if they regarded themselves as peers of Real Madrid, what would the reaction be? A humble response, I would bet. Yes, they would have spoken of their ambitions and belief in their ability, but getting to the level of the two-time Champions League winners at the end of this season? They would have cautioned about expecting too much, too soon. Any other response would have been mocked. Look where Liverpool have recruited some of their players: Hull, Sunderland, Southampton and Mainz. They must have doubted they would ever play in such a fixture. What will those Liverpool players say if they win this game? They will want more of the same and demand more from themselves. My fear is they are facing a side well-established on this pedestal, with the greatest understanding of how to win at all costs. Cristiano Ronaldo and Sergio Ramos are ‘beasts’ of the modern game, in the best sense of the word. I have confidence the Liverpool players will perform because they have already done so under the highest pressure. Player-for-player, this Liverpool team is better than that which won in Istanbul. It has fewer weaknesses. Yet I maintain the true star of this Liverpool team is the manager. Like his players, Klopp will be consumed by getting over the line. He has been there before and suffered. This is his third European final. Liverpool are in their fifth in 17 years. Some clubs and managers never experience one, but winning isn’t everything - it is the only thing. It is not only the reputation of players that is irreversibly enhanced by lifting the Champions League. This is also true of managers. Klopp will join Bob Paisley, Joe Fagan and Rafa Benitez as an Anfield immortal if he succeeds. To join the elite ranks of ‘super-coaches’ he must add the European Cup to his CV. There has been a prolonged build-up this game. The players and manager will be sick of talking about it. If they win, everything changes. They will be talking about it for forever. My hope is those players will need only state a single word to start the conversation.
The Champions League changed my life - it can do the same for this Liverpool team
I need only talk about the venue and the memories come pouring back. Istanbul. Say the word at Anfield and that is enough. It is the same for Paris and Rome. To some they conjure images of landmarks from Europe’s greatest cities. For Liverpool supporters these locations are inseparable from the pictures of Emlyn Hughes, Phil Thompson, Graeme Souness and Steven Gerrard lifting the European Cup. I played 737 games for Liverpool. No matter where I go, supporters ask about one. My career – and that of each of my teammates on that glorious evening in the Ataturk Stadium - is defined by victory over AC Milan in 2005. Everything I aspired to be as a footballer was geared towards preparing me for that moment. Everything I aspired to after was about maintaining the standard that helped achieve that ambition. The reputation of those of us who won that night is bonded for eternity. Many years ago I watched a documentary about the British and Irish Lions touring South Africa in 1997. Sir Ian McGeechan was speaking to his squad before the second Test, and the words he delivered resonate when I think of the Champions League final. Carragher (L) celebrates Liverpool winning the Champions League in 2005 Credit: Getty Images “There are days like this. Many players never have it,” he said. “It is special. These are the days you never believe will come again. As you meet each other in the street in 30 years time, there will just be a look. No words. Just a look. You’ll know how special some days in your lives are.” It sounded like he was quoting my favourite Beatles song: "There are places I remember all my life. I know I'll often stop and think about them." My Liverpool teammates from 2005 came to understand ‘the look’ as McGeechan described it. We understand the uniqueness of the experience that ties us. Those Liverpool players walking out in Kiev are not just on the threshold of legendary status – which is so valuable to the club and their careers - but forming that same connection which they will cherish beyond their playing days. Win, and they will have books written, documentaries produced and museum exhibitions curated. They will enjoy reunions celebrating their triumph, and the performances against Porto, Manchester City and Roma that took them there. It may sound a cliché, but it is true. Lives will change. The current Liverpool team is on the cusp of greatness Credit: Getty Images Lose, and the memories fade, as they did after I lost the final in Athens in 2007. We beat Barcelona and Chelsea that year. No-one ever mentions it. Athens is just a place to go and visit the Parthenon. Whatever the result in Kiev, I can recall from my own experience what will be said on Sunday morning. “This is just the start. We must build on this,” is the message of the winners. “We can’t forget what we achieved to get here. We will recover and try again,” is the consoling wisdom for those defeated. These will be words devoid of meaning. Forget the past. Ignore the consequences for the future. This is it. Here and now. It is not about starting a new era for those players, or continuing a ‘five-year plan’. Win the European Cup and the world holds you in a higher regard. It cannot and will not get any better than the feeling of holding that beautiful trophy for the first time. You are elevated to global status. My life, perceptions of my playing career and self-perception of my ability changed after Istanbul. Before 2005 I considered myself a good Premier League footballer, but my Champions League experience took it to another level. Everything changed for Liverpool's players after the 'Miracle of Istanbul' Credit: Getty Images I recall the build-up to final, reading an interview with Paolo Maldini – already an AC Milan legend at that point of his career - where he praised my defending, discussing my performances against Chelsea in the semi-final. I was taken aback. Until then, Maldini was a player I admired from afar as one of the greatest of our generation. It may sound strange, but I was shocked he even knew who I was, let alone recognised me enough to compliment me. Psychologically, it had a profound impact. When I walked side by side with the AC Milan players, I was not sure I belonged on that stage. Once we won it, I was sure I did. The nature of our victory led many to say it was a fluke, but in subsequent years key members of that side – Steven Gerrard, Xabi Alonso, Sami Hyypia, John Arne Riise and myself – played in another final, semi-final and quarter-final. The game itself was freakish, but the standard of our performance to win was not. We became better players, and a much-improved team after 2005. The Liverpool side that lost to AC Milan in 2007 was superior to that which won the competition, but we never experienced the emotion of Istanbul again. The four years between 2005 and 2009 were my most consistent as a footballer, in part because of the belief I took from winning the Champions League, but also because having seen my reputation soar in Europe I was even more determined not to let it slip. I do not like the word ‘arrogant’ but when you hear managers talk about this in a football sense, this is what they mean – knowing you have played well under the greatest pressure and you will do so again. This is why players will often tell you winning that first trophy breeds more success. European Cup final 2018 | Real Madrid vs Liverpool There will be players in Jurgen Klopp’s dressing room today going through a similar transformation.If you interviewed Andy Robertson, Jordan Henderson, Trent Alexander-Arnold or Dejan Lovren a year ago, and asked if they regarded themselves as peers of Real Madrid, what would the reaction be? A humble response, I would bet. Yes, they would have spoken of their ambitions and belief in their ability, but getting to the level of the two-time Champions League winners at the end of this season? They would have cautioned about expecting too much, too soon. Any other response would have been mocked. Look where Liverpool have recruited some of their players: Hull, Sunderland, Southampton and Mainz. They must have doubted they would ever play in such a fixture. What will those Liverpool players say if they win this game? They will want more of the same and demand more from themselves. My fear is they are facing a side well-established on this pedestal, with the greatest understanding of how to win at all costs. Cristiano Ronaldo and Sergio Ramos are ‘beasts’ of the modern game, in the best sense of the word. I have confidence the Liverpool players will perform because they have already done so under the highest pressure. Player-for-player, this Liverpool team is better than that which won in Istanbul. It has fewer weaknesses. Yet I maintain the true star of this Liverpool team is the manager. Like his players, Klopp will be consumed by getting over the line. He has been there before and suffered. This is his third European final. Liverpool are in their fifth in 17 years. Some clubs and managers never experience one, but winning isn’t everything - it is the only thing. It is not only the reputation of players that is irreversibly enhanced by lifting the Champions League. This is also true of managers. Klopp will join Bob Paisley, Joe Fagan and Rafa Benitez as an Anfield immortal if he succeeds. To join the elite ranks of ‘super-coaches’ he must add the European Cup to his CV. There has been a prolonged build-up this game. The players and manager will be sick of talking about it. If they win, everything changes. They will be talking about it for forever. My hope is those players will need only state a single word to start the conversation.
I need only talk about the venue and the memories come pouring back. Istanbul. Say the word at Anfield and that is enough. It is the same for Paris and Rome. To some they conjure images of landmarks from Europe’s greatest cities. For Liverpool supporters these locations are inseparable from the pictures of Emlyn Hughes, Phil Thompson, Graeme Souness and Steven Gerrard lifting the European Cup. I played 737 games for Liverpool. No matter where I go, supporters ask about one. My career – and that of each of my teammates on that glorious evening in the Ataturk Stadium - is defined by victory over AC Milan in 2005. Everything I aspired to be as a footballer was geared towards preparing me for that moment. Everything I aspired to after was about maintaining the standard that helped achieve that ambition. The reputation of those of us who won that night is bonded for eternity. Many years ago I watched a documentary about the British and Irish Lions touring South Africa in 1997. Sir Ian McGeechan was speaking to his squad before the second Test, and the words he delivered resonate when I think of the Champions League final. Carragher (L) celebrates Liverpool winning the Champions League in 2005 Credit: Getty Images “There are days like this. Many players never have it,” he said. “It is special. These are the days you never believe will come again. As you meet each other in the street in 30 years time, there will just be a look. No words. Just a look. You’ll know how special some days in your lives are.” It sounded like he was quoting my favourite Beatles song: "There are places I remember all my life. I know I'll often stop and think about them." My Liverpool teammates from 2005 came to understand ‘the look’ as McGeechan described it. We understand the uniqueness of the experience that ties us. Those Liverpool players walking out in Kiev are not just on the threshold of legendary status – which is so valuable to the club and their careers - but forming that same connection which they will cherish beyond their playing days. Win, and they will have books written, documentaries produced and museum exhibitions curated. They will enjoy reunions celebrating their triumph, and the performances against Porto, Manchester City and Roma that took them there. It may sound a cliché, but it is true. Lives will change. The current Liverpool team is on the cusp of greatness Credit: Getty Images Lose, and the memories fade, as they did after I lost the final in Athens in 2007. We beat Barcelona and Chelsea that year. No-one ever mentions it. Athens is just a place to go and visit the Parthenon. Whatever the result in Kiev, I can recall from my own experience what will be said on Sunday morning. “This is just the start. We must build on this,” is the message of the winners. “We can’t forget what we achieved to get here. We will recover and try again,” is the consoling wisdom for those defeated. These will be words devoid of meaning. Forget the past. Ignore the consequences for the future. This is it. Here and now. It is not about starting a new era for those players, or continuing a ‘five-year plan’. Win the European Cup and the world holds you in a higher regard. It cannot and will not get any better than the feeling of holding that beautiful trophy for the first time. You are elevated to global status. My life, perceptions of my playing career and self-perception of my ability changed after Istanbul. Before 2005 I considered myself a good Premier League footballer, but my Champions League experience took it to another level. Everything changed for Liverpool's players after the 'Miracle of Istanbul' Credit: Getty Images I recall the build-up to final, reading an interview with Paolo Maldini – already an AC Milan legend at that point of his career - where he praised my defending, discussing my performances against Chelsea in the semi-final. I was taken aback. Until then, Maldini was a player I admired from afar as one of the greatest of our generation. It may sound strange, but I was shocked he even knew who I was, let alone recognised me enough to compliment me. Psychologically, it had a profound impact. When I walked side by side with the AC Milan players, I was not sure I belonged on that stage. Once we won it, I was sure I did. The nature of our victory led many to say it was a fluke, but in subsequent years key members of that side – Steven Gerrard, Xabi Alonso, Sami Hyypia, John Arne Riise and myself – played in another final, semi-final and quarter-final. The game itself was freakish, but the standard of our performance to win was not. We became better players, and a much-improved team after 2005. The Liverpool side that lost to AC Milan in 2007 was superior to that which won the competition, but we never experienced the emotion of Istanbul again. The four years between 2005 and 2009 were my most consistent as a footballer, in part because of the belief I took from winning the Champions League, but also because having seen my reputation soar in Europe I was even more determined not to let it slip. I do not like the word ‘arrogant’ but when you hear managers talk about this in a football sense, this is what they mean – knowing you have played well under the greatest pressure and you will do so again. This is why players will often tell you winning that first trophy breeds more success. European Cup final 2018 | Real Madrid vs Liverpool There will be players in Jurgen Klopp’s dressing room today going through a similar transformation.If you interviewed Andy Robertson, Jordan Henderson, Trent Alexander-Arnold or Dejan Lovren a year ago, and asked if they regarded themselves as peers of Real Madrid, what would the reaction be? A humble response, I would bet. Yes, they would have spoken of their ambitions and belief in their ability, but getting to the level of the two-time Champions League winners at the end of this season? They would have cautioned about expecting too much, too soon. Any other response would have been mocked. Look where Liverpool have recruited some of their players: Hull, Sunderland, Southampton and Mainz. They must have doubted they would ever play in such a fixture. What will those Liverpool players say if they win this game? They will want more of the same and demand more from themselves. My fear is they are facing a side well-established on this pedestal, with the greatest understanding of how to win at all costs. Cristiano Ronaldo and Sergio Ramos are ‘beasts’ of the modern game, in the best sense of the word. I have confidence the Liverpool players will perform because they have already done so under the highest pressure. Player-for-player, this Liverpool team is better than that which won in Istanbul. It has fewer weaknesses. Yet I maintain the true star of this Liverpool team is the manager. Like his players, Klopp will be consumed by getting over the line. He has been there before and suffered. This is his third European final. Liverpool are in their fifth in 17 years. Some clubs and managers never experience one, but winning isn’t everything - it is the only thing. It is not only the reputation of players that is irreversibly enhanced by lifting the Champions League. This is also true of managers. Klopp will join Bob Paisley, Joe Fagan and Rafa Benitez as an Anfield immortal if he succeeds. To join the elite ranks of ‘super-coaches’ he must add the European Cup to his CV. There has been a prolonged build-up this game. The players and manager will be sick of talking about it. If they win, everything changes. They will be talking about it for forever. My hope is those players will need only state a single word to start the conversation.
The Champions League changed my life - it can do the same for this Liverpool team
I need only talk about the venue and the memories come pouring back. Istanbul. Say the word at Anfield and that is enough. It is the same for Paris and Rome. To some they conjure images of landmarks from Europe’s greatest cities. For Liverpool supporters these locations are inseparable from the pictures of Emlyn Hughes, Phil Thompson, Graeme Souness and Steven Gerrard lifting the European Cup. I played 737 games for Liverpool. No matter where I go, supporters ask about one. My career – and that of each of my teammates on that glorious evening in the Ataturk Stadium - is defined by victory over AC Milan in 2005. Everything I aspired to be as a footballer was geared towards preparing me for that moment. Everything I aspired to after was about maintaining the standard that helped achieve that ambition. The reputation of those of us who won that night is bonded for eternity. Many years ago I watched a documentary about the British and Irish Lions touring South Africa in 1997. Sir Ian McGeechan was speaking to his squad before the second Test, and the words he delivered resonate when I think of the Champions League final. Carragher (L) celebrates Liverpool winning the Champions League in 2005 Credit: Getty Images “There are days like this. Many players never have it,” he said. “It is special. These are the days you never believe will come again. As you meet each other in the street in 30 years time, there will just be a look. No words. Just a look. You’ll know how special some days in your lives are.” It sounded like he was quoting my favourite Beatles song: "There are places I remember all my life. I know I'll often stop and think about them." My Liverpool teammates from 2005 came to understand ‘the look’ as McGeechan described it. We understand the uniqueness of the experience that ties us. Those Liverpool players walking out in Kiev are not just on the threshold of legendary status – which is so valuable to the club and their careers - but forming that same connection which they will cherish beyond their playing days. Win, and they will have books written, documentaries produced and museum exhibitions curated. They will enjoy reunions celebrating their triumph, and the performances against Porto, Manchester City and Roma that took them there. It may sound a cliché, but it is true. Lives will change. The current Liverpool team is on the cusp of greatness Credit: Getty Images Lose, and the memories fade, as they did after I lost the final in Athens in 2007. We beat Barcelona and Chelsea that year. No-one ever mentions it. Athens is just a place to go and visit the Parthenon. Whatever the result in Kiev, I can recall from my own experience what will be said on Sunday morning. “This is just the start. We must build on this,” is the message of the winners. “We can’t forget what we achieved to get here. We will recover and try again,” is the consoling wisdom for those defeated. These will be words devoid of meaning. Forget the past. Ignore the consequences for the future. This is it. Here and now. It is not about starting a new era for those players, or continuing a ‘five-year plan’. Win the European Cup and the world holds you in a higher regard. It cannot and will not get any better than the feeling of holding that beautiful trophy for the first time. You are elevated to global status. My life, perceptions of my playing career and self-perception of my ability changed after Istanbul. Before 2005 I considered myself a good Premier League footballer, but my Champions League experience took it to another level. Everything changed for Liverpool's players after the 'Miracle of Istanbul' Credit: Getty Images I recall the build-up to final, reading an interview with Paolo Maldini – already an AC Milan legend at that point of his career - where he praised my defending, discussing my performances against Chelsea in the semi-final. I was taken aback. Until then, Maldini was a player I admired from afar as one of the greatest of our generation. It may sound strange, but I was shocked he even knew who I was, let alone recognised me enough to compliment me. Psychologically, it had a profound impact. When I walked side by side with the AC Milan players, I was not sure I belonged on that stage. Once we won it, I was sure I did. The nature of our victory led many to say it was a fluke, but in subsequent years key members of that side – Steven Gerrard, Xabi Alonso, Sami Hyypia, John Arne Riise and myself – played in another final, semi-final and quarter-final. The game itself was freakish, but the standard of our performance to win was not. We became better players, and a much-improved team after 2005. The Liverpool side that lost to AC Milan in 2007 was superior to that which won the competition, but we never experienced the emotion of Istanbul again. The four years between 2005 and 2009 were my most consistent as a footballer, in part because of the belief I took from winning the Champions League, but also because having seen my reputation soar in Europe I was even more determined not to let it slip. I do not like the word ‘arrogant’ but when you hear managers talk about this in a football sense, this is what they mean – knowing you have played well under the greatest pressure and you will do so again. This is why players will often tell you winning that first trophy breeds more success. European Cup final 2018 | Real Madrid vs Liverpool There will be players in Jurgen Klopp’s dressing room today going through a similar transformation.If you interviewed Andy Robertson, Jordan Henderson, Trent Alexander-Arnold or Dejan Lovren a year ago, and asked if they regarded themselves as peers of Real Madrid, what would the reaction be? A humble response, I would bet. Yes, they would have spoken of their ambitions and belief in their ability, but getting to the level of the two-time Champions League winners at the end of this season? They would have cautioned about expecting too much, too soon. Any other response would have been mocked. Look where Liverpool have recruited some of their players: Hull, Sunderland, Southampton and Mainz. They must have doubted they would ever play in such a fixture. What will those Liverpool players say if they win this game? They will want more of the same and demand more from themselves. My fear is they are facing a side well-established on this pedestal, with the greatest understanding of how to win at all costs. Cristiano Ronaldo and Sergio Ramos are ‘beasts’ of the modern game, in the best sense of the word. I have confidence the Liverpool players will perform because they have already done so under the highest pressure. Player-for-player, this Liverpool team is better than that which won in Istanbul. It has fewer weaknesses. Yet I maintain the true star of this Liverpool team is the manager. Like his players, Klopp will be consumed by getting over the line. He has been there before and suffered. This is his third European final. Liverpool are in their fifth in 17 years. Some clubs and managers never experience one, but winning isn’t everything - it is the only thing. It is not only the reputation of players that is irreversibly enhanced by lifting the Champions League. This is also true of managers. Klopp will join Bob Paisley, Joe Fagan and Rafa Benitez as an Anfield immortal if he succeeds. To join the elite ranks of ‘super-coaches’ he must add the European Cup to his CV. There has been a prolonged build-up this game. The players and manager will be sick of talking about it. If they win, everything changes. They will be talking about it for forever. My hope is those players will need only state a single word to start the conversation.
I need only talk about the venue and the memories come pouring back. Istanbul. Say the word at Anfield and that is enough. It is the same for Paris and Rome. To some they conjure images of landmarks from Europe’s greatest cities. For Liverpool supporters these locations are inseparable from the pictures of Emlyn Hughes, Phil Thompson, Graeme Souness and Steven Gerrard lifting the European Cup. I played 737 games for Liverpool. No matter where I go, supporters ask about one. My career – and that of each of my teammates on that glorious evening in the Ataturk Stadium - is defined by victory over AC Milan in 2005. Everything I aspired to be as a footballer was geared towards preparing me for that moment. Everything I aspired to after was about maintaining the standard that helped achieve that ambition. The reputation of those of us who won that night is bonded for eternity. Many years ago I watched a documentary about the British and Irish Lions touring South Africa in 1997. Sir Ian McGeechan was speaking to his squad before the second Test, and the words he delivered resonate when I think of the Champions League final. Carragher (L) celebrates Liverpool winning the Champions League in 2005 Credit: Getty Images “There are days like this. Many players never have it,” he said. “It is special. These are the days you never believe will come again. As you meet each other in the street in 30 years time, there will just be a look. No words. Just a look. You’ll know how special some days in your lives are.” It sounded like he was quoting my favourite Beatles song: "There are places I remember all my life. I know I'll often stop and think about them." My Liverpool teammates from 2005 came to understand ‘the look’ as McGeechan described it. We understand the uniqueness of the experience that ties us. Those Liverpool players walking out in Kiev are not just on the threshold of legendary status – which is so valuable to the club and their careers - but forming that same connection which they will cherish beyond their playing days. Win, and they will have books written, documentaries produced and museum exhibitions curated. They will enjoy reunions celebrating their triumph, and the performances against Porto, Manchester City and Roma that took them there. It may sound a cliché, but it is true. Lives will change. The current Liverpool team is on the cusp of greatness Credit: Getty Images Lose, and the memories fade, as they did after I lost the final in Athens in 2007. We beat Barcelona and Chelsea that year. No-one ever mentions it. Athens is just a place to go and visit the Parthenon. Whatever the result in Kiev, I can recall from my own experience what will be said on Sunday morning. “This is just the start. We must build on this,” is the message of the winners. “We can’t forget what we achieved to get here. We will recover and try again,” is the consoling wisdom for those defeated. These will be words devoid of meaning. Forget the past. Ignore the consequences for the future. This is it. Here and now. It is not about starting a new era for those players, or continuing a ‘five-year plan’. Win the European Cup and the world holds you in a higher regard. It cannot and will not get any better than the feeling of holding that beautiful trophy for the first time. You are elevated to global status. My life, perceptions of my playing career and self-perception of my ability changed after Istanbul. Before 2005 I considered myself a good Premier League footballer, but my Champions League experience took it to another level. Everything changed for Liverpool's players after the 'Miracle of Istanbul' Credit: Getty Images I recall the build-up to final, reading an interview with Paolo Maldini – already an AC Milan legend at that point of his career - where he praised my defending, discussing my performances against Chelsea in the semi-final. I was taken aback. Until then, Maldini was a player I admired from afar as one of the greatest of our generation. It may sound strange, but I was shocked he even knew who I was, let alone recognised me enough to compliment me. Psychologically, it had a profound impact. When I walked side by side with the AC Milan players, I was not sure I belonged on that stage. Once we won it, I was sure I did. The nature of our victory led many to say it was a fluke, but in subsequent years key members of that side – Steven Gerrard, Xabi Alonso, Sami Hyypia, John Arne Riise and myself – played in another final, semi-final and quarter-final. The game itself was freakish, but the standard of our performance to win was not. We became better players, and a much-improved team after 2005. The Liverpool side that lost to AC Milan in 2007 was superior to that which won the competition, but we never experienced the emotion of Istanbul again. The four years between 2005 and 2009 were my most consistent as a footballer, in part because of the belief I took from winning the Champions League, but also because having seen my reputation soar in Europe I was even more determined not to let it slip. I do not like the word ‘arrogant’ but when you hear managers talk about this in a football sense, this is what they mean – knowing you have played well under the greatest pressure and you will do so again. This is why players will often tell you winning that first trophy breeds more success. European Cup final 2018 | Real Madrid vs Liverpool There will be players in Jurgen Klopp’s dressing room today going through a similar transformation.If you interviewed Andy Robertson, Jordan Henderson, Trent Alexander-Arnold or Dejan Lovren a year ago, and asked if they regarded themselves as peers of Real Madrid, what would the reaction be? A humble response, I would bet. Yes, they would have spoken of their ambitions and belief in their ability, but getting to the level of the two-time Champions League winners at the end of this season? They would have cautioned about expecting too much, too soon. Any other response would have been mocked. Look where Liverpool have recruited some of their players: Hull, Sunderland, Southampton and Mainz. They must have doubted they would ever play in such a fixture. What will those Liverpool players say if they win this game? They will want more of the same and demand more from themselves. My fear is they are facing a side well-established on this pedestal, with the greatest understanding of how to win at all costs. Cristiano Ronaldo and Sergio Ramos are ‘beasts’ of the modern game, in the best sense of the word. I have confidence the Liverpool players will perform because they have already done so under the highest pressure. Player-for-player, this Liverpool team is better than that which won in Istanbul. It has fewer weaknesses. Yet I maintain the true star of this Liverpool team is the manager. Like his players, Klopp will be consumed by getting over the line. He has been there before and suffered. This is his third European final. Liverpool are in their fifth in 17 years. Some clubs and managers never experience one, but winning isn’t everything - it is the only thing. It is not only the reputation of players that is irreversibly enhanced by lifting the Champions League. This is also true of managers. Klopp will join Bob Paisley, Joe Fagan and Rafa Benitez as an Anfield immortal if he succeeds. To join the elite ranks of ‘super-coaches’ he must add the European Cup to his CV. There has been a prolonged build-up this game. The players and manager will be sick of talking about it. If they win, everything changes. They will be talking about it for forever. My hope is those players will need only state a single word to start the conversation.
The Champions League changed my life - it can do the same for this Liverpool team
I need only talk about the venue and the memories come pouring back. Istanbul. Say the word at Anfield and that is enough. It is the same for Paris and Rome. To some they conjure images of landmarks from Europe’s greatest cities. For Liverpool supporters these locations are inseparable from the pictures of Emlyn Hughes, Phil Thompson, Graeme Souness and Steven Gerrard lifting the European Cup. I played 737 games for Liverpool. No matter where I go, supporters ask about one. My career – and that of each of my teammates on that glorious evening in the Ataturk Stadium - is defined by victory over AC Milan in 2005. Everything I aspired to be as a footballer was geared towards preparing me for that moment. Everything I aspired to after was about maintaining the standard that helped achieve that ambition. The reputation of those of us who won that night is bonded for eternity. Many years ago I watched a documentary about the British and Irish Lions touring South Africa in 1997. Sir Ian McGeechan was speaking to his squad before the second Test, and the words he delivered resonate when I think of the Champions League final. Carragher (L) celebrates Liverpool winning the Champions League in 2005 Credit: Getty Images “There are days like this. Many players never have it,” he said. “It is special. These are the days you never believe will come again. As you meet each other in the street in 30 years time, there will just be a look. No words. Just a look. You’ll know how special some days in your lives are.” It sounded like he was quoting my favourite Beatles song: "There are places I remember all my life. I know I'll often stop and think about them." My Liverpool teammates from 2005 came to understand ‘the look’ as McGeechan described it. We understand the uniqueness of the experience that ties us. Those Liverpool players walking out in Kiev are not just on the threshold of legendary status – which is so valuable to the club and their careers - but forming that same connection which they will cherish beyond their playing days. Win, and they will have books written, documentaries produced and museum exhibitions curated. They will enjoy reunions celebrating their triumph, and the performances against Porto, Manchester City and Roma that took them there. It may sound a cliché, but it is true. Lives will change. The current Liverpool team is on the cusp of greatness Credit: Getty Images Lose, and the memories fade, as they did after I lost the final in Athens in 2007. We beat Barcelona and Chelsea that year. No-one ever mentions it. Athens is just a place to go and visit the Parthenon. Whatever the result in Kiev, I can recall from my own experience what will be said on Sunday morning. “This is just the start. We must build on this,” is the message of the winners. “We can’t forget what we achieved to get here. We will recover and try again,” is the consoling wisdom for those defeated. These will be words devoid of meaning. Forget the past. Ignore the consequences for the future. This is it. Here and now. It is not about starting a new era for those players, or continuing a ‘five-year plan’. Win the European Cup and the world holds you in a higher regard. It cannot and will not get any better than the feeling of holding that beautiful trophy for the first time. You are elevated to global status. My life, perceptions of my playing career and self-perception of my ability changed after Istanbul. Before 2005 I considered myself a good Premier League footballer, but my Champions League experience took it to another level. Everything changed for Liverpool's players after the 'Miracle of Istanbul' Credit: Getty Images I recall the build-up to final, reading an interview with Paolo Maldini – already an AC Milan legend at that point of his career - where he praised my defending, discussing my performances against Chelsea in the semi-final. I was taken aback. Until then, Maldini was a player I admired from afar as one of the greatest of our generation. It may sound strange, but I was shocked he even knew who I was, let alone recognised me enough to compliment me. Psychologically, it had a profound impact. When I walked side by side with the AC Milan players, I was not sure I belonged on that stage. Once we won it, I was sure I did. The nature of our victory led many to say it was a fluke, but in subsequent years key members of that side – Steven Gerrard, Xabi Alonso, Sami Hyypia, John Arne Riise and myself – played in another final, semi-final and quarter-final. The game itself was freakish, but the standard of our performance to win was not. We became better players, and a much-improved team after 2005. The Liverpool side that lost to AC Milan in 2007 was superior to that which won the competition, but we never experienced the emotion of Istanbul again. The four years between 2005 and 2009 were my most consistent as a footballer, in part because of the belief I took from winning the Champions League, but also because having seen my reputation soar in Europe I was even more determined not to let it slip. I do not like the word ‘arrogant’ but when you hear managers talk about this in a football sense, this is what they mean – knowing you have played well under the greatest pressure and you will do so again. This is why players will often tell you winning that first trophy breeds more success. European Cup final 2018 | Real Madrid vs Liverpool There will be players in Jurgen Klopp’s dressing room today going through a similar transformation.If you interviewed Andy Robertson, Jordan Henderson, Trent Alexander-Arnold or Dejan Lovren a year ago, and asked if they regarded themselves as peers of Real Madrid, what would the reaction be? A humble response, I would bet. Yes, they would have spoken of their ambitions and belief in their ability, but getting to the level of the two-time Champions League winners at the end of this season? They would have cautioned about expecting too much, too soon. Any other response would have been mocked. Look where Liverpool have recruited some of their players: Hull, Sunderland, Southampton and Mainz. They must have doubted they would ever play in such a fixture. What will those Liverpool players say if they win this game? They will want more of the same and demand more from themselves. My fear is they are facing a side well-established on this pedestal, with the greatest understanding of how to win at all costs. Cristiano Ronaldo and Sergio Ramos are ‘beasts’ of the modern game, in the best sense of the word. I have confidence the Liverpool players will perform because they have already done so under the highest pressure. Player-for-player, this Liverpool team is better than that which won in Istanbul. It has fewer weaknesses. Yet I maintain the true star of this Liverpool team is the manager. Like his players, Klopp will be consumed by getting over the line. He has been there before and suffered. This is his third European final. Liverpool are in their fifth in 17 years. Some clubs and managers never experience one, but winning isn’t everything - it is the only thing. It is not only the reputation of players that is irreversibly enhanced by lifting the Champions League. This is also true of managers. Klopp will join Bob Paisley, Joe Fagan and Rafa Benitez as an Anfield immortal if he succeeds. To join the elite ranks of ‘super-coaches’ he must add the European Cup to his CV. There has been a prolonged build-up this game. The players and manager will be sick of talking about it. If they win, everything changes. They will be talking about it for forever. My hope is those players will need only state a single word to start the conversation.
I need only talk about the venue and the memories come pouring back. Istanbul. Say the word at Anfield and that is enough. It is the same for Paris and Rome. To some they conjure images of landmarks from Europe’s greatest cities. For Liverpool supporters these locations are inseparable from the pictures of Emlyn Hughes, Phil Thompson, Graeme Souness and Steven Gerrard lifting the European Cup. I played 737 games for Liverpool. No matter where I go, supporters ask about one. My career – and that of each of my teammates on that glorious evening in the Ataturk Stadium - is defined by victory over AC Milan in 2005. Everything I aspired to be as a footballer was geared towards preparing me for that moment. Everything I aspired to after was about maintaining the standard that helped achieve that ambition. The reputation of those of us who won that night is bonded for eternity. Many years ago I watched a documentary about the British and Irish Lions touring South Africa in 1997. Sir Ian McGeechan was speaking to his squad before the second Test, and the words he delivered resonate when I think of the Champions League final. Carragher (L) celebrates Liverpool winning the Champions League in 2005 Credit: Getty Images “There are days like this. Many players never have it,” he said. “It is special. These are the days you never believe will come again. As you meet each other in the street in 30 years time, there will just be a look. No words. Just a look. You’ll know how special some days in your lives are.” It sounded like he was quoting my favourite Beatles song: "There are places I remember all my life. I know I'll often stop and think about them." My Liverpool teammates from 2005 came to understand ‘the look’ as McGeechan described it. We understand the uniqueness of the experience that ties us. Those Liverpool players walking out in Kiev are not just on the threshold of legendary status – which is so valuable to the club and their careers - but forming that same connection which they will cherish beyond their playing days. Win, and they will have books written, documentaries produced and museum exhibitions curated. They will enjoy reunions celebrating their triumph, and the performances against Porto, Manchester City and Roma that took them there. It may sound a cliché, but it is true. Lives will change. The current Liverpool team is on the cusp of greatness Credit: Getty Images Lose, and the memories fade, as they did after I lost the final in Athens in 2007. We beat Barcelona and Chelsea that year. No-one ever mentions it. Athens is just a place to go and visit the Parthenon. Whatever the result in Kiev, I can recall from my own experience what will be said on Sunday morning. “This is just the start. We must build on this,” is the message of the winners. “We can’t forget what we achieved to get here. We will recover and try again,” is the consoling wisdom for those defeated. These will be words devoid of meaning. Forget the past. Ignore the consequences for the future. This is it. Here and now. It is not about starting a new era for those players, or continuing a ‘five-year plan’. Win the European Cup and the world holds you in a higher regard. It cannot and will not get any better than the feeling of holding that beautiful trophy for the first time. You are elevated to global status. My life, perceptions of my playing career and self-perception of my ability changed after Istanbul. Before 2005 I considered myself a good Premier League footballer, but my Champions League experience took it to another level. Everything changed for Liverpool's players after the 'Miracle of Istanbul' Credit: Getty Images I recall the build-up to final, reading an interview with Paolo Maldini – already an AC Milan legend at that point of his career - where he praised my defending, discussing my performances against Chelsea in the semi-final. I was taken aback. Until then, Maldini was a player I admired from afar as one of the greatest of our generation. It may sound strange, but I was shocked he even knew who I was, let alone recognised me enough to compliment me. Psychologically, it had a profound impact. When I walked side by side with the AC Milan players, I was not sure I belonged on that stage. Once we won it, I was sure I did. The nature of our victory led many to say it was a fluke, but in subsequent years key members of that side – Steven Gerrard, Xabi Alonso, Sami Hyypia, John Arne Riise and myself – played in another final, semi-final and quarter-final. The game itself was freakish, but the standard of our performance to win was not. We became better players, and a much-improved team after 2005. The Liverpool side that lost to AC Milan in 2007 was superior to that which won the competition, but we never experienced the emotion of Istanbul again. The four years between 2005 and 2009 were my most consistent as a footballer, in part because of the belief I took from winning the Champions League, but also because having seen my reputation soar in Europe I was even more determined not to let it slip. I do not like the word ‘arrogant’ but when you hear managers talk about this in a football sense, this is what they mean – knowing you have played well under the greatest pressure and you will do so again. This is why players will often tell you winning that first trophy breeds more success. European Cup final 2018 | Real Madrid vs Liverpool There will be players in Jurgen Klopp’s dressing room today going through a similar transformation.If you interviewed Andy Robertson, Jordan Henderson, Trent Alexander-Arnold or Dejan Lovren a year ago, and asked if they regarded themselves as peers of Real Madrid, what would the reaction be? A humble response, I would bet. Yes, they would have spoken of their ambitions and belief in their ability, but getting to the level of the two-time Champions League winners at the end of this season? They would have cautioned about expecting too much, too soon. Any other response would have been mocked. Look where Liverpool have recruited some of their players: Hull, Sunderland, Southampton and Mainz. They must have doubted they would ever play in such a fixture. What will those Liverpool players say if they win this game? They will want more of the same and demand more from themselves. My fear is they are facing a side well-established on this pedestal, with the greatest understanding of how to win at all costs. Cristiano Ronaldo and Sergio Ramos are ‘beasts’ of the modern game, in the best sense of the word. I have confidence the Liverpool players will perform because they have already done so under the highest pressure. Player-for-player, this Liverpool team is better than that which won in Istanbul. It has fewer weaknesses. Yet I maintain the true star of this Liverpool team is the manager. Like his players, Klopp will be consumed by getting over the line. He has been there before and suffered. This is his third European final. Liverpool are in their fifth in 17 years. Some clubs and managers never experience one, but winning isn’t everything - it is the only thing. It is not only the reputation of players that is irreversibly enhanced by lifting the Champions League. This is also true of managers. Klopp will join Bob Paisley, Joe Fagan and Rafa Benitez as an Anfield immortal if he succeeds. To join the elite ranks of ‘super-coaches’ he must add the European Cup to his CV. There has been a prolonged build-up this game. The players and manager will be sick of talking about it. If they win, everything changes. They will be talking about it for forever. My hope is those players will need only state a single word to start the conversation.
The Champions League changed my life - it can do the same for this Liverpool team
I need only talk about the venue and the memories come pouring back. Istanbul. Say the word at Anfield and that is enough. It is the same for Paris and Rome. To some they conjure images of landmarks from Europe’s greatest cities. For Liverpool supporters these locations are inseparable from the pictures of Emlyn Hughes, Phil Thompson, Graeme Souness and Steven Gerrard lifting the European Cup. I played 737 games for Liverpool. No matter where I go, supporters ask about one. My career – and that of each of my teammates on that glorious evening in the Ataturk Stadium - is defined by victory over AC Milan in 2005. Everything I aspired to be as a footballer was geared towards preparing me for that moment. Everything I aspired to after was about maintaining the standard that helped achieve that ambition. The reputation of those of us who won that night is bonded for eternity. Many years ago I watched a documentary about the British and Irish Lions touring South Africa in 1997. Sir Ian McGeechan was speaking to his squad before the second Test, and the words he delivered resonate when I think of the Champions League final. Carragher (L) celebrates Liverpool winning the Champions League in 2005 Credit: Getty Images “There are days like this. Many players never have it,” he said. “It is special. These are the days you never believe will come again. As you meet each other in the street in 30 years time, there will just be a look. No words. Just a look. You’ll know how special some days in your lives are.” It sounded like he was quoting my favourite Beatles song: "There are places I remember all my life. I know I'll often stop and think about them." My Liverpool teammates from 2005 came to understand ‘the look’ as McGeechan described it. We understand the uniqueness of the experience that ties us. Those Liverpool players walking out in Kiev are not just on the threshold of legendary status – which is so valuable to the club and their careers - but forming that same connection which they will cherish beyond their playing days. Win, and they will have books written, documentaries produced and museum exhibitions curated. They will enjoy reunions celebrating their triumph, and the performances against Porto, Manchester City and Roma that took them there. It may sound a cliché, but it is true. Lives will change. The current Liverpool team is on the cusp of greatness Credit: Getty Images Lose, and the memories fade, as they did after I lost the final in Athens in 2007. We beat Barcelona and Chelsea that year. No-one ever mentions it. Athens is just a place to go and visit the Parthenon. Whatever the result in Kiev, I can recall from my own experience what will be said on Sunday morning. “This is just the start. We must build on this,” is the message of the winners. “We can’t forget what we achieved to get here. We will recover and try again,” is the consoling wisdom for those defeated. These will be words devoid of meaning. Forget the past. Ignore the consequences for the future. This is it. Here and now. It is not about starting a new era for those players, or continuing a ‘five-year plan’. Win the European Cup and the world holds you in a higher regard. It cannot and will not get any better than the feeling of holding that beautiful trophy for the first time. You are elevated to global status. My life, perceptions of my playing career and self-perception of my ability changed after Istanbul. Before 2005 I considered myself a good Premier League footballer, but my Champions League experience took it to another level. Everything changed for Liverpool's players after the 'Miracle of Istanbul' Credit: Getty Images I recall the build-up to final, reading an interview with Paolo Maldini – already an AC Milan legend at that point of his career - where he praised my defending, discussing my performances against Chelsea in the semi-final. I was taken aback. Until then, Maldini was a player I admired from afar as one of the greatest of our generation. It may sound strange, but I was shocked he even knew who I was, let alone recognised me enough to compliment me. Psychologically, it had a profound impact. When I walked side by side with the AC Milan players, I was not sure I belonged on that stage. Once we won it, I was sure I did. The nature of our victory led many to say it was a fluke, but in subsequent years key members of that side – Steven Gerrard, Xabi Alonso, Sami Hyypia, John Arne Riise and myself – played in another final, semi-final and quarter-final. The game itself was freakish, but the standard of our performance to win was not. We became better players, and a much-improved team after 2005. The Liverpool side that lost to AC Milan in 2007 was superior to that which won the competition, but we never experienced the emotion of Istanbul again. The four years between 2005 and 2009 were my most consistent as a footballer, in part because of the belief I took from winning the Champions League, but also because having seen my reputation soar in Europe I was even more determined not to let it slip. I do not like the word ‘arrogant’ but when you hear managers talk about this in a football sense, this is what they mean – knowing you have played well under the greatest pressure and you will do so again. This is why players will often tell you winning that first trophy breeds more success. European Cup final 2018 | Real Madrid vs Liverpool There will be players in Jurgen Klopp’s dressing room today going through a similar transformation.If you interviewed Andy Robertson, Jordan Henderson, Trent Alexander-Arnold or Dejan Lovren a year ago, and asked if they regarded themselves as peers of Real Madrid, what would the reaction be? A humble response, I would bet. Yes, they would have spoken of their ambitions and belief in their ability, but getting to the level of the two-time Champions League winners at the end of this season? They would have cautioned about expecting too much, too soon. Any other response would have been mocked. Look where Liverpool have recruited some of their players: Hull, Sunderland, Southampton and Mainz. They must have doubted they would ever play in such a fixture. What will those Liverpool players say if they win this game? They will want more of the same and demand more from themselves. My fear is they are facing a side well-established on this pedestal, with the greatest understanding of how to win at all costs. Cristiano Ronaldo and Sergio Ramos are ‘beasts’ of the modern game, in the best sense of the word. I have confidence the Liverpool players will perform because they have already done so under the highest pressure. Player-for-player, this Liverpool team is better than that which won in Istanbul. It has fewer weaknesses. Yet I maintain the true star of this Liverpool team is the manager. Like his players, Klopp will be consumed by getting over the line. He has been there before and suffered. This is his third European final. Liverpool are in their fifth in 17 years. Some clubs and managers never experience one, but winning isn’t everything - it is the only thing. It is not only the reputation of players that is irreversibly enhanced by lifting the Champions League. This is also true of managers. Klopp will join Bob Paisley, Joe Fagan and Rafa Benitez as an Anfield immortal if he succeeds. To join the elite ranks of ‘super-coaches’ he must add the European Cup to his CV. There has been a prolonged build-up this game. The players and manager will be sick of talking about it. If they win, everything changes. They will be talking about it for forever. My hope is those players will need only state a single word to start the conversation.
One thousand stranded Liverpool fans’ hopes of reaching Saturday’s Champions League final in Kiev were unresolved on Thursday night after the city’s mayor Joe Anderson attempted to broker landing slots for two of the three supporters’ charter flights cancelled at the last minute. Anderson tweeted that he and Kiev mayor Vitaly Klitschko, the brother of former heavyweight world champion Wladimir, and himself a former heavyweight champion, were “working closely” and “close to a solution” after a day of chaos for those who had booked charter flights. By late Thursday night, Anderson tweeted that he had secured two fresh landing slots for the charter planes at Kiev’s Borispyl airport but that the operator in question, World Choice Sports, had chosen to take only one. Anderson challenged World Choice Sports to organise the planes to make use of the landing times he had negotiated saying he was “amazed it’s not been sorted”. Earlier in the day the club had confirmed that around 1,000 fans had been left without any way of reaching Saturday’s final against Real Madrid after the Widnes-based travel operator World Choice Sports said it was left with no option but to cancel flights. In a statement, World Choice Sports said that it had been forced to cancel three charter flights into Kiev’s Borispyl airport after it failed to secure the landing slots, blaming the cancellations on the destination airport. In a statement of their own, Liverpool football club said that it was trying to work with “stakeholders” over resolving the problem. Working closely with @Vitaliy_Klychko to get the Kiev flights sorted - thank you for your help & support. Close to solution now and more details will follow soon.— Joe Anderson (@mayor_anderson) May 24, 2018 Liverpool blamed a “dispute” between World Choice Sports and Borispyl airport “over the size of the aircraft” for the cancellation of the flights from Liverpool John Lennon airport. The club said that it had worked with the city council, Uefa and the authorities in Kiev, “endeavouring to resolve the issue since it first came to light and will continue to do so until all avenues have been exhausted.” In Kiev, the first Liverpool supporters who had managed to make the final began arriving on Thursday. Jon Hemphill, 64, a retired pharmaceutical company director from Liverpool, said that he had booked his hotel last May, even before his team had made it through their qualifying tie with Hoffenheim to reach the group stages. He and friends had taken a flight from Stansted to Warsaw and then an overnight train journey to Kiev lasting 16 hours. “The train could have been better, it was definitely Soviet era,” he said. “But it was on time, it came into the station bang on 11.02.” A veteran of Liverpool’s European Cup finals at Wembley in 1978, Paris in 1981 and Istanbul in 2005, as well as the Europa League final in 2016, he said that the flights and accommodation had cost between £600 and £700. Plenty of Liverpool fans have already made it to Kiev Credit: AFP Sam Furniss, 31, from Liverpool, who works in logistics, had come on three flights from Manchester to Berlin to Vilnius in Lithuania and on to Kiev. He said that he believed Madrid reaching the final a day earlier than Liverpool had meant they were able to book the aircraft slots at the Kiev airports for planes flying in from Spain. “Why put it in a city that can’t cope?” he asked. Stuart Gee, 42, an engineer from Liverpool who lives in Perth, Western Australia, had spent around £3,600 on flying from Perth via Doha in Qatar, a cost that he conceded was “ridiculously expensive”. He said that his flight from Doha had been at least half occupied by Liverpool fans coming to the Ukrainian capital for the final. He said that the difficulty in getting to Kiev was frustrating but made the final, and being there in person, “something special”. Gillis Green, 54, a lawyer from Baltimore in the United States had brought his son Russell, 22, to see the final in Kiev as a graduation present. Gillis said: “I am embarrassed to admit we paid about $7,000 [£5,220] for the tickets and another $1,000 [$750] for the Airbnb [accommodation] and I am not going to say how much we paid for the tickets.” The two of them had become Liverpool fans watching the team in the US Premier League coverage. Mo Salah touches down in Kiev Credit: Getty images Andy Clifford, 49, from Scunthorpe, had travelled in a group of 11 from Birmingham to Warsaw, staying a night in Poland, and then on to Kiev. He and his friends had decided to book the flights after Liverpool’s first leg semi-final win over Roma at Anfield on April 25, hedging their position by also placing a bet on Roma to go through. They had since twice had Kiev accommodation cancelled and were staying in a hostel – “no stars, if anything it has minus stars” – that ordinarily cost £8 a night per person but had raised its rates to £50 per night. Walking through the city’s botanical gardens, Christian Klein-Heinz and his three friends cut an unusual sight. All four were dressed in German lederhosen and Bayern Munich shirts. They had booked their trip to Kiev in December with a mixture of hope and belief that Bayern would be in the final. “We do it every year,” said the 53-year-old IT company director. “We hope that Bayern make it and if we don’t we just go anyway and make a weekend of it. We have been to Milan and Cardiff as well in recent years. This time we are Liverpool fans. Jurgen Klopp is a good trainer. In the Bundesliga and in the final at Wembley in 2013 he always made it difficult for Bayern.”
The truth behind Liverpool fans' costly nightmare following their team to Kiev
One thousand stranded Liverpool fans’ hopes of reaching Saturday’s Champions League final in Kiev were unresolved on Thursday night after the city’s mayor Joe Anderson attempted to broker landing slots for two of the three supporters’ charter flights cancelled at the last minute. Anderson tweeted that he and Kiev mayor Vitaly Klitschko, the brother of former heavyweight world champion Wladimir, and himself a former heavyweight champion, were “working closely” and “close to a solution” after a day of chaos for those who had booked charter flights. By late Thursday night, Anderson tweeted that he had secured two fresh landing slots for the charter planes at Kiev’s Borispyl airport but that the operator in question, World Choice Sports, had chosen to take only one. Anderson challenged World Choice Sports to organise the planes to make use of the landing times he had negotiated saying he was “amazed it’s not been sorted”. Earlier in the day the club had confirmed that around 1,000 fans had been left without any way of reaching Saturday’s final against Real Madrid after the Widnes-based travel operator World Choice Sports said it was left with no option but to cancel flights. In a statement, World Choice Sports said that it had been forced to cancel three charter flights into Kiev’s Borispyl airport after it failed to secure the landing slots, blaming the cancellations on the destination airport. In a statement of their own, Liverpool football club said that it was trying to work with “stakeholders” over resolving the problem. Working closely with @Vitaliy_Klychko to get the Kiev flights sorted - thank you for your help & support. Close to solution now and more details will follow soon.— Joe Anderson (@mayor_anderson) May 24, 2018 Liverpool blamed a “dispute” between World Choice Sports and Borispyl airport “over the size of the aircraft” for the cancellation of the flights from Liverpool John Lennon airport. The club said that it had worked with the city council, Uefa and the authorities in Kiev, “endeavouring to resolve the issue since it first came to light and will continue to do so until all avenues have been exhausted.” In Kiev, the first Liverpool supporters who had managed to make the final began arriving on Thursday. Jon Hemphill, 64, a retired pharmaceutical company director from Liverpool, said that he had booked his hotel last May, even before his team had made it through their qualifying tie with Hoffenheim to reach the group stages. He and friends had taken a flight from Stansted to Warsaw and then an overnight train journey to Kiev lasting 16 hours. “The train could have been better, it was definitely Soviet era,” he said. “But it was on time, it came into the station bang on 11.02.” A veteran of Liverpool’s European Cup finals at Wembley in 1978, Paris in 1981 and Istanbul in 2005, as well as the Europa League final in 2016, he said that the flights and accommodation had cost between £600 and £700. Plenty of Liverpool fans have already made it to Kiev Credit: AFP Sam Furniss, 31, from Liverpool, who works in logistics, had come on three flights from Manchester to Berlin to Vilnius in Lithuania and on to Kiev. He said that he believed Madrid reaching the final a day earlier than Liverpool had meant they were able to book the aircraft slots at the Kiev airports for planes flying in from Spain. “Why put it in a city that can’t cope?” he asked. Stuart Gee, 42, an engineer from Liverpool who lives in Perth, Western Australia, had spent around £3,600 on flying from Perth via Doha in Qatar, a cost that he conceded was “ridiculously expensive”. He said that his flight from Doha had been at least half occupied by Liverpool fans coming to the Ukrainian capital for the final. He said that the difficulty in getting to Kiev was frustrating but made the final, and being there in person, “something special”. Gillis Green, 54, a lawyer from Baltimore in the United States had brought his son Russell, 22, to see the final in Kiev as a graduation present. Gillis said: “I am embarrassed to admit we paid about $7,000 [£5,220] for the tickets and another $1,000 [$750] for the Airbnb [accommodation] and I am not going to say how much we paid for the tickets.” The two of them had become Liverpool fans watching the team in the US Premier League coverage. Mo Salah touches down in Kiev Credit: Getty images Andy Clifford, 49, from Scunthorpe, had travelled in a group of 11 from Birmingham to Warsaw, staying a night in Poland, and then on to Kiev. He and his friends had decided to book the flights after Liverpool’s first leg semi-final win over Roma at Anfield on April 25, hedging their position by also placing a bet on Roma to go through. They had since twice had Kiev accommodation cancelled and were staying in a hostel – “no stars, if anything it has minus stars” – that ordinarily cost £8 a night per person but had raised its rates to £50 per night. Walking through the city’s botanical gardens, Christian Klein-Heinz and his three friends cut an unusual sight. All four were dressed in German lederhosen and Bayern Munich shirts. They had booked their trip to Kiev in December with a mixture of hope and belief that Bayern would be in the final. “We do it every year,” said the 53-year-old IT company director. “We hope that Bayern make it and if we don’t we just go anyway and make a weekend of it. We have been to Milan and Cardiff as well in recent years. This time we are Liverpool fans. Jurgen Klopp is a good trainer. In the Bundesliga and in the final at Wembley in 2013 he always made it difficult for Bayern.”
One thousand stranded Liverpool fans’ hopes of reaching Saturday’s Champions League final in Kiev were unresolved on Thursday night after the city’s mayor Joe Anderson attempted to broker landing slots for two of the three supporters’ charter flights cancelled at the last minute. Anderson tweeted that he and Kiev mayor Vitaly Klitschko, the brother of former heavyweight world champion Wladimir, and himself a former heavyweight champion, were “working closely” and “close to a solution” after a day of chaos for those who had booked charter flights. By late Thursday night, Anderson tweeted that he had secured two fresh landing slots for the charter planes at Kiev’s Borispyl airport but that the operator in question, World Choice Sports, had chosen to take only one. Anderson challenged World Choice Sports to organise the planes to make use of the landing times he had negotiated saying he was “amazed it’s not been sorted”. Earlier in the day the club had confirmed that around 1,000 fans had been left without any way of reaching Saturday’s final against Real Madrid after the Widnes-based travel operator World Choice Sports said it was left with no option but to cancel flights. In a statement, World Choice Sports said that it had been forced to cancel three charter flights into Kiev’s Borispyl airport after it failed to secure the landing slots, blaming the cancellations on the destination airport. In a statement of their own, Liverpool football club said that it was trying to work with “stakeholders” over resolving the problem. Working closely with @Vitaliy_Klychko to get the Kiev flights sorted - thank you for your help & support. Close to solution now and more details will follow soon.— Joe Anderson (@mayor_anderson) May 24, 2018 Liverpool blamed a “dispute” between World Choice Sports and Borispyl airport “over the size of the aircraft” for the cancellation of the flights from Liverpool John Lennon airport. The club said that it had worked with the city council, Uefa and the authorities in Kiev, “endeavouring to resolve the issue since it first came to light and will continue to do so until all avenues have been exhausted.” In Kiev, the first Liverpool supporters who had managed to make the final began arriving on Thursday. Jon Hemphill, 64, a retired pharmaceutical company director from Liverpool, said that he had booked his hotel last May, even before his team had made it through their qualifying tie with Hoffenheim to reach the group stages. He and friends had taken a flight from Stansted to Warsaw and then an overnight train journey to Kiev lasting 16 hours. “The train could have been better, it was definitely Soviet era,” he said. “But it was on time, it came into the station bang on 11.02.” A veteran of Liverpool’s European Cup finals at Wembley in 1978, Paris in 1981 and Istanbul in 2005, as well as the Europa League final in 2016, he said that the flights and accommodation had cost between £600 and £700. Plenty of Liverpool fans have already made it to Kiev Credit: AFP Sam Furniss, 31, from Liverpool, who works in logistics, had come on three flights from Manchester to Berlin to Vilnius in Lithuania and on to Kiev. He said that he believed Madrid reaching the final a day earlier than Liverpool had meant they were able to book the aircraft slots at the Kiev airports for planes flying in from Spain. “Why put it in a city that can’t cope?” he asked. Stuart Gee, 42, an engineer from Liverpool who lives in Perth, Western Australia, had spent around £3,600 on flying from Perth via Doha in Qatar, a cost that he conceded was “ridiculously expensive”. He said that his flight from Doha had been at least half occupied by Liverpool fans coming to the Ukrainian capital for the final. He said that the difficulty in getting to Kiev was frustrating but made the final, and being there in person, “something special”. Gillis Green, 54, a lawyer from Baltimore in the United States had brought his son Russell, 22, to see the final in Kiev as a graduation present. Gillis said: “I am embarrassed to admit we paid about $7,000 [£5,220] for the tickets and another $1,000 [$750] for the Airbnb [accommodation] and I am not going to say how much we paid for the tickets.” The two of them had become Liverpool fans watching the team in the US Premier League coverage. Mo Salah touches down in Kiev Credit: Getty images Andy Clifford, 49, from Scunthorpe, had travelled in a group of 11 from Birmingham to Warsaw, staying a night in Poland, and then on to Kiev. He and his friends had decided to book the flights after Liverpool’s first leg semi-final win over Roma at Anfield on April 25, hedging their position by also placing a bet on Roma to go through. They had since twice had Kiev accommodation cancelled and were staying in a hostel – “no stars, if anything it has minus stars” – that ordinarily cost £8 a night per person but had raised its rates to £50 per night. Walking through the city’s botanical gardens, Christian Klein-Heinz and his three friends cut an unusual sight. All four were dressed in German lederhosen and Bayern Munich shirts. They had booked their trip to Kiev in December with a mixture of hope and belief that Bayern would be in the final. “We do it every year,” said the 53-year-old IT company director. “We hope that Bayern make it and if we don’t we just go anyway and make a weekend of it. We have been to Milan and Cardiff as well in recent years. This time we are Liverpool fans. Jurgen Klopp is a good trainer. In the Bundesliga and in the final at Wembley in 2013 he always made it difficult for Bayern.”
The truth behind Liverpool fans' costly nightmare following their team to Kiev
One thousand stranded Liverpool fans’ hopes of reaching Saturday’s Champions League final in Kiev were unresolved on Thursday night after the city’s mayor Joe Anderson attempted to broker landing slots for two of the three supporters’ charter flights cancelled at the last minute. Anderson tweeted that he and Kiev mayor Vitaly Klitschko, the brother of former heavyweight world champion Wladimir, and himself a former heavyweight champion, were “working closely” and “close to a solution” after a day of chaos for those who had booked charter flights. By late Thursday night, Anderson tweeted that he had secured two fresh landing slots for the charter planes at Kiev’s Borispyl airport but that the operator in question, World Choice Sports, had chosen to take only one. Anderson challenged World Choice Sports to organise the planes to make use of the landing times he had negotiated saying he was “amazed it’s not been sorted”. Earlier in the day the club had confirmed that around 1,000 fans had been left without any way of reaching Saturday’s final against Real Madrid after the Widnes-based travel operator World Choice Sports said it was left with no option but to cancel flights. In a statement, World Choice Sports said that it had been forced to cancel three charter flights into Kiev’s Borispyl airport after it failed to secure the landing slots, blaming the cancellations on the destination airport. In a statement of their own, Liverpool football club said that it was trying to work with “stakeholders” over resolving the problem. Working closely with @Vitaliy_Klychko to get the Kiev flights sorted - thank you for your help & support. Close to solution now and more details will follow soon.— Joe Anderson (@mayor_anderson) May 24, 2018 Liverpool blamed a “dispute” between World Choice Sports and Borispyl airport “over the size of the aircraft” for the cancellation of the flights from Liverpool John Lennon airport. The club said that it had worked with the city council, Uefa and the authorities in Kiev, “endeavouring to resolve the issue since it first came to light and will continue to do so until all avenues have been exhausted.” In Kiev, the first Liverpool supporters who had managed to make the final began arriving on Thursday. Jon Hemphill, 64, a retired pharmaceutical company director from Liverpool, said that he had booked his hotel last May, even before his team had made it through their qualifying tie with Hoffenheim to reach the group stages. He and friends had taken a flight from Stansted to Warsaw and then an overnight train journey to Kiev lasting 16 hours. “The train could have been better, it was definitely Soviet era,” he said. “But it was on time, it came into the station bang on 11.02.” A veteran of Liverpool’s European Cup finals at Wembley in 1978, Paris in 1981 and Istanbul in 2005, as well as the Europa League final in 2016, he said that the flights and accommodation had cost between £600 and £700. Plenty of Liverpool fans have already made it to Kiev Credit: AFP Sam Furniss, 31, from Liverpool, who works in logistics, had come on three flights from Manchester to Berlin to Vilnius in Lithuania and on to Kiev. He said that he believed Madrid reaching the final a day earlier than Liverpool had meant they were able to book the aircraft slots at the Kiev airports for planes flying in from Spain. “Why put it in a city that can’t cope?” he asked. Stuart Gee, 42, an engineer from Liverpool who lives in Perth, Western Australia, had spent around £3,600 on flying from Perth via Doha in Qatar, a cost that he conceded was “ridiculously expensive”. He said that his flight from Doha had been at least half occupied by Liverpool fans coming to the Ukrainian capital for the final. He said that the difficulty in getting to Kiev was frustrating but made the final, and being there in person, “something special”. Gillis Green, 54, a lawyer from Baltimore in the United States had brought his son Russell, 22, to see the final in Kiev as a graduation present. Gillis said: “I am embarrassed to admit we paid about $7,000 [£5,220] for the tickets and another $1,000 [$750] for the Airbnb [accommodation] and I am not going to say how much we paid for the tickets.” The two of them had become Liverpool fans watching the team in the US Premier League coverage. Mo Salah touches down in Kiev Credit: Getty images Andy Clifford, 49, from Scunthorpe, had travelled in a group of 11 from Birmingham to Warsaw, staying a night in Poland, and then on to Kiev. He and his friends had decided to book the flights after Liverpool’s first leg semi-final win over Roma at Anfield on April 25, hedging their position by also placing a bet on Roma to go through. They had since twice had Kiev accommodation cancelled and were staying in a hostel – “no stars, if anything it has minus stars” – that ordinarily cost £8 a night per person but had raised its rates to £50 per night. Walking through the city’s botanical gardens, Christian Klein-Heinz and his three friends cut an unusual sight. All four were dressed in German lederhosen and Bayern Munich shirts. They had booked their trip to Kiev in December with a mixture of hope and belief that Bayern would be in the final. “We do it every year,” said the 53-year-old IT company director. “We hope that Bayern make it and if we don’t we just go anyway and make a weekend of it. We have been to Milan and Cardiff as well in recent years. This time we are Liverpool fans. Jurgen Klopp is a good trainer. In the Bundesliga and in the final at Wembley in 2013 he always made it difficult for Bayern.”
One thousand stranded Liverpool fans’ hopes of reaching Saturday’s Champions League final in Kiev were unresolved on Thursday night after the city’s mayor Joe Anderson attempted to broker landing slots for two of the three supporters’ charter flights cancelled at the last minute. Anderson tweeted that he and Kiev mayor Vitaly Klitschko, the brother of former heavyweight world champion Wladimir, and himself a former heavyweight champion, were “working closely” and “close to a solution” after a day of chaos for those who had booked charter flights. By late Thursday night, Anderson tweeted that he had secured two fresh landing slots for the charter planes at Kiev’s Borispyl airport but that the operator in question, World Choice Sports, had chosen to take only one. Anderson challenged World Choice Sports to organise the planes to make use of the landing times he had negotiated saying he was “amazed it’s not been sorted”. Earlier in the day the club had confirmed that around 1,000 fans had been left without any way of reaching Saturday’s final against Real Madrid after the Widnes-based travel operator World Choice Sports said it was left with no option but to cancel flights. In a statement, World Choice Sports said that it had been forced to cancel three charter flights into Kiev’s Borispyl airport after it failed to secure the landing slots, blaming the cancellations on the destination airport. In a statement of their own, Liverpool football club said that it was trying to work with “stakeholders” over resolving the problem. Working closely with @Vitaliy_Klychko to get the Kiev flights sorted - thank you for your help & support. Close to solution now and more details will follow soon.— Joe Anderson (@mayor_anderson) May 24, 2018 Liverpool blamed a “dispute” between World Choice Sports and Borispyl airport “over the size of the aircraft” for the cancellation of the flights from Liverpool John Lennon airport. The club said that it had worked with the city council, Uefa and the authorities in Kiev, “endeavouring to resolve the issue since it first came to light and will continue to do so until all avenues have been exhausted.” In Kiev, the first Liverpool supporters who had managed to make the final began arriving on Thursday. Jon Hemphill, 64, a retired pharmaceutical company director from Liverpool, said that he had booked his hotel last May, even before his team had made it through their qualifying tie with Hoffenheim to reach the group stages. He and friends had taken a flight from Stansted to Warsaw and then an overnight train journey to Kiev lasting 16 hours. “The train could have been better, it was definitely Soviet era,” he said. “But it was on time, it came into the station bang on 11.02.” A veteran of Liverpool’s European Cup finals at Wembley in 1978, Paris in 1981 and Istanbul in 2005, as well as the Europa League final in 2016, he said that the flights and accommodation had cost between £600 and £700. Plenty of Liverpool fans have already made it to Kiev Credit: AFP Sam Furniss, 31, from Liverpool, who works in logistics, had come on three flights from Manchester to Berlin to Vilnius in Lithuania and on to Kiev. He said that he believed Madrid reaching the final a day earlier than Liverpool had meant they were able to book the aircraft slots at the Kiev airports for planes flying in from Spain. “Why put it in a city that can’t cope?” he asked. Stuart Gee, 42, an engineer from Liverpool who lives in Perth, Western Australia, had spent around £3,600 on flying from Perth via Doha in Qatar, a cost that he conceded was “ridiculously expensive”. He said that his flight from Doha had been at least half occupied by Liverpool fans coming to the Ukrainian capital for the final. He said that the difficulty in getting to Kiev was frustrating but made the final, and being there in person, “something special”. Gillis Green, 54, a lawyer from Baltimore in the United States had brought his son Russell, 22, to see the final in Kiev as a graduation present. Gillis said: “I am embarrassed to admit we paid about $7,000 [£5,220] for the tickets and another $1,000 [$750] for the Airbnb [accommodation] and I am not going to say how much we paid for the tickets.” The two of them had become Liverpool fans watching the team in the US Premier League coverage. Mo Salah touches down in Kiev Credit: Getty images Andy Clifford, 49, from Scunthorpe, had travelled in a group of 11 from Birmingham to Warsaw, staying a night in Poland, and then on to Kiev. He and his friends had decided to book the flights after Liverpool’s first leg semi-final win over Roma at Anfield on April 25, hedging their position by also placing a bet on Roma to go through. They had since twice had Kiev accommodation cancelled and were staying in a hostel – “no stars, if anything it has minus stars” – that ordinarily cost £8 a night per person but had raised its rates to £50 per night. Walking through the city’s botanical gardens, Christian Klein-Heinz and his three friends cut an unusual sight. All four were dressed in German lederhosen and Bayern Munich shirts. They had booked their trip to Kiev in December with a mixture of hope and belief that Bayern would be in the final. “We do it every year,” said the 53-year-old IT company director. “We hope that Bayern make it and if we don’t we just go anyway and make a weekend of it. We have been to Milan and Cardiff as well in recent years. This time we are Liverpool fans. Jurgen Klopp is a good trainer. In the Bundesliga and in the final at Wembley in 2013 he always made it difficult for Bayern.”
The truth behind Liverpool fans' costly nightmare following their team to Kiev
One thousand stranded Liverpool fans’ hopes of reaching Saturday’s Champions League final in Kiev were unresolved on Thursday night after the city’s mayor Joe Anderson attempted to broker landing slots for two of the three supporters’ charter flights cancelled at the last minute. Anderson tweeted that he and Kiev mayor Vitaly Klitschko, the brother of former heavyweight world champion Wladimir, and himself a former heavyweight champion, were “working closely” and “close to a solution” after a day of chaos for those who had booked charter flights. By late Thursday night, Anderson tweeted that he had secured two fresh landing slots for the charter planes at Kiev’s Borispyl airport but that the operator in question, World Choice Sports, had chosen to take only one. Anderson challenged World Choice Sports to organise the planes to make use of the landing times he had negotiated saying he was “amazed it’s not been sorted”. Earlier in the day the club had confirmed that around 1,000 fans had been left without any way of reaching Saturday’s final against Real Madrid after the Widnes-based travel operator World Choice Sports said it was left with no option but to cancel flights. In a statement, World Choice Sports said that it had been forced to cancel three charter flights into Kiev’s Borispyl airport after it failed to secure the landing slots, blaming the cancellations on the destination airport. In a statement of their own, Liverpool football club said that it was trying to work with “stakeholders” over resolving the problem. Working closely with @Vitaliy_Klychko to get the Kiev flights sorted - thank you for your help & support. Close to solution now and more details will follow soon.— Joe Anderson (@mayor_anderson) May 24, 2018 Liverpool blamed a “dispute” between World Choice Sports and Borispyl airport “over the size of the aircraft” for the cancellation of the flights from Liverpool John Lennon airport. The club said that it had worked with the city council, Uefa and the authorities in Kiev, “endeavouring to resolve the issue since it first came to light and will continue to do so until all avenues have been exhausted.” In Kiev, the first Liverpool supporters who had managed to make the final began arriving on Thursday. Jon Hemphill, 64, a retired pharmaceutical company director from Liverpool, said that he had booked his hotel last May, even before his team had made it through their qualifying tie with Hoffenheim to reach the group stages. He and friends had taken a flight from Stansted to Warsaw and then an overnight train journey to Kiev lasting 16 hours. “The train could have been better, it was definitely Soviet era,” he said. “But it was on time, it came into the station bang on 11.02.” A veteran of Liverpool’s European Cup finals at Wembley in 1978, Paris in 1981 and Istanbul in 2005, as well as the Europa League final in 2016, he said that the flights and accommodation had cost between £600 and £700. Plenty of Liverpool fans have already made it to Kiev Credit: AFP Sam Furniss, 31, from Liverpool, who works in logistics, had come on three flights from Manchester to Berlin to Vilnius in Lithuania and on to Kiev. He said that he believed Madrid reaching the final a day earlier than Liverpool had meant they were able to book the aircraft slots at the Kiev airports for planes flying in from Spain. “Why put it in a city that can’t cope?” he asked. Stuart Gee, 42, an engineer from Liverpool who lives in Perth, Western Australia, had spent around £3,600 on flying from Perth via Doha in Qatar, a cost that he conceded was “ridiculously expensive”. He said that his flight from Doha had been at least half occupied by Liverpool fans coming to the Ukrainian capital for the final. He said that the difficulty in getting to Kiev was frustrating but made the final, and being there in person, “something special”. Gillis Green, 54, a lawyer from Baltimore in the United States had brought his son Russell, 22, to see the final in Kiev as a graduation present. Gillis said: “I am embarrassed to admit we paid about $7,000 [£5,220] for the tickets and another $1,000 [$750] for the Airbnb [accommodation] and I am not going to say how much we paid for the tickets.” The two of them had become Liverpool fans watching the team in the US Premier League coverage. Mo Salah touches down in Kiev Credit: Getty images Andy Clifford, 49, from Scunthorpe, had travelled in a group of 11 from Birmingham to Warsaw, staying a night in Poland, and then on to Kiev. He and his friends had decided to book the flights after Liverpool’s first leg semi-final win over Roma at Anfield on April 25, hedging their position by also placing a bet on Roma to go through. They had since twice had Kiev accommodation cancelled and were staying in a hostel – “no stars, if anything it has minus stars” – that ordinarily cost £8 a night per person but had raised its rates to £50 per night. Walking through the city’s botanical gardens, Christian Klein-Heinz and his three friends cut an unusual sight. All four were dressed in German lederhosen and Bayern Munich shirts. They had booked their trip to Kiev in December with a mixture of hope and belief that Bayern would be in the final. “We do it every year,” said the 53-year-old IT company director. “We hope that Bayern make it and if we don’t we just go anyway and make a weekend of it. We have been to Milan and Cardiff as well in recent years. This time we are Liverpool fans. Jurgen Klopp is a good trainer. In the Bundesliga and in the final at Wembley in 2013 he always made it difficult for Bayern.”
Sadio Mane, the Liverpool striker, will have painted his hometown red whatever the outcome of the Champions League final on Saturday. Bambali, a small community in Senegal, will be swarming with the Liverpool jerseys Mane has dispatched direct from the club’s training base at Melwood. Ever since football brought him wealth and fame, the 26-year-old has been sending donations home. He has done so with one stipulation; there should be no publicity. Ahead of the meeting with Real Madrid, he made an exception. “I bought 300 Liverpool jerseys to send to the people in the village, so the fans can wear to watch the final,” he revealed. “My family still live in the village and they are all going to be watching. Nobody in the village will work this day.” Mane’s is not the only town or city in Africa sure to be backing Liverpool. Aside from the club’s vast global following, Mane believes the dashing style of Jurgen Klopp’s side makes them the neutrals’ favourites everywhere but Madrid and a few obvious corners of north-west England. European Cup final 2018 | Real Madrid vs Liverpool “I cannot say most of the world (is supporting Liverpool) because Real Madrid fans will say otherwise,” he said. “Maybe everyone who is not a Real Madrid, Everton, Manchester United and Manchester City fan. I think everyone else would like to see Liverpool win. It would be good for football.” Because of Liverpool’s attacking play? “Yes. I am always honoured to play alongside these great players,” he said. “People talk about the front three but it is the whole team that makes us better. They did a great job behind to help us score goals.” There is one friend in particular who Mane will be thinking of when he steps out in Kiev. “Youssouph Diatta,” he said, writing down the name. “I remember AC Milan v Liverpool [in 2005]. Three-nil down, then 3-3 and penalties. This was a big memory for me. I was watching in my village and I remember being with my friend, a big friend of mine (Youssouph), and at 3-0 down he was completely out. “He stopped watching until the end and ran like crazy to get away. Then he came back at the end and he could not believe it. Even to this day, he cannot believe it. He came back after the game when Liverpool had won! “I spoke to him earlier this week. He is a big Liverpool fan. He is still in Senegal. He asked me that this time do not be 3-0 down! Liverpool in Europe: Finals ranked and rated “I was not supporting Liverpool at this time. I was a Barcelona fan. If you had said then I would be playing the final, I would say it is something incredible in my life. Hopefully we are going to win.” Mane says it was after Liverpool won in Porto in the last 16 – when he struck a hat-trick – that he started to believe it possible. “I was thinking, ‘we can win’. It was a big night for me in the Champions League,” he says. “I am just thinking, it is incredible, not about pressure. Just happy and excited. It is the best time for the whole squad to play. We are in the best shape. There is no tiredness. This kind of game does not happen all the time. It is one of the most important of a career. It will not be easy. “They have experience and are one of the best teams in the world, but we have quality and can beat any team in the world. “They won it two times and want a third time in a row. We respect them as a great team and great club in history, but Liverpool also has history.” It has been a year of rapid progress, but Mane expects Liverpool will get better. He is constantly contacting his friend, Naby Keita, who finally moves from RB Leipzig in July. “I don’t think he will come to the final, but of course he will watch the game. I am always texting him,” he says. “He is my good friend. He said after we reached the final, ‘congratulations, I am looking forward to coming (to Liverpool)’. He will do great. He is a great player and he will do very well.” Mane will be returning to Bambali this summer. On his arrival, he hopes to unveil another special package. “I will be going back after the World Cup. Hopefully I will be showing everyone a (winner’s) medal,” he said.
Sadio Mane sends 300 Liverpool shirts to home village for Champions League final
Sadio Mane, the Liverpool striker, will have painted his hometown red whatever the outcome of the Champions League final on Saturday. Bambali, a small community in Senegal, will be swarming with the Liverpool jerseys Mane has dispatched direct from the club’s training base at Melwood. Ever since football brought him wealth and fame, the 26-year-old has been sending donations home. He has done so with one stipulation; there should be no publicity. Ahead of the meeting with Real Madrid, he made an exception. “I bought 300 Liverpool jerseys to send to the people in the village, so the fans can wear to watch the final,” he revealed. “My family still live in the village and they are all going to be watching. Nobody in the village will work this day.” Mane’s is not the only town or city in Africa sure to be backing Liverpool. Aside from the club’s vast global following, Mane believes the dashing style of Jurgen Klopp’s side makes them the neutrals’ favourites everywhere but Madrid and a few obvious corners of north-west England. European Cup final 2018 | Real Madrid vs Liverpool “I cannot say most of the world (is supporting Liverpool) because Real Madrid fans will say otherwise,” he said. “Maybe everyone who is not a Real Madrid, Everton, Manchester United and Manchester City fan. I think everyone else would like to see Liverpool win. It would be good for football.” Because of Liverpool’s attacking play? “Yes. I am always honoured to play alongside these great players,” he said. “People talk about the front three but it is the whole team that makes us better. They did a great job behind to help us score goals.” There is one friend in particular who Mane will be thinking of when he steps out in Kiev. “Youssouph Diatta,” he said, writing down the name. “I remember AC Milan v Liverpool [in 2005]. Three-nil down, then 3-3 and penalties. This was a big memory for me. I was watching in my village and I remember being with my friend, a big friend of mine (Youssouph), and at 3-0 down he was completely out. “He stopped watching until the end and ran like crazy to get away. Then he came back at the end and he could not believe it. Even to this day, he cannot believe it. He came back after the game when Liverpool had won! “I spoke to him earlier this week. He is a big Liverpool fan. He is still in Senegal. He asked me that this time do not be 3-0 down! Liverpool in Europe: Finals ranked and rated “I was not supporting Liverpool at this time. I was a Barcelona fan. If you had said then I would be playing the final, I would say it is something incredible in my life. Hopefully we are going to win.” Mane says it was after Liverpool won in Porto in the last 16 – when he struck a hat-trick – that he started to believe it possible. “I was thinking, ‘we can win’. It was a big night for me in the Champions League,” he says. “I am just thinking, it is incredible, not about pressure. Just happy and excited. It is the best time for the whole squad to play. We are in the best shape. There is no tiredness. This kind of game does not happen all the time. It is one of the most important of a career. It will not be easy. “They have experience and are one of the best teams in the world, but we have quality and can beat any team in the world. “They won it two times and want a third time in a row. We respect them as a great team and great club in history, but Liverpool also has history.” It has been a year of rapid progress, but Mane expects Liverpool will get better. He is constantly contacting his friend, Naby Keita, who finally moves from RB Leipzig in July. “I don’t think he will come to the final, but of course he will watch the game. I am always texting him,” he says. “He is my good friend. He said after we reached the final, ‘congratulations, I am looking forward to coming (to Liverpool)’. He will do great. He is a great player and he will do very well.” Mane will be returning to Bambali this summer. On his arrival, he hopes to unveil another special package. “I will be going back after the World Cup. Hopefully I will be showing everyone a (winner’s) medal,” he said.
Istanbul's Ataturk Olympic Stadium will host the 2020 UCL Final, 15 years after the Reds rallied to defeat AC Milan in penalty kicks.
Champions League Final to return to Istanbul
Istanbul's Ataturk Olympic Stadium will host the 2020 UCL Final, 15 years after the Reds rallied to defeat AC Milan in penalty kicks.
Istanbul's Ataturk Olympic Stadium will host the 2020 UCL Final, 15 years after the Reds rallied to defeat AC Milan in penalty kicks.
Champions League Final to return to Istanbul
Istanbul's Ataturk Olympic Stadium will host the 2020 UCL Final, 15 years after the Reds rallied to defeat AC Milan in penalty kicks.
Fifteen years on from hosting Liverpool's incredible comeback win over AC Milan, the Turkish city will stage the final of UEFA's showpiece tournament
Istanbul to host 2020 Champions League final
Fifteen years on from hosting Liverpool's incredible comeback win over AC Milan, the Turkish city will stage the final of UEFA's showpiece tournament
Fifteen years on from hosting Liverpool's incredible comeback win over AC Milan, the Turkish city will stage the final of UEFA's showpiece tournament
Istanbul to host 2020 Champions League final
Fifteen years on from hosting Liverpool's incredible comeback win over AC Milan, the Turkish city will stage the final of UEFA's showpiece tournament
The former AC Milan manager is a serial winner and many will hope that he can take the southern Italian team to the next level
Napoli needs to retain its best talents if it is to flourish under Ancelotti
The former AC Milan manager is a serial winner and many will hope that he can take the southern Italian team to the next level
What is it? Real Madrid and Liverpool will compete in the final of the European Cup - for the first time since 1981 - in a mouth-watering match to decide who will be awarded the coveted Champions League trophy. The defending champions and 12-time winners Real are bidding for their third successive title while Liverpool are seeking the sixth in their history. When is it? Saturday, May 26, 2018. Where is it? The 2018 Champions League final will be held at the NSC Olimpiyskiy Stadium in Kiev, Ukraine. It is the home of Dynamo Kiev. The stadium previously hosted the Euro 2012 final and holds a maximum capacity of 63,000 - the second largest in eastern Europe. What time is kick-off? 7.45pm BST. What TV channel is it on? BT Sport 1. But you can also watch the match for free on the BT Sport app or via BTSport.com or follow the game here with Telegraph Sport. Liverpool in Europe: Finals ranked and rated What happened in the semi-finals? In the first semi, Bayern Munich goalkeeper Sven Ulreich committed a huge blunder as holders Real edged into the final. Ulreich missed a backpass to gift a vital second goal to Karim Benzema at the Bernabeu Stadium, and the Frenchman's double in a pulsating 2-2 draw ensured Real progressed 4-3 on aggregate. Bayern had led early through Joshua Kimmich and a strike from James Rodriguez - who is on loan at the German club from Real - set up a tense finish. However, the hosts withstood considerable pressure to keep their bid for a third successive title on track. Just confirming this actually happened and is not a FIFA '18 bugpic.twitter.com/nNsfSDZvm4— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) May 1, 2018 The following night, Liverpool set up a repeat of their 1981 meeting against Real despite a first Champions League defeat of the season at the Stadio Olimpico. A chaotic 4-2 semi-final second leg loss to Roma saw Liverpool progress 7-6 on aggregate, with victory secured thanks to Sadio Mane's 19th of the season and the rare sight of Georginio Wijnaldum's first away goal in almost three years. A fortuitous own goal by James Milner inbetween had put the hosts back in the game, while Edin Dzeko's strike shortly after half-time ensured the Reds endured a testing conclusion and two late goals for Radja Nainngolan - including a penalty with the last kick of the game - came too late for Roma. Roma v Liverpool Can I still get tickets? The window for buying standard tickets is now closed. It ran on Uefa's website from March 15-22. Hospitality tickets are still on sale on Uefa's website, with prices starting from €3,200 per person. How do I get to Kiev? The City has two airports, Zhulyany (8km south-west of the city centre) and Boryspil International (35km east). Public transport includes buses, trolleybuses, trams and an ever-expanding metro system. Blaggers guide to speaking Ukrainian (source Uefa.com) Hello: Привіт – pree-vee'-t How are you?: Як справи? – yak spra'-vee Please: Будь ласка – bood la'-skah Thank you: Дякую – dja-ku'-yu Goodbye: До побачення – doh po-bah'-chen-ya Where is the stadium?: Де знаходиться стадіон? – de zna-kho'-dee-tsja sta-dee-on' Goal: Гол – Ghol Most European Cups What are they saying? Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp has said his team will be "on fire" for the final: "We were in a League Cup final and didn't win it. People don't tell me in the street since then: 'Thank you for bringing us to the final'. We were in the Europa League final too. Nobody tells me thank you. "I see no trophies after these games. They don't hang silver medals at Melwood. That's a pity, but that's the game. There's still a job to do. "You cannot be more experienced in this competition than Real Madrid. "I think 80 per cent of their team played all these finals. They are four times in the last five years and still together. They are experienced, we are not, but we will be really on fire." Liverpool vs Real Madrid: Head-to-head Road to the final Zinedine Zidane's side won their first two games but a home draw with Tottenham followed by a loss at Wembley meant they finished second in their group. Despite failing behind to Paris St Germain at the Bernabeu, they won 5-2 on aggregate in the last 16 then overcame an almighty scare against Juventus, advancing thanks to Cristiano Ronaldo's last-gasp penalty despite a 3-1 home loss. A semi-final first leg victory in Munich proved pivotal as a 2-2 draw with Bayern in Spain got them over the line. Liverpool had to come through a qualifying round against Hoffenheim and then drew the opening two games in their group. They also threw away a three-goal lead against Sevilla in a 3-3 draw but thumped both Maribor and Spartak Moscow to finish top of Group E. They beat Porto 5-0 in the first leg of their last-16 tie, won both legs in the all-English clash with Manchester City and then saw off Roma 7-6 on aggregate following a 5-2 first-leg win at Anfield. Who fizzed and who flopped in the Champions League semi-final decider? Star men Real have the current Ballon d'or winner. Liverpool may have the next one. Cristiano Ronaldo is the Champions League's all-time leading scorer - with 120 goals, Real Madrid's all-time top scorer and a four-time winner of the competition. Ronaldo, who turned 33 this year, has scored 42 club goals this season. Yet Mohamed Salah has already exceeded that tally. The former Roma winger has enjoyed an incredible first season at Anfield, becoming just the third player in Liverpool history to score 40-plus goals in a single season and winning a slew of personal accolades. If he can outshine Ronaldo in Kiev, the ultimate individual prize may be next. Managers Zidane and Jurgen Klopp have experienced contrasting fortunes in finals. The former has won both of the Champions League finals he has been involved in as a boss. Meanwhile, Klopp has lost his previous five finals as a manage, including in the Europa League against Sevilla two seasons ago. Jurgen Klopp celebrates with his players Credit: GETTY IMAGES Tactics Real have not been as dominant as previous seasons, when their BBC (Gareth Bale, Karim Benzema and Ronaldo) strikeforce was in full flow and Luka Modric and Toni Kroos ran the midfield. This team is more pragmatic. Centre-backs Sergio Ramos and Raphael Varane and defensive midfielder Casemiro form a strong spine and Zidane can usually rely on Ronaldo for a moment of magic. Klopp's gegenpressing style has been used to devastating effect this year thanks to the relentless front three of Salah, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane. Liverpool will pin their hopes on that trio and their harassing style. History This is a meeting of the two of the most decorated clubs in the competition's history. No team has won more European Cups than Real Madrid's 12. Los Blancos won five in a row between 1956 and 1960 and last year they become the first club to retain the title in the Champions League era. Only Real and AC Milan have won more European Cups than Liverpool. The five-time winners' most recent success came in an astonishing 2005 final against AC Milan, who exacted revenge in the 2007 final. The Reds also beat Real in the 1981 final when Alan Kennedy scored the winner. Goals aplenty made Roma vs Liverpool a semi-final to sing and dance about Salah vs Ronaldo: A comparison Liverpool and Real Madrid will be looking to Mohamed Salah and Cristiano Ronaldo to make the difference for their respective teams on May 26. Here, we look at the numbers behind the two players' astonishing campaigns: Club appearances (all competitions): Salah (Liverpool) 49, Ronaldo (Real Madrid) 41 Club goals (all competitions): Salah 43, Ronaldo 42 Domestic league goals: Salah 31, Ronaldo 24 Domestic league assists: Salah 9, Ronaldo 5 Champions League goals (includes qualifiers): Salah 11, Ronaldo 15 Champions League assists (includes qualifiers): Salah 4, Ronaldo 2 Braces: Salah 7, Ronaldo 11 Hat-tricks: Salah 0, Ronaldo 1 Four goals in a game: Salah 1, Ronaldo 1 Longest scoring streak: Salah 7 games, Ronaldo 12 games Longest run without a goal: Salah 3 games, Ronaldo 3 games *Includes all competitive games except internationals. How Spanish sides have dominated past decade What are the odds? Real Madrid to win 6/5 Draw 11/4 Liverpool to win 2/1 What is our prediction? Real have not been as dominant as previous seasons, although they still managed to see off PSG, Juventus and Bayern Munich en route to the final. If Liverpool are to win, much will depend on their front three of Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane and their harassing style. There will be goals aplenty, and this feels like Liverpool's time. Predicted score: Liverpool win 4-3 in extra time. Liverpool's Champions League campaign | In Numbers
Champions League final 2018: What time will Liverpool vs Real Madrid kick-off, what TV channel is it on and what is our prediction?
What is it? Real Madrid and Liverpool will compete in the final of the European Cup - for the first time since 1981 - in a mouth-watering match to decide who will be awarded the coveted Champions League trophy. The defending champions and 12-time winners Real are bidding for their third successive title while Liverpool are seeking the sixth in their history. When is it? Saturday, May 26, 2018. Where is it? The 2018 Champions League final will be held at the NSC Olimpiyskiy Stadium in Kiev, Ukraine. It is the home of Dynamo Kiev. The stadium previously hosted the Euro 2012 final and holds a maximum capacity of 63,000 - the second largest in eastern Europe. What time is kick-off? 7.45pm BST. What TV channel is it on? BT Sport 1. But you can also watch the match for free on the BT Sport app or via BTSport.com or follow the game here with Telegraph Sport. Liverpool in Europe: Finals ranked and rated What happened in the semi-finals? In the first semi, Bayern Munich goalkeeper Sven Ulreich committed a huge blunder as holders Real edged into the final. Ulreich missed a backpass to gift a vital second goal to Karim Benzema at the Bernabeu Stadium, and the Frenchman's double in a pulsating 2-2 draw ensured Real progressed 4-3 on aggregate. Bayern had led early through Joshua Kimmich and a strike from James Rodriguez - who is on loan at the German club from Real - set up a tense finish. However, the hosts withstood considerable pressure to keep their bid for a third successive title on track. Just confirming this actually happened and is not a FIFA '18 bugpic.twitter.com/nNsfSDZvm4— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) May 1, 2018 The following night, Liverpool set up a repeat of their 1981 meeting against Real despite a first Champions League defeat of the season at the Stadio Olimpico. A chaotic 4-2 semi-final second leg loss to Roma saw Liverpool progress 7-6 on aggregate, with victory secured thanks to Sadio Mane's 19th of the season and the rare sight of Georginio Wijnaldum's first away goal in almost three years. A fortuitous own goal by James Milner inbetween had put the hosts back in the game, while Edin Dzeko's strike shortly after half-time ensured the Reds endured a testing conclusion and two late goals for Radja Nainngolan - including a penalty with the last kick of the game - came too late for Roma. Roma v Liverpool Can I still get tickets? The window for buying standard tickets is now closed. It ran on Uefa's website from March 15-22. Hospitality tickets are still on sale on Uefa's website, with prices starting from €3,200 per person. How do I get to Kiev? The City has two airports, Zhulyany (8km south-west of the city centre) and Boryspil International (35km east). Public transport includes buses, trolleybuses, trams and an ever-expanding metro system. Blaggers guide to speaking Ukrainian (source Uefa.com) Hello: Привіт – pree-vee'-t How are you?: Як справи? – yak spra'-vee Please: Будь ласка – bood la'-skah Thank you: Дякую – dja-ku'-yu Goodbye: До побачення – doh po-bah'-chen-ya Where is the stadium?: Де знаходиться стадіон? – de zna-kho'-dee-tsja sta-dee-on' Goal: Гол – Ghol Most European Cups What are they saying? Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp has said his team will be "on fire" for the final: "We were in a League Cup final and didn't win it. People don't tell me in the street since then: 'Thank you for bringing us to the final'. We were in the Europa League final too. Nobody tells me thank you. "I see no trophies after these games. They don't hang silver medals at Melwood. That's a pity, but that's the game. There's still a job to do. "You cannot be more experienced in this competition than Real Madrid. "I think 80 per cent of their team played all these finals. They are four times in the last five years and still together. They are experienced, we are not, but we will be really on fire." Liverpool vs Real Madrid: Head-to-head Road to the final Zinedine Zidane's side won their first two games but a home draw with Tottenham followed by a loss at Wembley meant they finished second in their group. Despite failing behind to Paris St Germain at the Bernabeu, they won 5-2 on aggregate in the last 16 then overcame an almighty scare against Juventus, advancing thanks to Cristiano Ronaldo's last-gasp penalty despite a 3-1 home loss. A semi-final first leg victory in Munich proved pivotal as a 2-2 draw with Bayern in Spain got them over the line. Liverpool had to come through a qualifying round against Hoffenheim and then drew the opening two games in their group. They also threw away a three-goal lead against Sevilla in a 3-3 draw but thumped both Maribor and Spartak Moscow to finish top of Group E. They beat Porto 5-0 in the first leg of their last-16 tie, won both legs in the all-English clash with Manchester City and then saw off Roma 7-6 on aggregate following a 5-2 first-leg win at Anfield. Who fizzed and who flopped in the Champions League semi-final decider? Star men Real have the current Ballon d'or winner. Liverpool may have the next one. Cristiano Ronaldo is the Champions League's all-time leading scorer - with 120 goals, Real Madrid's all-time top scorer and a four-time winner of the competition. Ronaldo, who turned 33 this year, has scored 42 club goals this season. Yet Mohamed Salah has already exceeded that tally. The former Roma winger has enjoyed an incredible first season at Anfield, becoming just the third player in Liverpool history to score 40-plus goals in a single season and winning a slew of personal accolades. If he can outshine Ronaldo in Kiev, the ultimate individual prize may be next. Managers Zidane and Jurgen Klopp have experienced contrasting fortunes in finals. The former has won both of the Champions League finals he has been involved in as a boss. Meanwhile, Klopp has lost his previous five finals as a manage, including in the Europa League against Sevilla two seasons ago. Jurgen Klopp celebrates with his players Credit: GETTY IMAGES Tactics Real have not been as dominant as previous seasons, when their BBC (Gareth Bale, Karim Benzema and Ronaldo) strikeforce was in full flow and Luka Modric and Toni Kroos ran the midfield. This team is more pragmatic. Centre-backs Sergio Ramos and Raphael Varane and defensive midfielder Casemiro form a strong spine and Zidane can usually rely on Ronaldo for a moment of magic. Klopp's gegenpressing style has been used to devastating effect this year thanks to the relentless front three of Salah, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane. Liverpool will pin their hopes on that trio and their harassing style. History This is a meeting of the two of the most decorated clubs in the competition's history. No team has won more European Cups than Real Madrid's 12. Los Blancos won five in a row between 1956 and 1960 and last year they become the first club to retain the title in the Champions League era. Only Real and AC Milan have won more European Cups than Liverpool. The five-time winners' most recent success came in an astonishing 2005 final against AC Milan, who exacted revenge in the 2007 final. The Reds also beat Real in the 1981 final when Alan Kennedy scored the winner. Goals aplenty made Roma vs Liverpool a semi-final to sing and dance about Salah vs Ronaldo: A comparison Liverpool and Real Madrid will be looking to Mohamed Salah and Cristiano Ronaldo to make the difference for their respective teams on May 26. Here, we look at the numbers behind the two players' astonishing campaigns: Club appearances (all competitions): Salah (Liverpool) 49, Ronaldo (Real Madrid) 41 Club goals (all competitions): Salah 43, Ronaldo 42 Domestic league goals: Salah 31, Ronaldo 24 Domestic league assists: Salah 9, Ronaldo 5 Champions League goals (includes qualifiers): Salah 11, Ronaldo 15 Champions League assists (includes qualifiers): Salah 4, Ronaldo 2 Braces: Salah 7, Ronaldo 11 Hat-tricks: Salah 0, Ronaldo 1 Four goals in a game: Salah 1, Ronaldo 1 Longest scoring streak: Salah 7 games, Ronaldo 12 games Longest run without a goal: Salah 3 games, Ronaldo 3 games *Includes all competitive games except internationals. How Spanish sides have dominated past decade What are the odds? Real Madrid to win 6/5 Draw 11/4 Liverpool to win 2/1 What is our prediction? Real have not been as dominant as previous seasons, although they still managed to see off PSG, Juventus and Bayern Munich en route to the final. If Liverpool are to win, much will depend on their front three of Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane and their harassing style. There will be goals aplenty, and this feels like Liverpool's time. Predicted score: Liverpool win 4-3 in extra time. Liverpool's Champions League campaign | In Numbers
Zinedine Zidane will eclipse the greatest managers in history if he wins a third consecutive Champions League, but a sneering campaign has shadowed his Real Madrid reign. Only two managers, Bob Paisley and Carlo Ancelotti, have won the European Cup three times, but not in successive years. Despite Zidane being on the threshold of unprecedented success, cynics continue to damn him with faint praise. The Frenchman is often portrayed as the fortunate recipient of an expensively assembled squad, rather than the architect of ­mesmerising performances. For those who know him, the withering assessments of his work are fed by jealousy and ignorance. “He doesn’t get enough credit. He took over a struggling, dysfunctional team,” says Steve McManaman, Zidane’s former team-mate at the start of the glorious Galactico era at the turn of the century. “The players were not happy when he was appointed. He has gone on to win two Champions Leagues. If Pep Guardiola had done this people would be singing from rooftops. “He does not pat himself on the back enough. He is similar as a manager as a player. He is not outspoken. He gives nothing away. Not extravagant in interviews, but always graceful. McManaman used to play with Zidane Credit: getty images “If he wins, everyone says it is down to players, but he is the one who has turned them into a happy bunch. “I understand some managers don’t appear to be so proactive – I had that when I played under Vicente del Bosque. He was not a shouter or a super architect with elaborate training sessions, but he kept the camp happy and everyone knew where they stood. He did not feel the need to give chest-thumping speeches. He let the leaders in the dressing room – the Spanish players – do all that. Zizou looks like he has taken the same approach. “On the pitch, it is Sergio Ramos, or Cristiano Ronaldo who are the leaders. “The ability to control and mould that is a management skill as important as any when you have such a strong dressing room. You can’t tell players like Cristiano what to do. It is the same with Lionel Messi for Barcelona managers. They are too powerful. But you have to keep them happy to get the best out of them. “I am not saying they have a huge ego, but they are superstars – some of the best players in football history – so you need a special character to man-manage them well. Zizou should be there forever, given what he has achieved.” McManaman won the European Cup twice with Real, having joined from Liverpool in 1999, two clubs whose identity is defined by the competition. Zidane is chasing yet another trophy Credit: AP “It was not a huge difference for me moving from Liverpool to Madrid because, at Liverpool, we were obsessed with the titles we had won and the European Cups. It was exactly the same at Madrid,” says McManaman, who will be a BT Sport pundit covering the final. “They wanted to win everything, but in terms of importance, yes, the European Cup was always a major target. “When I joined, I was immediately made aware of the ethos of Madrid. I was given a book – more of a pamphlet if you like – chartering the history of Real Madrid and the values of the club. It was all about winning with grace, but also being graceful in defeat. They told me, ‘At Real Madrid we do not want to win with arrogance’, and they gave me a shirt of Alfredo Di Stefano [five-time European Cup winner]. “Di Stefano was the symbol of the club, his name is always in the background. He was honorary president at that time and you see him around the stadium or his image on the walls. “To be honest, I had a lot of these values instilled in me coming through at Liverpool. These were the same as those Ronnie Moran and Roy Evans bred in all Liverpool’s players. “These are world-renowned clubs. No disrespect to those who have won the European Cup once, but there is a list of teams who are at the top, those who you remember. Real Madrid, Barcelona, Bayern Munich, AC Milan and Liverpool. European Cup final 2018 | Real Madrid vs Liverpool “You always think of the games when they won and you know the players who did it. That sets these clubs apart. If you mention Istanbul to anyone in the world, they will immediately think about Steven Gerrard.” McManaman was also a scorer in the final, a spectacular volley in Real Madrid’s 3-0 win over Valencia in 2000. “It was a massive moment in my career. In terms of relevance you are defined by the Champions League,” he says. But despite the affection for his old side, McManaman says his former colleagues in Madrid understand he is not emotionally torn ahead of the final. “When Liverpool got to the final, my friends in Spain were texting saying, ‘Congratulations for getting there’,” he says. “I think they understand where my loyalties are.” Watch Real Madrid v Liverpool in the Champions League final on BT Sport 2 and BT Sport 4K UHD from 6pm on Saturday. For more info visit BT.com/sport.
Zinedine Zidane deserves more credit, says Steve McManaman
Zinedine Zidane will eclipse the greatest managers in history if he wins a third consecutive Champions League, but a sneering campaign has shadowed his Real Madrid reign. Only two managers, Bob Paisley and Carlo Ancelotti, have won the European Cup three times, but not in successive years. Despite Zidane being on the threshold of unprecedented success, cynics continue to damn him with faint praise. The Frenchman is often portrayed as the fortunate recipient of an expensively assembled squad, rather than the architect of ­mesmerising performances. For those who know him, the withering assessments of his work are fed by jealousy and ignorance. “He doesn’t get enough credit. He took over a struggling, dysfunctional team,” says Steve McManaman, Zidane’s former team-mate at the start of the glorious Galactico era at the turn of the century. “The players were not happy when he was appointed. He has gone on to win two Champions Leagues. If Pep Guardiola had done this people would be singing from rooftops. “He does not pat himself on the back enough. He is similar as a manager as a player. He is not outspoken. He gives nothing away. Not extravagant in interviews, but always graceful. McManaman used to play with Zidane Credit: getty images “If he wins, everyone says it is down to players, but he is the one who has turned them into a happy bunch. “I understand some managers don’t appear to be so proactive – I had that when I played under Vicente del Bosque. He was not a shouter or a super architect with elaborate training sessions, but he kept the camp happy and everyone knew where they stood. He did not feel the need to give chest-thumping speeches. He let the leaders in the dressing room – the Spanish players – do all that. Zizou looks like he has taken the same approach. “On the pitch, it is Sergio Ramos, or Cristiano Ronaldo who are the leaders. “The ability to control and mould that is a management skill as important as any when you have such a strong dressing room. You can’t tell players like Cristiano what to do. It is the same with Lionel Messi for Barcelona managers. They are too powerful. But you have to keep them happy to get the best out of them. “I am not saying they have a huge ego, but they are superstars – some of the best players in football history – so you need a special character to man-manage them well. Zizou should be there forever, given what he has achieved.” McManaman won the European Cup twice with Real, having joined from Liverpool in 1999, two clubs whose identity is defined by the competition. Zidane is chasing yet another trophy Credit: AP “It was not a huge difference for me moving from Liverpool to Madrid because, at Liverpool, we were obsessed with the titles we had won and the European Cups. It was exactly the same at Madrid,” says McManaman, who will be a BT Sport pundit covering the final. “They wanted to win everything, but in terms of importance, yes, the European Cup was always a major target. “When I joined, I was immediately made aware of the ethos of Madrid. I was given a book – more of a pamphlet if you like – chartering the history of Real Madrid and the values of the club. It was all about winning with grace, but also being graceful in defeat. They told me, ‘At Real Madrid we do not want to win with arrogance’, and they gave me a shirt of Alfredo Di Stefano [five-time European Cup winner]. “Di Stefano was the symbol of the club, his name is always in the background. He was honorary president at that time and you see him around the stadium or his image on the walls. “To be honest, I had a lot of these values instilled in me coming through at Liverpool. These were the same as those Ronnie Moran and Roy Evans bred in all Liverpool’s players. “These are world-renowned clubs. No disrespect to those who have won the European Cup once, but there is a list of teams who are at the top, those who you remember. Real Madrid, Barcelona, Bayern Munich, AC Milan and Liverpool. European Cup final 2018 | Real Madrid vs Liverpool “You always think of the games when they won and you know the players who did it. That sets these clubs apart. If you mention Istanbul to anyone in the world, they will immediately think about Steven Gerrard.” McManaman was also a scorer in the final, a spectacular volley in Real Madrid’s 3-0 win over Valencia in 2000. “It was a massive moment in my career. In terms of relevance you are defined by the Champions League,” he says. But despite the affection for his old side, McManaman says his former colleagues in Madrid understand he is not emotionally torn ahead of the final. “When Liverpool got to the final, my friends in Spain were texting saying, ‘Congratulations for getting there’,” he says. “I think they understand where my loyalties are.” Watch Real Madrid v Liverpool in the Champions League final on BT Sport 2 and BT Sport 4K UHD from 6pm on Saturday. For more info visit BT.com/sport.
Zinedine Zidane will eclipse the greatest managers in history if he wins a third consecutive Champions League, but a sneering campaign has shadowed his Real Madrid reign. Only two managers, Bob Paisley and Carlo Ancelotti, have won the European Cup three times, but not in successive years. Despite Zidane being on the threshold of unprecedented success, cynics continue to damn him with faint praise. The Frenchman is often portrayed as the fortunate recipient of an expensively assembled squad, rather than the architect of ­mesmerising performances. For those who know him, the withering assessments of his work are fed by jealousy and ignorance. “He doesn’t get enough credit. He took over a struggling, dysfunctional team,” says Steve McManaman, Zidane’s former team-mate at the start of the glorious Galactico era at the turn of the century. “The players were not happy when he was appointed. He has gone on to win two Champions Leagues. If Pep Guardiola had done this people would be singing from rooftops. “He does not pat himself on the back enough. He is similar as a manager as a player. He is not outspoken. He gives nothing away. Not extravagant in interviews, but always graceful. McManaman used to play with Zidane Credit: getty images “If he wins, everyone says it is down to players, but he is the one who has turned them into a happy bunch. “I understand some managers don’t appear to be so proactive – I had that when I played under Vicente del Bosque. He was not a shouter or a super architect with elaborate training sessions, but he kept the camp happy and everyone knew where they stood. He did not feel the need to give chest-thumping speeches. He let the leaders in the dressing room – the Spanish players – do all that. Zizou looks like he has taken the same approach. “On the pitch, it is Sergio Ramos, or Cristiano Ronaldo who are the leaders. “The ability to control and mould that is a management skill as important as any when you have such a strong dressing room. You can’t tell players like Cristiano what to do. It is the same with Lionel Messi for Barcelona managers. They are too powerful. But you have to keep them happy to get the best out of them. “I am not saying they have a huge ego, but they are superstars – some of the best players in football history – so you need a special character to man-manage them well. Zizou should be there forever, given what he has achieved.” McManaman won the European Cup twice with Real, having joined from Liverpool in 1999, two clubs whose identity is defined by the competition. Zidane is chasing yet another trophy Credit: AP “It was not a huge difference for me moving from Liverpool to Madrid because, at Liverpool, we were obsessed with the titles we had won and the European Cups. It was exactly the same at Madrid,” says McManaman, who will be a BT Sport pundit covering the final. “They wanted to win everything, but in terms of importance, yes, the European Cup was always a major target. “When I joined, I was immediately made aware of the ethos of Madrid. I was given a book – more of a pamphlet if you like – chartering the history of Real Madrid and the values of the club. It was all about winning with grace, but also being graceful in defeat. They told me, ‘At Real Madrid we do not want to win with arrogance’, and they gave me a shirt of Alfredo Di Stefano [five-time European Cup winner]. “Di Stefano was the symbol of the club, his name is always in the background. He was honorary president at that time and you see him around the stadium or his image on the walls. “To be honest, I had a lot of these values instilled in me coming through at Liverpool. These were the same as those Ronnie Moran and Roy Evans bred in all Liverpool’s players. “These are world-renowned clubs. No disrespect to those who have won the European Cup once, but there is a list of teams who are at the top, those who you remember. Real Madrid, Barcelona, Bayern Munich, AC Milan and Liverpool. European Cup final 2018 | Real Madrid vs Liverpool “You always think of the games when they won and you know the players who did it. That sets these clubs apart. If you mention Istanbul to anyone in the world, they will immediately think about Steven Gerrard.” McManaman was also a scorer in the final, a spectacular volley in Real Madrid’s 3-0 win over Valencia in 2000. “It was a massive moment in my career. In terms of relevance you are defined by the Champions League,” he says. But despite the affection for his old side, McManaman says his former colleagues in Madrid understand he is not emotionally torn ahead of the final. “When Liverpool got to the final, my friends in Spain were texting saying, ‘Congratulations for getting there’,” he says. “I think they understand where my loyalties are.” Watch Real Madrid v Liverpool in the Champions League final on BT Sport 2 and BT Sport 4K UHD from 6pm on Saturday. For more info visit BT.com/sport.
Zinedine Zidane deserves more credit, says Steve McManaman
Zinedine Zidane will eclipse the greatest managers in history if he wins a third consecutive Champions League, but a sneering campaign has shadowed his Real Madrid reign. Only two managers, Bob Paisley and Carlo Ancelotti, have won the European Cup three times, but not in successive years. Despite Zidane being on the threshold of unprecedented success, cynics continue to damn him with faint praise. The Frenchman is often portrayed as the fortunate recipient of an expensively assembled squad, rather than the architect of ­mesmerising performances. For those who know him, the withering assessments of his work are fed by jealousy and ignorance. “He doesn’t get enough credit. He took over a struggling, dysfunctional team,” says Steve McManaman, Zidane’s former team-mate at the start of the glorious Galactico era at the turn of the century. “The players were not happy when he was appointed. He has gone on to win two Champions Leagues. If Pep Guardiola had done this people would be singing from rooftops. “He does not pat himself on the back enough. He is similar as a manager as a player. He is not outspoken. He gives nothing away. Not extravagant in interviews, but always graceful. McManaman used to play with Zidane Credit: getty images “If he wins, everyone says it is down to players, but he is the one who has turned them into a happy bunch. “I understand some managers don’t appear to be so proactive – I had that when I played under Vicente del Bosque. He was not a shouter or a super architect with elaborate training sessions, but he kept the camp happy and everyone knew where they stood. He did not feel the need to give chest-thumping speeches. He let the leaders in the dressing room – the Spanish players – do all that. Zizou looks like he has taken the same approach. “On the pitch, it is Sergio Ramos, or Cristiano Ronaldo who are the leaders. “The ability to control and mould that is a management skill as important as any when you have such a strong dressing room. You can’t tell players like Cristiano what to do. It is the same with Lionel Messi for Barcelona managers. They are too powerful. But you have to keep them happy to get the best out of them. “I am not saying they have a huge ego, but they are superstars – some of the best players in football history – so you need a special character to man-manage them well. Zizou should be there forever, given what he has achieved.” McManaman won the European Cup twice with Real, having joined from Liverpool in 1999, two clubs whose identity is defined by the competition. Zidane is chasing yet another trophy Credit: AP “It was not a huge difference for me moving from Liverpool to Madrid because, at Liverpool, we were obsessed with the titles we had won and the European Cups. It was exactly the same at Madrid,” says McManaman, who will be a BT Sport pundit covering the final. “They wanted to win everything, but in terms of importance, yes, the European Cup was always a major target. “When I joined, I was immediately made aware of the ethos of Madrid. I was given a book – more of a pamphlet if you like – chartering the history of Real Madrid and the values of the club. It was all about winning with grace, but also being graceful in defeat. They told me, ‘At Real Madrid we do not want to win with arrogance’, and they gave me a shirt of Alfredo Di Stefano [five-time European Cup winner]. “Di Stefano was the symbol of the club, his name is always in the background. He was honorary president at that time and you see him around the stadium or his image on the walls. “To be honest, I had a lot of these values instilled in me coming through at Liverpool. These were the same as those Ronnie Moran and Roy Evans bred in all Liverpool’s players. “These are world-renowned clubs. No disrespect to those who have won the European Cup once, but there is a list of teams who are at the top, those who you remember. Real Madrid, Barcelona, Bayern Munich, AC Milan and Liverpool. European Cup final 2018 | Real Madrid vs Liverpool “You always think of the games when they won and you know the players who did it. That sets these clubs apart. If you mention Istanbul to anyone in the world, they will immediately think about Steven Gerrard.” McManaman was also a scorer in the final, a spectacular volley in Real Madrid’s 3-0 win over Valencia in 2000. “It was a massive moment in my career. In terms of relevance you are defined by the Champions League,” he says. But despite the affection for his old side, McManaman says his former colleagues in Madrid understand he is not emotionally torn ahead of the final. “When Liverpool got to the final, my friends in Spain were texting saying, ‘Congratulations for getting there’,” he says. “I think they understand where my loyalties are.” Watch Real Madrid v Liverpool in the Champions League final on BT Sport 2 and BT Sport 4K UHD from 6pm on Saturday. For more info visit BT.com/sport.
Zinedine Zidane will eclipse the greatest managers in history if he wins a third consecutive Champions League, but a sneering campaign has shadowed his Real Madrid reign. Only two managers, Bob Paisley and Carlo Ancelotti, have won the European Cup three times, but not in successive years. Despite Zidane being on the threshold of unprecedented success, cynics continue to damn him with faint praise. The Frenchman is often portrayed as the fortunate recipient of an expensively assembled squad, rather than the architect of ­mesmerising performances. For those who know him, the withering assessments of his work are fed by jealousy and ignorance. “He doesn’t get enough credit. He took over a struggling, dysfunctional team,” says Steve McManaman, Zidane’s former team-mate at the start of the glorious Galactico era at the turn of the century. “The players were not happy when he was appointed. He has gone on to win two Champions Leagues. If Pep Guardiola had done this people would be singing from rooftops. “He does not pat himself on the back enough. He is similar as a manager as a player. He is not outspoken. He gives nothing away. Not extravagant in interviews, but always graceful. McManaman used to play with Zidane Credit: getty images “If he wins, everyone says it is down to players, but he is the one who has turned them into a happy bunch. “I understand some managers don’t appear to be so proactive – I had that when I played under Vicente del Bosque. He was not a shouter or a super architect with elaborate training sessions, but he kept the camp happy and everyone knew where they stood. He did not feel the need to give chest-thumping speeches. He let the leaders in the dressing room – the Spanish players – do all that. Zizou looks like he has taken the same approach. “On the pitch, it is Sergio Ramos, or Cristiano Ronaldo who are the leaders. “The ability to control and mould that is a management skill as important as any when you have such a strong dressing room. You can’t tell players like Cristiano what to do. It is the same with Lionel Messi for Barcelona managers. They are too powerful. But you have to keep them happy to get the best out of them. “I am not saying they have a huge ego, but they are superstars – some of the best players in football history – so you need a special character to man-manage them well. Zizou should be there forever, given what he has achieved.” McManaman won the European Cup twice with Real, having joined from Liverpool in 1999, two clubs whose identity is defined by the competition. Zidane is chasing yet another trophy Credit: AP “It was not a huge difference for me moving from Liverpool to Madrid because, at Liverpool, we were obsessed with the titles we had won and the European Cups. It was exactly the same at Madrid,” says McManaman, who will be a BT Sport pundit covering the final. “They wanted to win everything, but in terms of importance, yes, the European Cup was always a major target. “When I joined, I was immediately made aware of the ethos of Madrid. I was given a book – more of a pamphlet if you like – chartering the history of Real Madrid and the values of the club. It was all about winning with grace, but also being graceful in defeat. They told me, ‘At Real Madrid we do not want to win with arrogance’, and they gave me a shirt of Alfredo Di Stefano [five-time European Cup winner]. “Di Stefano was the symbol of the club, his name is always in the background. He was honorary president at that time and you see him around the stadium or his image on the walls. “To be honest, I had a lot of these values instilled in me coming through at Liverpool. These were the same as those Ronnie Moran and Roy Evans bred in all Liverpool’s players. “These are world-renowned clubs. No disrespect to those who have won the European Cup once, but there is a list of teams who are at the top, those who you remember. Real Madrid, Barcelona, Bayern Munich, AC Milan and Liverpool. European Cup final 2018 | Real Madrid vs Liverpool “You always think of the games when they won and you know the players who did it. That sets these clubs apart. If you mention Istanbul to anyone in the world, they will immediately think about Steven Gerrard.” McManaman was also a scorer in the final, a spectacular volley in Real Madrid’s 3-0 win over Valencia in 2000. “It was a massive moment in my career. In terms of relevance you are defined by the Champions League,” he says. But despite the affection for his old side, McManaman says his former colleagues in Madrid understand he is not emotionally torn ahead of the final. “When Liverpool got to the final, my friends in Spain were texting saying, ‘Congratulations for getting there’,” he says. “I think they understand where my loyalties are.” Watch Real Madrid v Liverpool in the Champions League final on BT Sport 2 and BT Sport 4K UHD from 6pm on Saturday. For more info visit BT.com/sport.
Zinedine Zidane deserves more credit, says Steve McManaman
Zinedine Zidane will eclipse the greatest managers in history if he wins a third consecutive Champions League, but a sneering campaign has shadowed his Real Madrid reign. Only two managers, Bob Paisley and Carlo Ancelotti, have won the European Cup three times, but not in successive years. Despite Zidane being on the threshold of unprecedented success, cynics continue to damn him with faint praise. The Frenchman is often portrayed as the fortunate recipient of an expensively assembled squad, rather than the architect of ­mesmerising performances. For those who know him, the withering assessments of his work are fed by jealousy and ignorance. “He doesn’t get enough credit. He took over a struggling, dysfunctional team,” says Steve McManaman, Zidane’s former team-mate at the start of the glorious Galactico era at the turn of the century. “The players were not happy when he was appointed. He has gone on to win two Champions Leagues. If Pep Guardiola had done this people would be singing from rooftops. “He does not pat himself on the back enough. He is similar as a manager as a player. He is not outspoken. He gives nothing away. Not extravagant in interviews, but always graceful. McManaman used to play with Zidane Credit: getty images “If he wins, everyone says it is down to players, but he is the one who has turned them into a happy bunch. “I understand some managers don’t appear to be so proactive – I had that when I played under Vicente del Bosque. He was not a shouter or a super architect with elaborate training sessions, but he kept the camp happy and everyone knew where they stood. He did not feel the need to give chest-thumping speeches. He let the leaders in the dressing room – the Spanish players – do all that. Zizou looks like he has taken the same approach. “On the pitch, it is Sergio Ramos, or Cristiano Ronaldo who are the leaders. “The ability to control and mould that is a management skill as important as any when you have such a strong dressing room. You can’t tell players like Cristiano what to do. It is the same with Lionel Messi for Barcelona managers. They are too powerful. But you have to keep them happy to get the best out of them. “I am not saying they have a huge ego, but they are superstars – some of the best players in football history – so you need a special character to man-manage them well. Zizou should be there forever, given what he has achieved.” McManaman won the European Cup twice with Real, having joined from Liverpool in 1999, two clubs whose identity is defined by the competition. Zidane is chasing yet another trophy Credit: AP “It was not a huge difference for me moving from Liverpool to Madrid because, at Liverpool, we were obsessed with the titles we had won and the European Cups. It was exactly the same at Madrid,” says McManaman, who will be a BT Sport pundit covering the final. “They wanted to win everything, but in terms of importance, yes, the European Cup was always a major target. “When I joined, I was immediately made aware of the ethos of Madrid. I was given a book – more of a pamphlet if you like – chartering the history of Real Madrid and the values of the club. It was all about winning with grace, but also being graceful in defeat. They told me, ‘At Real Madrid we do not want to win with arrogance’, and they gave me a shirt of Alfredo Di Stefano [five-time European Cup winner]. “Di Stefano was the symbol of the club, his name is always in the background. He was honorary president at that time and you see him around the stadium or his image on the walls. “To be honest, I had a lot of these values instilled in me coming through at Liverpool. These were the same as those Ronnie Moran and Roy Evans bred in all Liverpool’s players. “These are world-renowned clubs. No disrespect to those who have won the European Cup once, but there is a list of teams who are at the top, those who you remember. Real Madrid, Barcelona, Bayern Munich, AC Milan and Liverpool. European Cup final 2018 | Real Madrid vs Liverpool “You always think of the games when they won and you know the players who did it. That sets these clubs apart. If you mention Istanbul to anyone in the world, they will immediately think about Steven Gerrard.” McManaman was also a scorer in the final, a spectacular volley in Real Madrid’s 3-0 win over Valencia in 2000. “It was a massive moment in my career. In terms of relevance you are defined by the Champions League,” he says. But despite the affection for his old side, McManaman says his former colleagues in Madrid understand he is not emotionally torn ahead of the final. “When Liverpool got to the final, my friends in Spain were texting saying, ‘Congratulations for getting there’,” he says. “I think they understand where my loyalties are.” Watch Real Madrid v Liverpool in the Champions League final on BT Sport 2 and BT Sport 4K UHD from 6pm on Saturday. For more info visit BT.com/sport.
The Champions League-winning boss will attempt to win a second Italian crown from the dugout, having previously tasted Serie A success with AC Milan
Ancelotti appointed Napoli boss following Sarri exit
The Champions League-winning boss will attempt to win a second Italian crown from the dugout, having previously tasted Serie A success with AC Milan
Ancelotti won scudetti as a player with Roma (1) and AC Milan (2), once more as a manager for the latter.
Ancelotti hired to end Napoli’s scudetto drought
Ancelotti won scudetti as a player with Roma (1) and AC Milan (2), once more as a manager for the latter.
Ancelotti won scudetti as a player with Roma (1) and AC Milan (2), once more as a manager for the latter.
Ancelotti hired to end Napoli’s scudetto drought
Ancelotti won scudetti as a player with Roma (1) and AC Milan (2), once more as a manager for the latter.
Yaya Toure believes he would be a good “teacher” to Paul Pogba as the outgoing Manchester City midfielder admitted he would not rule out a move to Old Trafford. Toure is a free agent this summer after Pep Guardiola opted not to renew his contract at the Premier League champions but the Ivorian midfielder has indicated that he would not be averse to making the switch across the city to rivals Manchester United. Jose Mourinho is in the market for at least one central midfielder following the retirement of Michael Carrick, with United working on a deal for Shakhtar Donetsk’s Fred. But Mourinho could be forced into the market for a second midfielder if Marouane Fellaini, who has attracted interest from AC Milan, fails to agree a new contract. With United already targeting two full backs, a centre-half and a winger, Toure would be a relatively cheap midfield option for Mourinho. And the 35-year-old says he would be open to the transfer, despite his allegiance to City where he spent eight years, as he weighs up his next career move. Maroane Fellaini could leave Untied this summer, too Credit: AFP “Yeah he just left,” Toure said about Carrick’s retirement at United. “Let’s see, let’s see. I don’t rule big teams out. The big teams are very important for me. What they want to achieve, the way they want to go, for me is very important. “I want to go somewhere I can win and achieve. It’s going to be hard one day to play against City, but I have to do that. It is part of my job. I’ve been playing football for such a long time, I’m no good in the office or something else. I am good in football. “To see myself at a different club is going to be difficult. I have been such a big part of City for such a long time now. I just want to say that definitely I will continue to play at a high level – Champions League or Europa League. I want to play two more years. They have to be in the higher level and then I can do something else.” Toure, who is keen to stay in England despite offers from China, the Middle East and America, believes he could also help improve Pogba, whose future at Old Trafford is uncertain after a deeply disappointing second season at Old Trafford. Pogba’s erratic form since the turn of the year has coincided with the Frenchman’s increasingly strained relationship with Mourinho but Toure believes he could be a mentor to the United midfielder. Pogba has failed to fully convince at United Credit: Reuters “I love Paul Pogba,” Toure told the Manchester Evening News. “It’s difficult because of the way the media has treated him. We don’t have the same characteristics because for me I was involved in all the balls, I ran everywhere. I liked that. I was prepared for that. I was working for that for a long time. “When I was in the academy in Africa I had to run everywhere, get box to box in 50 seconds. “Pogba is the same size, power – but different in the way he wants to go, technically as well, the ability to score goals as well. It is a player I want to play with, to be honest, just to teach him some things. “Pogba is a great player. He’s a fantastic player. He’s a little bit young at the moment. “Criticism is a part of life. If they criticise you it’s because they want you to be good or be better. I’ve been criticised and I love to be criticised. I like it. I don’t mind if people talk about me – it’s good. It means I have to achieve, I have to be better. Even if you continue to be at the peak of your game, sometimes they are going to find something to tell you. It’s part of life. We have to deal with that.” Asked if he genuinely saw his next move at United, Toure sounded a note of caution. “No, no, no, no. The fans are going to kill me!” he laughed.
Yaya Toure open to moving to Man Utd where he could 'teach Paul Pogba some things'
Yaya Toure believes he would be a good “teacher” to Paul Pogba as the outgoing Manchester City midfielder admitted he would not rule out a move to Old Trafford. Toure is a free agent this summer after Pep Guardiola opted not to renew his contract at the Premier League champions but the Ivorian midfielder has indicated that he would not be averse to making the switch across the city to rivals Manchester United. Jose Mourinho is in the market for at least one central midfielder following the retirement of Michael Carrick, with United working on a deal for Shakhtar Donetsk’s Fred. But Mourinho could be forced into the market for a second midfielder if Marouane Fellaini, who has attracted interest from AC Milan, fails to agree a new contract. With United already targeting two full backs, a centre-half and a winger, Toure would be a relatively cheap midfield option for Mourinho. And the 35-year-old says he would be open to the transfer, despite his allegiance to City where he spent eight years, as he weighs up his next career move. Maroane Fellaini could leave Untied this summer, too Credit: AFP “Yeah he just left,” Toure said about Carrick’s retirement at United. “Let’s see, let’s see. I don’t rule big teams out. The big teams are very important for me. What they want to achieve, the way they want to go, for me is very important. “I want to go somewhere I can win and achieve. It’s going to be hard one day to play against City, but I have to do that. It is part of my job. I’ve been playing football for such a long time, I’m no good in the office or something else. I am good in football. “To see myself at a different club is going to be difficult. I have been such a big part of City for such a long time now. I just want to say that definitely I will continue to play at a high level – Champions League or Europa League. I want to play two more years. They have to be in the higher level and then I can do something else.” Toure, who is keen to stay in England despite offers from China, the Middle East and America, believes he could also help improve Pogba, whose future at Old Trafford is uncertain after a deeply disappointing second season at Old Trafford. Pogba’s erratic form since the turn of the year has coincided with the Frenchman’s increasingly strained relationship with Mourinho but Toure believes he could be a mentor to the United midfielder. Pogba has failed to fully convince at United Credit: Reuters “I love Paul Pogba,” Toure told the Manchester Evening News. “It’s difficult because of the way the media has treated him. We don’t have the same characteristics because for me I was involved in all the balls, I ran everywhere. I liked that. I was prepared for that. I was working for that for a long time. “When I was in the academy in Africa I had to run everywhere, get box to box in 50 seconds. “Pogba is the same size, power – but different in the way he wants to go, technically as well, the ability to score goals as well. It is a player I want to play with, to be honest, just to teach him some things. “Pogba is a great player. He’s a fantastic player. He’s a little bit young at the moment. “Criticism is a part of life. If they criticise you it’s because they want you to be good or be better. I’ve been criticised and I love to be criticised. I like it. I don’t mind if people talk about me – it’s good. It means I have to achieve, I have to be better. Even if you continue to be at the peak of your game, sometimes they are going to find something to tell you. It’s part of life. We have to deal with that.” Asked if he genuinely saw his next move at United, Toure sounded a note of caution. “No, no, no, no. The fans are going to kill me!” he laughed.
Yaya Toure believes he would be a good “teacher” to Paul Pogba as the outgoing Manchester City midfielder admitted he would not rule out a move to Old Trafford. Toure is a free agent this summer after Pep Guardiola opted not to renew his contract at the Premier League champions but the Ivorian midfielder has indicated that he would not be averse to making the switch across the city to rivals Manchester United. Jose Mourinho is in the market for at least one central midfielder following the retirement of Michael Carrick, with United working on a deal for Shakhtar Donetsk’s Fred. But Mourinho could be forced into the market for a second midfielder if Marouane Fellaini, who has attracted interest from AC Milan, fails to agree a new contract. With United already targeting two full backs, a centre-half and a winger, Toure would be a relatively cheap midfield option for Mourinho. And the 35-year-old says he would be open to the transfer, despite his allegiance to City where he spent eight years, as he weighs up his next career move. Maroane Fellaini could leave Untied this summer, too Credit: AFP “Yeah he just left,” Toure said about Carrick’s retirement at United. “Let’s see, let’s see. I don’t rule big teams out. The big teams are very important for me. What they want to achieve, the way they want to go, for me is very important. “I want to go somewhere I can win and achieve. It’s going to be hard one day to play against City, but I have to do that. It is part of my job. I’ve been playing football for such a long time, I’m no good in the office or something else. I am good in football. “To see myself at a different club is going to be difficult. I have been such a big part of City for such a long time now. I just want to say that definitely I will continue to play at a high level – Champions League or Europa League. I want to play two more years. They have to be in the higher level and then I can do something else.” Toure, who is keen to stay in England despite offers from China, the Middle East and America, believes he could also help improve Pogba, whose future at Old Trafford is uncertain after a deeply disappointing second season at Old Trafford. Pogba’s erratic form since the turn of the year has coincided with the Frenchman’s increasingly strained relationship with Mourinho but Toure believes he could be a mentor to the United midfielder. Pogba has failed to fully convince at United Credit: Reuters “I love Paul Pogba,” Toure told the Manchester Evening News. “It’s difficult because of the way the media has treated him. We don’t have the same characteristics because for me I was involved in all the balls, I ran everywhere. I liked that. I was prepared for that. I was working for that for a long time. “When I was in the academy in Africa I had to run everywhere, get box to box in 50 seconds. “Pogba is the same size, power – but different in the way he wants to go, technically as well, the ability to score goals as well. It is a player I want to play with, to be honest, just to teach him some things. “Pogba is a great player. He’s a fantastic player. He’s a little bit young at the moment. “Criticism is a part of life. If they criticise you it’s because they want you to be good or be better. I’ve been criticised and I love to be criticised. I like it. I don’t mind if people talk about me – it’s good. It means I have to achieve, I have to be better. Even if you continue to be at the peak of your game, sometimes they are going to find something to tell you. It’s part of life. We have to deal with that.” Asked if he genuinely saw his next move at United, Toure sounded a note of caution. “No, no, no, no. The fans are going to kill me!” he laughed.
Yaya Toure open to moving to Man Utd where he could 'teach Paul Pogba some things'
Yaya Toure believes he would be a good “teacher” to Paul Pogba as the outgoing Manchester City midfielder admitted he would not rule out a move to Old Trafford. Toure is a free agent this summer after Pep Guardiola opted not to renew his contract at the Premier League champions but the Ivorian midfielder has indicated that he would not be averse to making the switch across the city to rivals Manchester United. Jose Mourinho is in the market for at least one central midfielder following the retirement of Michael Carrick, with United working on a deal for Shakhtar Donetsk’s Fred. But Mourinho could be forced into the market for a second midfielder if Marouane Fellaini, who has attracted interest from AC Milan, fails to agree a new contract. With United already targeting two full backs, a centre-half and a winger, Toure would be a relatively cheap midfield option for Mourinho. And the 35-year-old says he would be open to the transfer, despite his allegiance to City where he spent eight years, as he weighs up his next career move. Maroane Fellaini could leave Untied this summer, too Credit: AFP “Yeah he just left,” Toure said about Carrick’s retirement at United. “Let’s see, let’s see. I don’t rule big teams out. The big teams are very important for me. What they want to achieve, the way they want to go, for me is very important. “I want to go somewhere I can win and achieve. It’s going to be hard one day to play against City, but I have to do that. It is part of my job. I’ve been playing football for such a long time, I’m no good in the office or something else. I am good in football. “To see myself at a different club is going to be difficult. I have been such a big part of City for such a long time now. I just want to say that definitely I will continue to play at a high level – Champions League or Europa League. I want to play two more years. They have to be in the higher level and then I can do something else.” Toure, who is keen to stay in England despite offers from China, the Middle East and America, believes he could also help improve Pogba, whose future at Old Trafford is uncertain after a deeply disappointing second season at Old Trafford. Pogba’s erratic form since the turn of the year has coincided with the Frenchman’s increasingly strained relationship with Mourinho but Toure believes he could be a mentor to the United midfielder. Pogba has failed to fully convince at United Credit: Reuters “I love Paul Pogba,” Toure told the Manchester Evening News. “It’s difficult because of the way the media has treated him. We don’t have the same characteristics because for me I was involved in all the balls, I ran everywhere. I liked that. I was prepared for that. I was working for that for a long time. “When I was in the academy in Africa I had to run everywhere, get box to box in 50 seconds. “Pogba is the same size, power – but different in the way he wants to go, technically as well, the ability to score goals as well. It is a player I want to play with, to be honest, just to teach him some things. “Pogba is a great player. He’s a fantastic player. He’s a little bit young at the moment. “Criticism is a part of life. If they criticise you it’s because they want you to be good or be better. I’ve been criticised and I love to be criticised. I like it. I don’t mind if people talk about me – it’s good. It means I have to achieve, I have to be better. Even if you continue to be at the peak of your game, sometimes they are going to find something to tell you. It’s part of life. We have to deal with that.” Asked if he genuinely saw his next move at United, Toure sounded a note of caution. “No, no, no, no. The fans are going to kill me!” he laughed.
Yaya Toure believes he would be a good “teacher” to Paul Pogba as the outgoing Manchester City midfielder admitted he would not rule out a move to Old Trafford. Toure is a free agent this summer after Pep Guardiola opted not to renew his contract at the Premier League champions but the Ivorian midfielder has indicated that he would not be averse to making the switch across the city to rivals Manchester United. Jose Mourinho is in the market for at least one central midfielder following the retirement of Michael Carrick, with United working on a deal for Shakhtar Donetsk’s Fred. But Mourinho could be forced into the market for a second midfielder if Marouane Fellaini, who has attracted interest from AC Milan, fails to agree a new contract. With United already targeting two full backs, a centre-half and a winger, Toure would be a relatively cheap midfield option for Mourinho. And the 35-year-old says he would be open to the transfer, despite his allegiance to City where he spent eight years, as he weighs up his next career move. Maroane Fellaini could leave Untied this summer, too Credit: AFP “Yeah he just left,” Toure said about Carrick’s retirement at United. “Let’s see, let’s see. I don’t rule big teams out. The big teams are very important for me. What they want to achieve, the way they want to go, for me is very important. “I want to go somewhere I can win and achieve. It’s going to be hard one day to play against City, but I have to do that. It is part of my job. I’ve been playing football for such a long time, I’m no good in the office or something else. I am good in football. “To see myself at a different club is going to be difficult. I have been such a big part of City for such a long time now. I just want to say that definitely I will continue to play at a high level – Champions League or Europa League. I want to play two more years. They have to be in the higher level and then I can do something else.” Toure, who is keen to stay in England despite offers from China, the Middle East and America, believes he could also help improve Pogba, whose future at Old Trafford is uncertain after a deeply disappointing second season at Old Trafford. Pogba’s erratic form since the turn of the year has coincided with the Frenchman’s increasingly strained relationship with Mourinho but Toure believes he could be a mentor to the United midfielder. Pogba has failed to fully convince at United Credit: Reuters “I love Paul Pogba,” Toure told the Manchester Evening News. “It’s difficult because of the way the media has treated him. We don’t have the same characteristics because for me I was involved in all the balls, I ran everywhere. I liked that. I was prepared for that. I was working for that for a long time. “When I was in the academy in Africa I had to run everywhere, get box to box in 50 seconds. “Pogba is the same size, power – but different in the way he wants to go, technically as well, the ability to score goals as well. It is a player I want to play with, to be honest, just to teach him some things. “Pogba is a great player. He’s a fantastic player. He’s a little bit young at the moment. “Criticism is a part of life. If they criticise you it’s because they want you to be good or be better. I’ve been criticised and I love to be criticised. I like it. I don’t mind if people talk about me – it’s good. It means I have to achieve, I have to be better. Even if you continue to be at the peak of your game, sometimes they are going to find something to tell you. It’s part of life. We have to deal with that.” Asked if he genuinely saw his next move at United, Toure sounded a note of caution. “No, no, no, no. The fans are going to kill me!” he laughed.
Yaya Toure open to moving to Man Utd where he could 'teach Paul Pogba some things'
Yaya Toure believes he would be a good “teacher” to Paul Pogba as the outgoing Manchester City midfielder admitted he would not rule out a move to Old Trafford. Toure is a free agent this summer after Pep Guardiola opted not to renew his contract at the Premier League champions but the Ivorian midfielder has indicated that he would not be averse to making the switch across the city to rivals Manchester United. Jose Mourinho is in the market for at least one central midfielder following the retirement of Michael Carrick, with United working on a deal for Shakhtar Donetsk’s Fred. But Mourinho could be forced into the market for a second midfielder if Marouane Fellaini, who has attracted interest from AC Milan, fails to agree a new contract. With United already targeting two full backs, a centre-half and a winger, Toure would be a relatively cheap midfield option for Mourinho. And the 35-year-old says he would be open to the transfer, despite his allegiance to City where he spent eight years, as he weighs up his next career move. Maroane Fellaini could leave Untied this summer, too Credit: AFP “Yeah he just left,” Toure said about Carrick’s retirement at United. “Let’s see, let’s see. I don’t rule big teams out. The big teams are very important for me. What they want to achieve, the way they want to go, for me is very important. “I want to go somewhere I can win and achieve. It’s going to be hard one day to play against City, but I have to do that. It is part of my job. I’ve been playing football for such a long time, I’m no good in the office or something else. I am good in football. “To see myself at a different club is going to be difficult. I have been such a big part of City for such a long time now. I just want to say that definitely I will continue to play at a high level – Champions League or Europa League. I want to play two more years. They have to be in the higher level and then I can do something else.” Toure, who is keen to stay in England despite offers from China, the Middle East and America, believes he could also help improve Pogba, whose future at Old Trafford is uncertain after a deeply disappointing second season at Old Trafford. Pogba’s erratic form since the turn of the year has coincided with the Frenchman’s increasingly strained relationship with Mourinho but Toure believes he could be a mentor to the United midfielder. Pogba has failed to fully convince at United Credit: Reuters “I love Paul Pogba,” Toure told the Manchester Evening News. “It’s difficult because of the way the media has treated him. We don’t have the same characteristics because for me I was involved in all the balls, I ran everywhere. I liked that. I was prepared for that. I was working for that for a long time. “When I was in the academy in Africa I had to run everywhere, get box to box in 50 seconds. “Pogba is the same size, power – but different in the way he wants to go, technically as well, the ability to score goals as well. It is a player I want to play with, to be honest, just to teach him some things. “Pogba is a great player. He’s a fantastic player. He’s a little bit young at the moment. “Criticism is a part of life. If they criticise you it’s because they want you to be good or be better. I’ve been criticised and I love to be criticised. I like it. I don’t mind if people talk about me – it’s good. It means I have to achieve, I have to be better. Even if you continue to be at the peak of your game, sometimes they are going to find something to tell you. It’s part of life. We have to deal with that.” Asked if he genuinely saw his next move at United, Toure sounded a note of caution. “No, no, no, no. The fans are going to kill me!” he laughed.
The Champions League-winning boss will attempt to win a second Italian crown from the dugout, having previously tasted Serie A success with AC Milan
Ancelotti appointed Napoli boss following Sarri exit
The Champions League-winning boss will attempt to win a second Italian crown from the dugout, having previously tasted Serie A success with AC Milan
Soccer Football - 2018 World Cup Qualifications - Europe - Italy vs Sweden - San Siro, Milan, Italy - November 13, 2017 Sweden’s Emil Forsberg celebrates after the match REUTERS/Alessandro Garofalo
2018 World Cup Qualifications - Europe - Italy vs Sweden
Soccer Football - 2018 World Cup Qualifications - Europe - Italy vs Sweden - San Siro, Milan, Italy - November 13, 2017 Sweden’s Emil Forsberg celebrates after the match REUTERS/Alessandro Garofalo
Soccer Football - 2018 World Cup Qualifications - Europe - Italy vs Sweden - San Siro, Milan, Italy - November 13, 2017 Sweden’s Emil Forsberg celebrates after the match REUTERS/Alessandro Garofalo
2018 World Cup Qualifications - Europe - Italy vs Sweden
Soccer Football - 2018 World Cup Qualifications - Europe - Italy vs Sweden - San Siro, Milan, Italy - November 13, 2017 Sweden’s Emil Forsberg celebrates after the match REUTERS/Alessandro Garofalo
The ex-AC Milan manager is set to agree a two-year deal to take over at the Serie A runners-up following meetings in Rome on Tuesday
Ancelotti holds Napoli talks as Chelsea target Sarri nears exit
The ex-AC Milan manager is set to agree a two-year deal to take over at the Serie A runners-up following meetings in Rome on Tuesday
Soccer Football - 2018 World Cup Qualifications - Europe - Italy vs Sweden - San Siro, Milan, Italy - November 13, 2017 Sweden team huddle before the match REUTERS/Alessandro Garofalo/Files
2018 World Cup Qualifications - Europe - Italy vs Sweden
Soccer Football - 2018 World Cup Qualifications - Europe - Italy vs Sweden - San Siro, Milan, Italy - November 13, 2017 Sweden team huddle before the match REUTERS/Alessandro Garofalo/Files
What is it? For the first time since 1981, Real Madrid and Liverpool will compete in the final of the European Cup in a mouth-watering match to decide who will be awarded the coveted Champions League trophy. The defending champions and 12-time winners Real are bidding for their third successive title while Liverpool are seeking the sixth in their history. When is it? Saturday, May 26, 2018. Where is it? The 2018 Champions League final will be held at the NSC Olimpiyskiy Stadium in Kiev, Ukraine. It is the home of Dynamo Kiev. The stadium previously hosted the Euro 2012 final and holds a maximum capacity of 63,000 - the second largest in eastern Europe. What time is kick-off? 7.45pm BST. What TV channel is it on? BT Sport 1. But you can also watch the match for free on the BT Sport app or via BTSport.com. Liverpool in Europe: Finals ranked and rated What happened in the semi-finals? In the first semi, Bayern Munich goalkeeper Sven Ulreich committed a huge blunder as holders Real edged into the final. Ulreich missed a backpass to gift a vital second goal to Karim Benzema at the Bernabeu Stadium, and the Frenchman's double in a pulsating 2-2 draw ensured Real progressed 4-3 on aggregate. Bayern had led early through Joshua Kimmich and a strike from James Rodriguez - who is on loan at the German club from Real - set up a tense finish. However, the hosts withstood considerable pressure to keep their bid for a third successive title on track. Just confirming this actually happened and is not a FIFA '18 bugpic.twitter.com/nNsfSDZvm4— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) May 1, 2018 The following night, Liverpool set up a repeat of their 1981 meeting against Real despite a first Champions League defeat of the season at the Stadio Olimpico. A chaotic 4-2 semi-final second leg loss to Roma saw Liverpool progress 7-6 on aggregate, with victory secured thanks to Sadio Mane's 19th of the season and the rare sight of Georginio Wijnaldum's first away goal in almost three years. A fortuitous own goal by James Milner inbetween had put the hosts back in the game, while Edin Dzeko's strike shortly after half-time ensured the Reds endured a testing conclusion and two late goals for Radja Nainngolan - including a penalty with the last kick of the game - came too late for Roma. Roma v Liverpool Can I still get tickets? The window for buying standard tickets is now closed. It ran on Uefa's website from March 15-22. Hospitality tickets are still on sale on Uefa's website, with prices starting from €3,200 per person. How do I get to Kiev? The City has two airports, Zhulyany (8km south-west of the city centre) and Boryspil International (35km east). Public transport includes buses, trolleybuses, trams and an ever-expanding metro system. Blaggers guide to speaking Ukrainian (source Uefa.com) Hello: Привіт – pree-vee'-t How are you?: Як справи? – yak spra'-vee Please: Будь ласка – bood la'-skah Thank you: Дякую – dja-ku'-yu Goodbye: До побачення – doh po-bah'-chen-ya Where is the stadium?: Де знаходиться стадіон? – de zna-kho'-dee-tsja sta-dee-on' Goal: Гол – Ghol Most European Cups What are they saying? Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp has said his team will be "on fire" for the final: "We were in a League Cup final and didn't win it. People don't tell me in the street since then: 'Thank you for bringing us to the final'. We were in the Europa League final too. Nobody tells me thank you. "I see no trophies after these games. They don't hang silver medals at Melwood. That's a pity, but that's the game. There's still a job to do. "You cannot be more experienced in this competition than Real Madrid. "I think 80 per cent of their team played all these finals. They are four times in the last five years and still together. They are experienced, we are not, but we will be really on fire." Liverpool vs Real Madrid: Head-to-head Road to the final Zinedine Zidane's side won their first two games but a home draw with Tottenham followed by a loss at Wembley meant they finished second in their group. Despite failing behind to Paris St Germain at the Bernabeu, they won 5-2 on aggregate in the last 16 then overcame an almighty scare against Juventus, advancing thanks to Cristiano Ronaldo's last-gasp penalty despite a 3-1 home loss. A semi-final first leg victory in Munich proved pivotal as a 2-2 draw with Bayern in Spain got them over the line. Liverpool had to come through a qualifying round against Hoffenheim and then drew the opening two games in their group. They also threw away a three-goal lead against Sevilla in a 3-3 draw but thumped both Maribor and Spartak Moscow to finish top of Group E. They beat Porto 5-0 in the first leg of their last-16 tie, won both legs in the all-English clash with Manchester City and then saw off Roma 7-6 on aggregate following a 5-2 first-leg win at Anfield. Who fizzed and who flopped in the Champions League semi-final decider? Star men Real have the current Ballon d'or winner. Liverpool may have the next one. Cristiano Ronaldo is the Champions League's all-time leading scorer - with 120 goals, Real Madrid's all-time top scorer and a four-time winner of the competition. Ronaldo, who turned 33 this year, has scored 42 club goals this season. Yet Mohamed Salah has already exceeded that tally. The former Roma winger has enjoyed an incredible first season at Anfield, becoming just the third player in Liverpool history to score 40-plus goals in a single season and winning a slew of personal accolades. If he can outshine Ronaldo in Kiev, the ultimate individual prize may be next. Managers Zidane and Jurgen Klopp have experienced contrasting fortunes in finals. The former has won both of the Champions League finals he has been involved in as a boss. Meanwhile, Klopp has lost his previous five finals as a manage, including in the Europa League against Sevilla two seasons ago. Jurgen Klopp celebrates with his players Credit: GETTY IMAGES Tactics Real have not been as dominant as previous seasons, when their BBC (Gareth Bale, Karim Benzema and Ronaldo) strikeforce was in full flow and Luka Modric and Toni Kroos ran the midfield. This team is more pragmatic. Centre-backs Sergio Ramos and Raphael Varane and defensive midfielder Casemiro form a strong spine and Zidane can usually rely on Ronaldo for a moment of magic. Klopp's gegenpressing style has been used to devastating effect this year thanks to the relentless front three of Salah, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane. Liverpool will pin their hopes on that trio and their harassing style. History This is a meeting of the two of the most decorated clubs in the competition's history. No team has won more European Cups than Real Madrid's 12. Los Blancos won five in a row between 1956 and 1960 and last year they become the first club to retain the title in the Champions League era. Only Real and AC Milan have won more European Cups than Liverpool. The five-time winners' most recent success came in an astonishing 2005 final against AC Milan, who exacted revenge in the 2007 final. The Reds also beat Real in the 1981 final when Alan Kennedy scored the winner. Goals aplenty made Roma vs Liverpool a semi-final to sing and dance about Salah vs Ronaldo: A comparison Liverpool and Real Madrid will be looking to Mohamed Salah and Cristiano Ronaldo to make the difference for their respective teams on May 26. Here, we look at the numbers behind the two players' astonishing campaigns: Club appearances (all competitions): Salah (Liverpool) 49, Ronaldo (Real Madrid) 41 Club goals (all competitions): Salah 43, Ronaldo 42 Domestic league goals: Salah 31, Ronaldo 24 Domestic league assists: Salah 9, Ronaldo 5 Champions League goals (includes qualifiers): Salah 11, Ronaldo 15 Champions League assists (includes qualifiers): Salah 4, Ronaldo 2 Braces: Salah 7, Ronaldo 11 Hat-tricks: Salah 0, Ronaldo 1 Four goals in a game: Salah 1, Ronaldo 1 Longest scoring streak: Salah 7 games, Ronaldo 12 games Longest run without a goal: Salah 3 games, Ronaldo 3 games *Includes all competitive games except internationals. How Spanish sides have dominated past decade What are the odds? Real Madrid to win 6/5 Draw 11/4 Liverpool to win 2/1 What is our prediction? Real have not been as dominant as previous seasons, although they still managed to see off PSG, Juventus and Bayern Munich en route to the final. If Liverpool are to win, much will depend on their front three of Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane and their harassing style. There will be goals aplenty, and this feels like Liverpool's time. Predicted score: Liverpool win 4-3 in extra time. Liverpool's Champions League campaign | In Numbers
Champions League final 2018: When is Liverpool vs Real Madrid, what TV channel is it on and what is the venue?
What is it? For the first time since 1981, Real Madrid and Liverpool will compete in the final of the European Cup in a mouth-watering match to decide who will be awarded the coveted Champions League trophy. The defending champions and 12-time winners Real are bidding for their third successive title while Liverpool are seeking the sixth in their history. When is it? Saturday, May 26, 2018. Where is it? The 2018 Champions League final will be held at the NSC Olimpiyskiy Stadium in Kiev, Ukraine. It is the home of Dynamo Kiev. The stadium previously hosted the Euro 2012 final and holds a maximum capacity of 63,000 - the second largest in eastern Europe. What time is kick-off? 7.45pm BST. What TV channel is it on? BT Sport 1. But you can also watch the match for free on the BT Sport app or via BTSport.com. Liverpool in Europe: Finals ranked and rated What happened in the semi-finals? In the first semi, Bayern Munich goalkeeper Sven Ulreich committed a huge blunder as holders Real edged into the final. Ulreich missed a backpass to gift a vital second goal to Karim Benzema at the Bernabeu Stadium, and the Frenchman's double in a pulsating 2-2 draw ensured Real progressed 4-3 on aggregate. Bayern had led early through Joshua Kimmich and a strike from James Rodriguez - who is on loan at the German club from Real - set up a tense finish. However, the hosts withstood considerable pressure to keep their bid for a third successive title on track. Just confirming this actually happened and is not a FIFA '18 bugpic.twitter.com/nNsfSDZvm4— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) May 1, 2018 The following night, Liverpool set up a repeat of their 1981 meeting against Real despite a first Champions League defeat of the season at the Stadio Olimpico. A chaotic 4-2 semi-final second leg loss to Roma saw Liverpool progress 7-6 on aggregate, with victory secured thanks to Sadio Mane's 19th of the season and the rare sight of Georginio Wijnaldum's first away goal in almost three years. A fortuitous own goal by James Milner inbetween had put the hosts back in the game, while Edin Dzeko's strike shortly after half-time ensured the Reds endured a testing conclusion and two late goals for Radja Nainngolan - including a penalty with the last kick of the game - came too late for Roma. Roma v Liverpool Can I still get tickets? The window for buying standard tickets is now closed. It ran on Uefa's website from March 15-22. Hospitality tickets are still on sale on Uefa's website, with prices starting from €3,200 per person. How do I get to Kiev? The City has two airports, Zhulyany (8km south-west of the city centre) and Boryspil International (35km east). Public transport includes buses, trolleybuses, trams and an ever-expanding metro system. Blaggers guide to speaking Ukrainian (source Uefa.com) Hello: Привіт – pree-vee'-t How are you?: Як справи? – yak spra'-vee Please: Будь ласка – bood la'-skah Thank you: Дякую – dja-ku'-yu Goodbye: До побачення – doh po-bah'-chen-ya Where is the stadium?: Де знаходиться стадіон? – de zna-kho'-dee-tsja sta-dee-on' Goal: Гол – Ghol Most European Cups What are they saying? Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp has said his team will be "on fire" for the final: "We were in a League Cup final and didn't win it. People don't tell me in the street since then: 'Thank you for bringing us to the final'. We were in the Europa League final too. Nobody tells me thank you. "I see no trophies after these games. They don't hang silver medals at Melwood. That's a pity, but that's the game. There's still a job to do. "You cannot be more experienced in this competition than Real Madrid. "I think 80 per cent of their team played all these finals. They are four times in the last five years and still together. They are experienced, we are not, but we will be really on fire." Liverpool vs Real Madrid: Head-to-head Road to the final Zinedine Zidane's side won their first two games but a home draw with Tottenham followed by a loss at Wembley meant they finished second in their group. Despite failing behind to Paris St Germain at the Bernabeu, they won 5-2 on aggregate in the last 16 then overcame an almighty scare against Juventus, advancing thanks to Cristiano Ronaldo's last-gasp penalty despite a 3-1 home loss. A semi-final first leg victory in Munich proved pivotal as a 2-2 draw with Bayern in Spain got them over the line. Liverpool had to come through a qualifying round against Hoffenheim and then drew the opening two games in their group. They also threw away a three-goal lead against Sevilla in a 3-3 draw but thumped both Maribor and Spartak Moscow to finish top of Group E. They beat Porto 5-0 in the first leg of their last-16 tie, won both legs in the all-English clash with Manchester City and then saw off Roma 7-6 on aggregate following a 5-2 first-leg win at Anfield. Who fizzed and who flopped in the Champions League semi-final decider? Star men Real have the current Ballon d'or winner. Liverpool may have the next one. Cristiano Ronaldo is the Champions League's all-time leading scorer - with 120 goals, Real Madrid's all-time top scorer and a four-time winner of the competition. Ronaldo, who turned 33 this year, has scored 42 club goals this season. Yet Mohamed Salah has already exceeded that tally. The former Roma winger has enjoyed an incredible first season at Anfield, becoming just the third player in Liverpool history to score 40-plus goals in a single season and winning a slew of personal accolades. If he can outshine Ronaldo in Kiev, the ultimate individual prize may be next. Managers Zidane and Jurgen Klopp have experienced contrasting fortunes in finals. The former has won both of the Champions League finals he has been involved in as a boss. Meanwhile, Klopp has lost his previous five finals as a manage, including in the Europa League against Sevilla two seasons ago. Jurgen Klopp celebrates with his players Credit: GETTY IMAGES Tactics Real have not been as dominant as previous seasons, when their BBC (Gareth Bale, Karim Benzema and Ronaldo) strikeforce was in full flow and Luka Modric and Toni Kroos ran the midfield. This team is more pragmatic. Centre-backs Sergio Ramos and Raphael Varane and defensive midfielder Casemiro form a strong spine and Zidane can usually rely on Ronaldo for a moment of magic. Klopp's gegenpressing style has been used to devastating effect this year thanks to the relentless front three of Salah, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane. Liverpool will pin their hopes on that trio and their harassing style. History This is a meeting of the two of the most decorated clubs in the competition's history. No team has won more European Cups than Real Madrid's 12. Los Blancos won five in a row between 1956 and 1960 and last year they become the first club to retain the title in the Champions League era. Only Real and AC Milan have won more European Cups than Liverpool. The five-time winners' most recent success came in an astonishing 2005 final against AC Milan, who exacted revenge in the 2007 final. The Reds also beat Real in the 1981 final when Alan Kennedy scored the winner. Goals aplenty made Roma vs Liverpool a semi-final to sing and dance about Salah vs Ronaldo: A comparison Liverpool and Real Madrid will be looking to Mohamed Salah and Cristiano Ronaldo to make the difference for their respective teams on May 26. Here, we look at the numbers behind the two players' astonishing campaigns: Club appearances (all competitions): Salah (Liverpool) 49, Ronaldo (Real Madrid) 41 Club goals (all competitions): Salah 43, Ronaldo 42 Domestic league goals: Salah 31, Ronaldo 24 Domestic league assists: Salah 9, Ronaldo 5 Champions League goals (includes qualifiers): Salah 11, Ronaldo 15 Champions League assists (includes qualifiers): Salah 4, Ronaldo 2 Braces: Salah 7, Ronaldo 11 Hat-tricks: Salah 0, Ronaldo 1 Four goals in a game: Salah 1, Ronaldo 1 Longest scoring streak: Salah 7 games, Ronaldo 12 games Longest run without a goal: Salah 3 games, Ronaldo 3 games *Includes all competitive games except internationals. How Spanish sides have dominated past decade What are the odds? Real Madrid to win 6/5 Draw 11/4 Liverpool to win 2/1 What is our prediction? Real have not been as dominant as previous seasons, although they still managed to see off PSG, Juventus and Bayern Munich en route to the final. If Liverpool are to win, much will depend on their front three of Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane and their harassing style. There will be goals aplenty, and this feels like Liverpool's time. Predicted score: Liverpool win 4-3 in extra time. Liverpool's Champions League campaign | In Numbers
On paper, there is nothing this season to separate Cristiano Ronaldo and Mohamed Salah, each boasting 44 goals in all competitions and each building a persuasive case to capture the Ballon d’Or. But when invited yesterday to choose, Zinedine Zidane was adamant. “I would not swap Cristiano, or any of my players,” said the Real Madrid manager, galvanising his team in their quest for a third Champions League title in a row. “Liverpool have a brilliant front three, everyone talks about their attackers, but we can find ways to damage them. We fear nothing.” It was this type of attitude that pervaded Valdebebas, Real’s gleaming, manicured training compound, carved out of the arid scrub beside Barajas Airport. One would have hesitated to call it hubris, more a serene conviction that an extension of supremacy was theirs for the taking. Where other institutions might be superstitious about the number 13, Real plastered it everywhere here, regarding a 13th European Cup triumph less as an ambition than a fate preordained. Take Toni Kroos, for example. The German midfield conjurer, not a man given to hyperbole, predicted that he and his team-mates would confront “11 animals” in Kiev on Saturday night. And yet he did not appear remotely unnerved by the prospect, explaining that Real would counter Liverpool’s ferocity with composure and precision. “We will be better on the ball,” said Kroos, the anchoring figure who has variously been described as the “axle” and “one-man orchestra” for this Real side, with Barcelona’s Xavi anointing him as his natural successor in the game. “I am calm, not very nervous – that’s my character. I have a lot of confidence from my previous finals, which allows me not to have the same nerves as some other players. I don’t see Liverpool being hungrier than us. European Cup final 2018 | Real Madrid vs Liverpool “To end up in three Champions League finals, you must be at the top in terms of motivation. If not, you don’t beat Paris St-Germain, Juventus and Bayern Munich in succession.” Throughout an hour of open training yesterday, Real showcased their slickness to full effect. It is at moments like this that the value of Zidane, for all the doubts over his future stirred by a distant third-place finish in La Liga, becomes clear. Time and again, during volleying practice, he delivered the ball on a dime for Ronaldo and Luka Modric to crack it into the top corner. It was as if the pair were trying to replicate their manager’s own greatest goal, a delicious volley to win the Champions League for Real in 2002. Ronaldo, Zidane knows, represents the key to Real adding to their unparalleled loot. In each of their past two European finals, he was front and centre, providing the decisive penalty in Milan in 2016 and scoring two of the deftest goals in last June’s glory over Juventus in Cardiff. While his form dipped periodically over the past domestic campaign, Zidane expressed little doubt that the competition’s top scorer would be rejuvenated when it mattered most. “I believe that a player knows he may have a complex moment, but for Cristiano it’s the other way round,” he said. “When he doesn’t score, he still knows that he will score three or four times in a row. “Some players cannot handle pressure. But with him, the more pressure you create, the more you criticise, the better he plays. He is the best, so he will be of the utmost importance.” Ronaldo size Ronaldo, for his part, left no room for confusion in anticipating what Saturday’s outcome would be. “I have a lot of respect for Liverpool, but I think Madrid are better,” the Portuguese said. “We need to recognise the history we can make and to show our experience.” There was no evidence of the ankle injury that Ronaldo sustained earlier this month in the 2-2 draw with bitter rivals Barcelona. Indeed, he played and scored against Villarreal last weekend, promising that he would be “120 per cent” fit for Kiev. The one imponderable in Zidane’s plans concerns the role of Gareth Bale. While the Welsh winger has hinted at a return to his best in recent weeks, with four goals in three games, the state of his relationship with the manager seldom seems rock-solid. In particular, Zidane’s decision to leave him on the substitutes’ bench for the 2-1 semi-final win over Bayern was a chastening blow. Bale stands poised to claim a remarkable fourth Champions League winner’s medal in five years if he can overcome Zidane’s reservations, but for now the smart money is on the Frenchman keeping faith with Isco for the final.
Zinedine Zidane: I wouldn't swap any Real Madrid player for Mo Salah
On paper, there is nothing this season to separate Cristiano Ronaldo and Mohamed Salah, each boasting 44 goals in all competitions and each building a persuasive case to capture the Ballon d’Or. But when invited yesterday to choose, Zinedine Zidane was adamant. “I would not swap Cristiano, or any of my players,” said the Real Madrid manager, galvanising his team in their quest for a third Champions League title in a row. “Liverpool have a brilliant front three, everyone talks about their attackers, but we can find ways to damage them. We fear nothing.” It was this type of attitude that pervaded Valdebebas, Real’s gleaming, manicured training compound, carved out of the arid scrub beside Barajas Airport. One would have hesitated to call it hubris, more a serene conviction that an extension of supremacy was theirs for the taking. Where other institutions might be superstitious about the number 13, Real plastered it everywhere here, regarding a 13th European Cup triumph less as an ambition than a fate preordained. Take Toni Kroos, for example. The German midfield conjurer, not a man given to hyperbole, predicted that he and his team-mates would confront “11 animals” in Kiev on Saturday night. And yet he did not appear remotely unnerved by the prospect, explaining that Real would counter Liverpool’s ferocity with composure and precision. “We will be better on the ball,” said Kroos, the anchoring figure who has variously been described as the “axle” and “one-man orchestra” for this Real side, with Barcelona’s Xavi anointing him as his natural successor in the game. “I am calm, not very nervous – that’s my character. I have a lot of confidence from my previous finals, which allows me not to have the same nerves as some other players. I don’t see Liverpool being hungrier than us. European Cup final 2018 | Real Madrid vs Liverpool “To end up in three Champions League finals, you must be at the top in terms of motivation. If not, you don’t beat Paris St-Germain, Juventus and Bayern Munich in succession.” Throughout an hour of open training yesterday, Real showcased their slickness to full effect. It is at moments like this that the value of Zidane, for all the doubts over his future stirred by a distant third-place finish in La Liga, becomes clear. Time and again, during volleying practice, he delivered the ball on a dime for Ronaldo and Luka Modric to crack it into the top corner. It was as if the pair were trying to replicate their manager’s own greatest goal, a delicious volley to win the Champions League for Real in 2002. Ronaldo, Zidane knows, represents the key to Real adding to their unparalleled loot. In each of their past two European finals, he was front and centre, providing the decisive penalty in Milan in 2016 and scoring two of the deftest goals in last June’s glory over Juventus in Cardiff. While his form dipped periodically over the past domestic campaign, Zidane expressed little doubt that the competition’s top scorer would be rejuvenated when it mattered most. “I believe that a player knows he may have a complex moment, but for Cristiano it’s the other way round,” he said. “When he doesn’t score, he still knows that he will score three or four times in a row. “Some players cannot handle pressure. But with him, the more pressure you create, the more you criticise, the better he plays. He is the best, so he will be of the utmost importance.” Ronaldo size Ronaldo, for his part, left no room for confusion in anticipating what Saturday’s outcome would be. “I have a lot of respect for Liverpool, but I think Madrid are better,” the Portuguese said. “We need to recognise the history we can make and to show our experience.” There was no evidence of the ankle injury that Ronaldo sustained earlier this month in the 2-2 draw with bitter rivals Barcelona. Indeed, he played and scored against Villarreal last weekend, promising that he would be “120 per cent” fit for Kiev. The one imponderable in Zidane’s plans concerns the role of Gareth Bale. While the Welsh winger has hinted at a return to his best in recent weeks, with four goals in three games, the state of his relationship with the manager seldom seems rock-solid. In particular, Zidane’s decision to leave him on the substitutes’ bench for the 2-1 semi-final win over Bayern was a chastening blow. Bale stands poised to claim a remarkable fourth Champions League winner’s medal in five years if he can overcome Zidane’s reservations, but for now the smart money is on the Frenchman keeping faith with Isco for the final.
What is it? For the first time since 1981, Real Madrid and Liverpool will compete in the final of the European Cup in a mouth-watering match to decide who will be awarded the coveted Champions League trophy. The defending champions and 12-time winners Real are bidding for their third successive title while Liverpool are seeking the sixth in their history. When is it? Saturday, May 26, 2018. Where is it? The 2018 Champions League final will be held at the NSC Olimpiyskiy Stadium in Kiev, Ukraine. It is the home of Dynamo Kiev. The stadium previously hosted the Euro 2012 final and holds a maximum capacity of 63,000 - the second largest in eastern Europe. What time is kick-off? 7.45pm BST. What TV channel is it on? BT Sport 1. But you can also watch the match for free on the BT Sport app or via BTSport.com. Liverpool in Europe: Finals ranked and rated What happened in the semi-finals? In the first semi, Bayern Munich goalkeeper Sven Ulreich committed a huge blunder as holders Real edged into the final. Ulreich missed a backpass to gift a vital second goal to Karim Benzema at the Bernabeu Stadium, and the Frenchman's double in a pulsating 2-2 draw ensured Real progressed 4-3 on aggregate. Bayern had led early through Joshua Kimmich and a strike from James Rodriguez - who is on loan at the German club from Real - set up a tense finish. However, the hosts withstood considerable pressure to keep their bid for a third successive title on track. Just confirming this actually happened and is not a FIFA '18 bugpic.twitter.com/nNsfSDZvm4— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) May 1, 2018 The following night, Liverpool set up a repeat of their 1981 meeting against Real despite a first Champions League defeat of the season at the Stadio Olimpico. A chaotic 4-2 semi-final second leg loss to Roma saw Liverpool progress 7-6 on aggregate, with victory secured thanks to Sadio Mane's 19th of the season and the rare sight of Georginio Wijnaldum's first away goal in almost three years. A fortuitous own goal by James Milner inbetween had put the hosts back in the game, while Edin Dzeko's strike shortly after half-time ensured the Reds endured a testing conclusion and two late goals for Radja Nainngolan - including a penalty with the last kick of the game - came too late for Roma. Roma v Liverpool Can I still get tickets? The window for buying standard tickets is now closed. It ran on Uefa's website from March 15-22. Hospitality tickets are still on sale on Uefa's website, with prices starting from €3,200 per person. How do I get to Kiev? The City has two airports, Zhulyany (8km south-west of the city centre) and Boryspil International (35km east). Public transport includes buses, trolleybuses, trams and an ever-expanding metro system. Blaggers guide to speaking Ukrainian (source Uefa.com) Hello: Привіт – pree-vee'-t How are you?: Як справи? – yak spra'-vee Please: Будь ласка – bood la'-skah Thank you: Дякую – dja-ku'-yu Goodbye: До побачення – doh po-bah'-chen-ya Where is the stadium?: Де знаходиться стадіон? – de zna-kho'-dee-tsja sta-dee-on' Goal: Гол – Ghol Most European Cups What are they saying? Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp has said his team will be "on fire" for the final: "We were in a League Cup final and didn't win it. People don't tell me in the street since then: 'Thank you for bringing us to the final'. We were in the Europa League final too. Nobody tells me thank you. "I see no trophies after these games. They don't hang silver medals at Melwood. That's a pity, but that's the game. There's still a job to do. "You cannot be more experienced in this competition than Real Madrid. "I think 80 per cent of their team played all these finals. They are four times in the last five years and still together. They are experienced, we are not, but we will be really on fire." Liverpool vs Real Madrid: Head-to-head Road to the final Zinedine Zidane's side won their first two games but a home draw with Tottenham followed by a loss at Wembley meant they finished second in their group. Despite failing behind to Paris St Germain at the Bernabeu, they won 5-2 on aggregate in the last 16 then overcame an almighty scare against Juventus, advancing thanks to Cristiano Ronaldo's last-gasp penalty despite a 3-1 home loss. A semi-final first leg victory in Munich proved pivotal as a 2-2 draw with Bayern in Spain got them over the line. Liverpool had to come through a qualifying round against Hoffenheim and then drew the opening two games in their group. They also threw away a three-goal lead against Sevilla in a 3-3 draw but thumped both Maribor and Spartak Moscow to finish top of Group E. They beat Porto 5-0 in the first leg of their last-16 tie, won both legs in the all-English clash with Manchester City and then saw off Roma 7-6 on aggregate following a 5-2 first-leg win at Anfield. Who fizzed and who flopped in the Champions League semi-final decider? Star men Real have the current Ballon d'or winner. Liverpool may have the next one. Cristiano Ronaldo is the Champions League's all-time leading scorer - with 120 goals, Real Madrid's all-time top scorer and a four-time winner of the competition. Ronaldo, who turned 33 this year, has scored 42 club goals this season. Yet Mohamed Salah has already exceeded that tally. The former Roma winger has enjoyed an incredible first season at Anfield, becoming just the third player in Liverpool history to score 40-plus goals in a single season and winning a slew of personal accolades. If he can outshine Ronaldo in Kiev, the ultimate individual prize may be next. Managers Zidane and Jurgen Klopp have experienced contrasting fortunes in finals. The former has won both of the Champions League finals he has been involved in as a boss. Meanwhile, Klopp has lost his previous five finals as a manage, including in the Europa League against Sevilla two seasons ago. Jurgen Klopp celebrates with his players Credit: GETTY IMAGES Tactics Real have not been as dominant as previous seasons, when their BBC (Gareth Bale, Karim Benzema and Ronaldo) strikeforce was in full flow and Luka Modric and Toni Kroos ran the midfield. This team is more pragmatic. Centre-backs Sergio Ramos and Raphael Varane and defensive midfielder Casemiro form a strong spine and Zidane can usually rely on Ronaldo for a moment of magic. Klopp's gegenpressing style has been used to devastating effect this year thanks to the relentless front three of Salah, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane. Liverpool will pin their hopes on that trio and their harassing style. History This is a meeting of the two of the most decorated clubs in the competition's history. No team has won more European Cups than Real Madrid's 12. Los Blancos won five in a row between 1956 and 1960 and last year they become the first club to retain the title in the Champions League era. Only Real and AC Milan have won more European Cups than Liverpool. The five-time winners' most recent success came in an astonishing 2005 final against AC Milan, who exacted revenge in the 2007 final. The Reds also beat Real in the 1981 final when Alan Kennedy scored the winner. Goals aplenty made Roma vs Liverpool a semi-final to sing and dance about Salah vs Ronaldo: A comparison Liverpool and Real Madrid will be looking to Mohamed Salah and Cristiano Ronaldo to make the difference for their respective teams on May 26. Here, we look at the numbers behind the two players' astonishing campaigns: Club appearances (all competitions): Salah (Liverpool) 49, Ronaldo (Real Madrid) 41 Club goals (all competitions): Salah 43, Ronaldo 42 Domestic league goals: Salah 31, Ronaldo 24 Domestic league assists: Salah 9, Ronaldo 5 Champions League goals (includes qualifiers): Salah 11, Ronaldo 15 Champions League assists (includes qualifiers): Salah 4, Ronaldo 2 Braces: Salah 7, Ronaldo 11 Hat-tricks: Salah 0, Ronaldo 1 Four goals in a game: Salah 1, Ronaldo 1 Longest scoring streak: Salah 7 games, Ronaldo 12 games Longest run without a goal: Salah 3 games, Ronaldo 3 games *Includes all competitive games except internationals. How Spanish sides have dominated past decade What are the odds? Real Madrid to win 6/5 Draw 11/4 Liverpool to win 2/1 What is our prediction? Real have not been as dominant as previous seasons, although they still managed to see off PSG, Juventus and Bayern Munich en route to the final. If Liverpool are to win, much will depend on their front three of Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane and their harassing style. There will be goals aplenty, and this feels like Liverpool's time. Predicted score: Liverpool win 4-3 in extra time. Liverpool's Champions League campaign | In Numbers
Champions League final 2018: When is Liverpool vs Real Madrid, what TV channel is it on and what is the venue?
What is it? For the first time since 1981, Real Madrid and Liverpool will compete in the final of the European Cup in a mouth-watering match to decide who will be awarded the coveted Champions League trophy. The defending champions and 12-time winners Real are bidding for their third successive title while Liverpool are seeking the sixth in their history. When is it? Saturday, May 26, 2018. Where is it? The 2018 Champions League final will be held at the NSC Olimpiyskiy Stadium in Kiev, Ukraine. It is the home of Dynamo Kiev. The stadium previously hosted the Euro 2012 final and holds a maximum capacity of 63,000 - the second largest in eastern Europe. What time is kick-off? 7.45pm BST. What TV channel is it on? BT Sport 1. But you can also watch the match for free on the BT Sport app or via BTSport.com. Liverpool in Europe: Finals ranked and rated What happened in the semi-finals? In the first semi, Bayern Munich goalkeeper Sven Ulreich committed a huge blunder as holders Real edged into the final. Ulreich missed a backpass to gift a vital second goal to Karim Benzema at the Bernabeu Stadium, and the Frenchman's double in a pulsating 2-2 draw ensured Real progressed 4-3 on aggregate. Bayern had led early through Joshua Kimmich and a strike from James Rodriguez - who is on loan at the German club from Real - set up a tense finish. However, the hosts withstood considerable pressure to keep their bid for a third successive title on track. Just confirming this actually happened and is not a FIFA '18 bugpic.twitter.com/nNsfSDZvm4— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) May 1, 2018 The following night, Liverpool set up a repeat of their 1981 meeting against Real despite a first Champions League defeat of the season at the Stadio Olimpico. A chaotic 4-2 semi-final second leg loss to Roma saw Liverpool progress 7-6 on aggregate, with victory secured thanks to Sadio Mane's 19th of the season and the rare sight of Georginio Wijnaldum's first away goal in almost three years. A fortuitous own goal by James Milner inbetween had put the hosts back in the game, while Edin Dzeko's strike shortly after half-time ensured the Reds endured a testing conclusion and two late goals for Radja Nainngolan - including a penalty with the last kick of the game - came too late for Roma. Roma v Liverpool Can I still get tickets? The window for buying standard tickets is now closed. It ran on Uefa's website from March 15-22. Hospitality tickets are still on sale on Uefa's website, with prices starting from €3,200 per person. How do I get to Kiev? The City has two airports, Zhulyany (8km south-west of the city centre) and Boryspil International (35km east). Public transport includes buses, trolleybuses, trams and an ever-expanding metro system. Blaggers guide to speaking Ukrainian (source Uefa.com) Hello: Привіт – pree-vee'-t How are you?: Як справи? – yak spra'-vee Please: Будь ласка – bood la'-skah Thank you: Дякую – dja-ku'-yu Goodbye: До побачення – doh po-bah'-chen-ya Where is the stadium?: Де знаходиться стадіон? – de zna-kho'-dee-tsja sta-dee-on' Goal: Гол – Ghol Most European Cups What are they saying? Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp has said his team will be "on fire" for the final: "We were in a League Cup final and didn't win it. People don't tell me in the street since then: 'Thank you for bringing us to the final'. We were in the Europa League final too. Nobody tells me thank you. "I see no trophies after these games. They don't hang silver medals at Melwood. That's a pity, but that's the game. There's still a job to do. "You cannot be more experienced in this competition than Real Madrid. "I think 80 per cent of their team played all these finals. They are four times in the last five years and still together. They are experienced, we are not, but we will be really on fire." Liverpool vs Real Madrid: Head-to-head Road to the final Zinedine Zidane's side won their first two games but a home draw with Tottenham followed by a loss at Wembley meant they finished second in their group. Despite failing behind to Paris St Germain at the Bernabeu, they won 5-2 on aggregate in the last 16 then overcame an almighty scare against Juventus, advancing thanks to Cristiano Ronaldo's last-gasp penalty despite a 3-1 home loss. A semi-final first leg victory in Munich proved pivotal as a 2-2 draw with Bayern in Spain got them over the line. Liverpool had to come through a qualifying round against Hoffenheim and then drew the opening two games in their group. They also threw away a three-goal lead against Sevilla in a 3-3 draw but thumped both Maribor and Spartak Moscow to finish top of Group E. They beat Porto 5-0 in the first leg of their last-16 tie, won both legs in the all-English clash with Manchester City and then saw off Roma 7-6 on aggregate following a 5-2 first-leg win at Anfield. Who fizzed and who flopped in the Champions League semi-final decider? Star men Real have the current Ballon d'or winner. Liverpool may have the next one. Cristiano Ronaldo is the Champions League's all-time leading scorer - with 120 goals, Real Madrid's all-time top scorer and a four-time winner of the competition. Ronaldo, who turned 33 this year, has scored 42 club goals this season. Yet Mohamed Salah has already exceeded that tally. The former Roma winger has enjoyed an incredible first season at Anfield, becoming just the third player in Liverpool history to score 40-plus goals in a single season and winning a slew of personal accolades. If he can outshine Ronaldo in Kiev, the ultimate individual prize may be next. Managers Zidane and Jurgen Klopp have experienced contrasting fortunes in finals. The former has won both of the Champions League finals he has been involved in as a boss. Meanwhile, Klopp has lost his previous five finals as a manage, including in the Europa League against Sevilla two seasons ago. Jurgen Klopp celebrates with his players Credit: GETTY IMAGES Tactics Real have not been as dominant as previous seasons, when their BBC (Gareth Bale, Karim Benzema and Ronaldo) strikeforce was in full flow and Luka Modric and Toni Kroos ran the midfield. This team is more pragmatic. Centre-backs Sergio Ramos and Raphael Varane and defensive midfielder Casemiro form a strong spine and Zidane can usually rely on Ronaldo for a moment of magic. Klopp's gegenpressing style has been used to devastating effect this year thanks to the relentless front three of Salah, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane. Liverpool will pin their hopes on that trio and their harassing style. History This is a meeting of the two of the most decorated clubs in the competition's history. No team has won more European Cups than Real Madrid's 12. Los Blancos won five in a row between 1956 and 1960 and last year they become the first club to retain the title in the Champions League era. Only Real and AC Milan have won more European Cups than Liverpool. The five-time winners' most recent success came in an astonishing 2005 final against AC Milan, who exacted revenge in the 2007 final. The Reds also beat Real in the 1981 final when Alan Kennedy scored the winner. Goals aplenty made Roma vs Liverpool a semi-final to sing and dance about Salah vs Ronaldo: A comparison Liverpool and Real Madrid will be looking to Mohamed Salah and Cristiano Ronaldo to make the difference for their respective teams on May 26. Here, we look at the numbers behind the two players' astonishing campaigns: Club appearances (all competitions): Salah (Liverpool) 49, Ronaldo (Real Madrid) 41 Club goals (all competitions): Salah 43, Ronaldo 42 Domestic league goals: Salah 31, Ronaldo 24 Domestic league assists: Salah 9, Ronaldo 5 Champions League goals (includes qualifiers): Salah 11, Ronaldo 15 Champions League assists (includes qualifiers): Salah 4, Ronaldo 2 Braces: Salah 7, Ronaldo 11 Hat-tricks: Salah 0, Ronaldo 1 Four goals in a game: Salah 1, Ronaldo 1 Longest scoring streak: Salah 7 games, Ronaldo 12 games Longest run without a goal: Salah 3 games, Ronaldo 3 games *Includes all competitive games except internationals. How Spanish sides have dominated past decade What are the odds? Real Madrid to win 6/5 Draw 11/4 Liverpool to win 2/1 What is our prediction? Real have not been as dominant as previous seasons, although they still managed to see off PSG, Juventus and Bayern Munich en route to the final. If Liverpool are to win, much will depend on their front three of Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane and their harassing style. There will be goals aplenty, and this feels like Liverpool's time. Predicted score: Liverpool win 4-3 in extra time. Liverpool's Champions League campaign | In Numbers
On paper, there is nothing this season to separate Cristiano Ronaldo and Mohamed Salah, each boasting 44 goals in all competitions and each building a persuasive case to capture the Ballon d’Or. But when invited yesterday to choose, Zinedine Zidane was adamant. “I would not swap Cristiano, or any of my players,” said the Real Madrid manager, galvanising his team in their quest for a third Champions League title in a row. “Liverpool have a brilliant front three, everyone talks about their attackers, but we can find ways to damage them. We fear nothing.” It was this type of attitude that pervaded Valdebebas, Real’s gleaming, manicured training compound, carved out of the arid scrub beside Barajas Airport. One would have hesitated to call it hubris, more a serene conviction that an extension of supremacy was theirs for the taking. Where other institutions might be superstitious about the number 13, Real plastered it everywhere here, regarding a 13th European Cup triumph less as an ambition than a fate preordained. Take Toni Kroos, for example. The German midfield conjurer, not a man given to hyperbole, predicted that he and his team-mates would confront “11 animals” in Kiev on Saturday night. And yet he did not appear remotely unnerved by the prospect, explaining that Real would counter Liverpool’s ferocity with composure and precision. “We will be better on the ball,” said Kroos, the anchoring figure who has variously been described as the “axle” and “one-man orchestra” for this Real side, with Barcelona’s Xavi anointing him as his natural successor in the game. “I am calm, not very nervous – that’s my character. I have a lot of confidence from my previous finals, which allows me not to have the same nerves as some other players. I don’t see Liverpool being hungrier than us. European Cup final 2018 | Real Madrid vs Liverpool “To end up in three Champions League finals, you must be at the top in terms of motivation. If not, you don’t beat Paris St-Germain, Juventus and Bayern Munich in succession.” Throughout an hour of open training yesterday, Real showcased their slickness to full effect. It is at moments like this that the value of Zidane, for all the doubts over his future stirred by a distant third-place finish in La Liga, becomes clear. Time and again, during volleying practice, he delivered the ball on a dime for Ronaldo and Luka Modric to crack it into the top corner. It was as if the pair were trying to replicate their manager’s own greatest goal, a delicious volley to win the Champions League for Real in 2002. Ronaldo, Zidane knows, represents the key to Real adding to their unparalleled loot. In each of their past two European finals, he was front and centre, providing the decisive penalty in Milan in 2016 and scoring two of the deftest goals in last June’s glory over Juventus in Cardiff. While his form dipped periodically over the past domestic campaign, Zidane expressed little doubt that the competition’s top scorer would be rejuvenated when it mattered most. “I believe that a player knows he may have a complex moment, but for Cristiano it’s the other way round,” he said. “When he doesn’t score, he still knows that he will score three or four times in a row. “Some players cannot handle pressure. But with him, the more pressure you create, the more you criticise, the better he plays. He is the best, so he will be of the utmost importance.” Ronaldo size Ronaldo, for his part, left no room for confusion in anticipating what Saturday’s outcome would be. “I have a lot of respect for Liverpool, but I think Madrid are better,” the Portuguese said. “We need to recognise the history we can make and to show our experience.” There was no evidence of the ankle injury that Ronaldo sustained earlier this month in the 2-2 draw with bitter rivals Barcelona. Indeed, he played and scored against Villarreal last weekend, promising that he would be “120 per cent” fit for Kiev. The one imponderable in Zidane’s plans concerns the role of Gareth Bale. While the Welsh winger has hinted at a return to his best in recent weeks, with four goals in three games, the state of his relationship with the manager seldom seems rock-solid. In particular, Zidane’s decision to leave him on the substitutes’ bench for the 2-1 semi-final win over Bayern was a chastening blow. Bale stands poised to claim a remarkable fourth Champions League winner’s medal in five years if he can overcome Zidane’s reservations, but for now the smart money is on the Frenchman keeping faith with Isco for the final.
Zinedine Zidane: I wouldn't swap any Real Madrid player for Mo Salah
On paper, there is nothing this season to separate Cristiano Ronaldo and Mohamed Salah, each boasting 44 goals in all competitions and each building a persuasive case to capture the Ballon d’Or. But when invited yesterday to choose, Zinedine Zidane was adamant. “I would not swap Cristiano, or any of my players,” said the Real Madrid manager, galvanising his team in their quest for a third Champions League title in a row. “Liverpool have a brilliant front three, everyone talks about their attackers, but we can find ways to damage them. We fear nothing.” It was this type of attitude that pervaded Valdebebas, Real’s gleaming, manicured training compound, carved out of the arid scrub beside Barajas Airport. One would have hesitated to call it hubris, more a serene conviction that an extension of supremacy was theirs for the taking. Where other institutions might be superstitious about the number 13, Real plastered it everywhere here, regarding a 13th European Cup triumph less as an ambition than a fate preordained. Take Toni Kroos, for example. The German midfield conjurer, not a man given to hyperbole, predicted that he and his team-mates would confront “11 animals” in Kiev on Saturday night. And yet he did not appear remotely unnerved by the prospect, explaining that Real would counter Liverpool’s ferocity with composure and precision. “We will be better on the ball,” said Kroos, the anchoring figure who has variously been described as the “axle” and “one-man orchestra” for this Real side, with Barcelona’s Xavi anointing him as his natural successor in the game. “I am calm, not very nervous – that’s my character. I have a lot of confidence from my previous finals, which allows me not to have the same nerves as some other players. I don’t see Liverpool being hungrier than us. European Cup final 2018 | Real Madrid vs Liverpool “To end up in three Champions League finals, you must be at the top in terms of motivation. If not, you don’t beat Paris St-Germain, Juventus and Bayern Munich in succession.” Throughout an hour of open training yesterday, Real showcased their slickness to full effect. It is at moments like this that the value of Zidane, for all the doubts over his future stirred by a distant third-place finish in La Liga, becomes clear. Time and again, during volleying practice, he delivered the ball on a dime for Ronaldo and Luka Modric to crack it into the top corner. It was as if the pair were trying to replicate their manager’s own greatest goal, a delicious volley to win the Champions League for Real in 2002. Ronaldo, Zidane knows, represents the key to Real adding to their unparalleled loot. In each of their past two European finals, he was front and centre, providing the decisive penalty in Milan in 2016 and scoring two of the deftest goals in last June’s glory over Juventus in Cardiff. While his form dipped periodically over the past domestic campaign, Zidane expressed little doubt that the competition’s top scorer would be rejuvenated when it mattered most. “I believe that a player knows he may have a complex moment, but for Cristiano it’s the other way round,” he said. “When he doesn’t score, he still knows that he will score three or four times in a row. “Some players cannot handle pressure. But with him, the more pressure you create, the more you criticise, the better he plays. He is the best, so he will be of the utmost importance.” Ronaldo size Ronaldo, for his part, left no room for confusion in anticipating what Saturday’s outcome would be. “I have a lot of respect for Liverpool, but I think Madrid are better,” the Portuguese said. “We need to recognise the history we can make and to show our experience.” There was no evidence of the ankle injury that Ronaldo sustained earlier this month in the 2-2 draw with bitter rivals Barcelona. Indeed, he played and scored against Villarreal last weekend, promising that he would be “120 per cent” fit for Kiev. The one imponderable in Zidane’s plans concerns the role of Gareth Bale. While the Welsh winger has hinted at a return to his best in recent weeks, with four goals in three games, the state of his relationship with the manager seldom seems rock-solid. In particular, Zidane’s decision to leave him on the substitutes’ bench for the 2-1 semi-final win over Bayern was a chastening blow. Bale stands poised to claim a remarkable fourth Champions League winner’s medal in five years if he can overcome Zidane’s reservations, but for now the smart money is on the Frenchman keeping faith with Isco for the final.
UEFA is concerned over AC Milan's stability after it was purchased by a Chinese-led consortium from Silvio Berlusconi for 740 million euros ($918mn) (AFP Photo/GIUSEPPE CACACE)
UEFA is concerned over AC Milan's stability after it was purchased by a Chinese-led consortium from Silvio Berlusconi for 740 million euros ($918mn)
UEFA is concerned over AC Milan's stability after it was purchased by a Chinese-led consortium from Silvio Berlusconi for 740 million euros ($918mn) (AFP Photo/GIUSEPPE CACACE)
UEFA is concerned over AC Milan's stability after it was purchased by a Chinese-led consortium from Silvio Berlusconi for 740 million euros ($918mn)
UEFA is concerned over AC Milan's stability after it was purchased by a Chinese-led consortium from Silvio Berlusconi for 740 million euros ($918mn)
UEFA is concerned over AC Milan's stability after it was purchased by a Chinese-led consortium from Silvio Berlusconi for 740 million euros ($918mn)
UEFA's Adjudicatory Chamber will review the case after the Serie A side invested more than €200 million in their squad over the past year
AC Milan referred over alleged FFP breaches
UEFA's Adjudicatory Chamber will review the case after the Serie A side invested more than €200 million in their squad over the past year
FILE PHOTO: AC Milan's flag waves in front of San Siro stadium in Milan April 29, 2015, ITALY. REUTERS/Alessandro Garofalo/File Photo
FILE PHOTO: AC Milan's flag waves in front of San Siro stadium in Milan
FILE PHOTO: AC Milan's flag waves in front of San Siro stadium in Milan April 29, 2015, ITALY. REUTERS/Alessandro Garofalo/File Photo
The former AC Milan player and coach is leaving the Riazor after the club were relegated from Spain's top flight
Seedorf to leave relegated Deportivo
The former AC Milan player and coach is leaving the Riazor after the club were relegated from Spain's top flight
AC Milan's Nikola Kalinic, covered by his teammates, celebrates after scoring his side's third goal during the Serie A soccer match between AC Milan and Fiorentina at the San Siro stadium in Milan, Italy, Sunday, May 20, 2018. (AP Photo/Antonio Calanni)
AC Milan faces UEFA sanctions over financial rule breach
AC Milan's Nikola Kalinic, covered by his teammates, celebrates after scoring his side's third goal during the Serie A soccer match between AC Milan and Fiorentina at the San Siro stadium in Milan, Italy, Sunday, May 20, 2018. (AP Photo/Antonio Calanni)
SN's Mike DeCourcy recounts Liverpool's dramatic 2005 UCL final win against AC Milan through the eyes of the club's supporters.
Champions League 2018: Another final allows Liverpool fans to recall the greatest night ever
SN's Mike DeCourcy recounts Liverpool's dramatic 2005 UCL final win against AC Milan through the eyes of the club's supporters.
SN's Mike DeCourcy recounts Liverpool's dramatic 2005 UCL final win against AC Milan through the eyes of the club's supporters.
Champions League 2018: Another final allows Liverpool fans to recall the greatest night ever
SN's Mike DeCourcy recounts Liverpool's dramatic 2005 UCL final win against AC Milan through the eyes of the club's supporters.
SN's Mike DeCourcy recounts Liverpool's dramatic 2005 UCL final win against AC Milan through the eyes of the club's supporters.
Champions League 2018: Another final allows Liverpool fans to recall the greatest night ever
SN's Mike DeCourcy recounts Liverpool's dramatic 2005 UCL final win against AC Milan through the eyes of the club's supporters.
SN's Mike DeCourcy recounts Liverpool's dramatic 2005 UCL final win against AC Milan through the eyes of the club's supporters.
Champions League 2018: Another final allows Liverpool fans to recall the greatest night ever
SN's Mike DeCourcy recounts Liverpool's dramatic 2005 UCL final win against AC Milan through the eyes of the club's supporters.
Soccer Football - Coppa Italia Final - Juventus vs AC Milan - Stadio Olimpico, Rome, Italy - May 9, 2018 Juventus' Mario Mandzukic before the match REUTERS/Stefano Rellandini
Coppa Italia Final - Juventus vs AC Milan
Soccer Football - Coppa Italia Final - Juventus vs AC Milan - Stadio Olimpico, Rome, Italy - May 9, 2018 Juventus' Mario Mandzukic before the match REUTERS/Stefano Rellandini
Soccer Football - Coppa Italia Final - Juventus vs AC Milan - Stadio Olimpico, Rome, Italy - May 9, 2018 Juventus' Mario Mandzukic before the match REUTERS/Stefano Rellandini
Coppa Italia Final - Juventus vs AC Milan
Soccer Football - Coppa Italia Final - Juventus vs AC Milan - Stadio Olimpico, Rome, Italy - May 9, 2018 Juventus' Mario Mandzukic before the match REUTERS/Stefano Rellandini
Each of the 31 qualifiers for the 2018 World Cup, plus the hosts, have named their provisional 35-man squads for the tournament in Russia and now have until June 4 to cull the numbers down to 23. Some, like England and Brazil, have already named their final 23-man squads. Those who do not make the cut are placed on standby in case they are needed to replace any injured players. Replacements can be made at any point until 24 hours before each team's first World Cup game. Here is what we know so far about each squad: Group A Egypt 29-man preliminary squad: Essam El Hadary, Mohamed El-Shennawy, Sherif Ekramy, Mohamed Awad; Ahmed Fathi, Saad Samir, Ayman Ashraf, Mahmoud Hamdy, Mohamed Abdel-Shafy, Ahmed Hegazi and Ali Gabr, Ahmed Elmohamady, Karim Hafez, Omar Gaber, Amro Tarek; Tarek Hamed, Mahmoud Abdel Aziz, Shikabala, Abdallah Said, Sam Morsy, Mohamed Elneny, Kahraba, Ramadan Sobhi, Trezeguet, Amr Warda; Marwan Mohsen, Ahmed Gomaa, Kouka, Mohamed Salah Russia 28-man preliminary squad: Igor Akinfeev, Vladimir Gabulov, Soslan Dzhanaev, Andrey Lunev; Vladimir Granat, Sergei Ignashevich, Fedor Kudryashov, Ilya Kutepov, Roman Neustadter, Konstantin Rausch, Andrey Semenov, Igor Smolnikov, Mario Fernandes; Yuri Gazinskiy, Alexsandr Golovin, Alan Dzagoev, Alexsandr Erokhin, Yuri Zhirkov, Daler Kuzyaev , Roman Zobnin, Alexsandr Samedov, Anton Miranchuk, Alexsandr Tashaev, Denis Cheryshev; Artem Dzyuba, Aleksey Miranchuk, Fedor Smolov, Fedor Chalov. Saudi Arabia 26-man preliminary squad: Assaf Al-Karny, Mohamed Al-Owais, Yasser Al-Musailem, Abdullah Al-Mayuf, Mansour Al-Harby, Yasser Al-Shahrany, Mohamed Al-Breik, Said Al-Muwalad, Motaz Hawsawi, Ossam Hawsawi, Omar Hawsawi, Mohamed Jahfali, Ali Al-Buhaili, Abdallah Al-Khaibari, Abdelmarek Al-Khaibari, Abdallah Otayf, Taiseer Al-Jassem, Hussein Al-Mafhawy, Soliman Al-Faraj, Nawaf Al-Abd, Mohamed Kano, Hattan Bahbary, Mohamed Al-Kowaikaby, Salem Al-Dawsari, Yehia Al-Shahry, Fahd Al-Muwalad, Mohamed Al-Sahlawy, Muhannad Asiri Uruguay 26-man preliminary squad: Fernando Muslera, Martin Silva, Martin Campana, Diego Godin, Sebastian Coates, Jose Maria Gimenez, Maximiliano Pereira, Gaston Silva, Martin Caceres, Guillermo Varela, Nahitan Nandez, Lucas Torreira, Matias Vecino, Federico Valverde, Rodrigo Bentancur, Carlos Sanchez, Giorgian De Arrascaeta, Diego Laxalt, Cristian Rodriguez, Jonathan Urretaviscaya, Nicolas Lodeiro, Gaston Ramirez, Cristhian Stuani, Maximiliano Gomez, Edinson Cavani, Luis Suarez World Cup predictor Group B Iran 35-man preliminary squad: Alireza Beiranvand, Seyed Hossein Hosseini, Rashid Mazaheri, Amir Abedzadeh; Ramin Rezaeian, Voria Ghafouri, Steven Beitashour, Seyed Jalal Hosseini, Mohammad Reza Khanzadeh, Morteza Pouraliganji, Mohammad Ansari, Pejman Montazeri, Seyed Majid Hosseini, Milad Mohammadi, Omid Norafkan, Saeid AGhaei, Roozbeh Cheshmi; Saeid Ezatolahi, Masoud Shojaei, Ahmad Abdolahzadeh, Saman Ghoddos, Mahdi Torabi, Ashkan Dejagah, Omid Ebrahimi, Ehsan Hajsafi, Ali Karimi, Soroush Rafiei, Ali Gholizadeh, Vahid Amiri; Alireza Jahanbakhsh, Karim Ansarifard, Mahdi Taremi, Sardar Azmoun, Reza Ghoochannejhad, Kaveh Rezaei Morocco 23-man final squad: Yassine Bounou, Mounir El Kajoui, Ahmad Reda Tagnaouti, Badr Banoun, Mehdi Benatia, Manuel da Costa, Nabil Dirar, Achraf Hakimi, Hamza Mendyl, Romain Saiss, Youssef Ait-Bennasser, Sofyan Amrabat, Nordin Amrabat, Younes Belhanda, Mbark Boussoufa, Karim El Ahmadi, Faycal Fajr, Amine Harit, Hakim Ziyech, Aziz Bouhaddouz, Khalid Boutaib, Mehdi Carcela, Ayoub El Kaabi Portugal 23-man final squad: Anthony Lopes, Beto, Rui Patricio, Bruno Alves, Cedric Soares, Jose Fonte, Mario Rui, Pepe, Raphael Guerreiro, Ricardo Pereira, Ruben Dias, Adrien Silva, Bruno Fernandes, Joao Mario, Joao Moutinho, Manuel Fernandes, William Carvalho, Andre Silva, Bernardo Silva, Cristiano Ronaldo, Gelson Martins, Goncalo Guedes, Ricardo Quaresma Spain 23-man final squad: David de Gea, Pepe Reina, Kepa Arrizabalaga, Jordi Alba, Nacho Monreal, Alvaro Odriozola, Nacho Fernandez, Dani Carvajal, Gerard Pique, Sergio Ramos, Cesar Azpilicueta, Sergio Busquets, Isco, Thiago Alcantara, David Silva, Andres Iniesta, Saul Niguez, Koke, Marco Asensio, Iago Aspas, Diego Costa, Rodrigo Moreno, Lucas Vazquez. Group C Australia 26-man preliminary squad: Brad Jones, Mat Ryan, Danny Vukovic; Aziz Behich, Milos Degenek, Matthew Jurman, Fran Karacic, James Meredith, Josh Risdon, Trent Sainsbury; Josh Brillante, Jackson Irvine, Mile Jedinak, Robbie Kruse, Massimo Luongo, Mark Milligan, Aaron Mooy, Tom Rogic, James Troisi; Daniel Arzani, Tim Cahill, Tomi Juric, Mathew Leckie, Andrew Nabbout, Dimitri Petratos, Nikita Rukavytsya Denmark 35-man preliminary squad: Kasper Schmeichel, Jonas Lossl, Frederik Ronow, Jesper Hansen; Simon Kjaer, Andreas Christensen, Mathias Jorgensen, Jannik Vestergaard, Andreas Bjelland, Henrik Dalsgaard, Peter Ankersen, Jens Stryger, Riza Durmisi, Jonas Knudsen, Nicolai Boilesen; William Kvist, Thomas Delaney, Lukas Lerager , Lasse Schone, Mike Jensen, Christian Eriksen, Daniel Wass, Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg, Mathias Jensen, Michael Krohn-Dehli, Robert Skov; Pione Sisto , Martin Braithwaite, Andreas Cornelius, Viktor Fischer, Yussuf Poulsen, Nicolai Jorgensen, Nicklas Bendtner, Kasper Dolberg, Kenneth Zohore World Cup 2018 stadiums France 23-man final squad: Alphonse Areola, Hugo Lloris, Steve Mandanda, Lucas Hernandez, Presnel Kimpembe, Benjamin Mendy, Benjamin Pavard, Adil Rami, Djibril Sidibe, Samuel Umtiti, Raphael Varane, N'Golo Kante, Blaise Matuidi, Steven N'Zonzi, Paul Pogba, Corentin Tolisso, Ousmane Dembele, Nabil Fekir, Olivier Giroud, Antoine Griezmann, Thomas Lemar, Kylian Mbappe, Florian Thauvin Peru 24-man preliminary squad: Carlos Caceda, Jose Carvallo, Pedro Gallese, Luis Abram, Luis Advincula, Pedro Aquino, Miguel Araujo, Andre Carrillo, Wilder Cartagena, Aldo Corzo, Christian Cueva, Jefferson Farfan, Edison Flores, Paolo Hurtado, Nilson Loyola, Sergio Pena, Andy Polo, Christian Ramos, Alberto Rodriguez, Raul Ruidiaz, Anderson Santamaria, Renato Tapia, Miguel Trauco, Yoshimar Yotun Group D Argentina 23-man final squad: Sergio Romero, Willy Caballero, Franco Armania, Gabriel Mercardo, Cristian Ansaldi, Nicolas Otamendi, Federico Fazio, Marcos Rojo, Nicolas Tagliafico, Marcos Acuna, Javier Mascherano, Eduardo Salvio, Lucas Biglia, Giovani Lo Celso, Ever Banega, Manuel Lanzini, Maximiliano Meza, Angel Di Maria, Cristian Pavon, Lionel Messi, Paulo Dybala, Gonzalo Higuain, Sergio Aguero. World Cup Russian host cities you've never heard of Croatia 24-man revised preliminary squad: Danijel Subasic, Lovre Kalinic, Dominik Livakovic, Vedran Corluka, Domagoj Vida, Ivan Strinic, Dejan Lovren, Sime Vrsaljko, Josip Pivaric, Tin Jedvaj, Matej Mitrovic, Duje Caleta-Car, Luka Modric, Ivan Rakitic, Mateo Kovacic, Milan Badelj, Marcelo Brozovic, Filip Bradaric, Mario Mandzukic, Ivan Perisic, Nikola Kalinic, Andrej Kramaric, Marko Pjaca, Ante Rebic. Iceland 23-man final squad: Hannes Thor Halldorsson, Runar Alex Runarsson, Frederik Schram; Kari Arnason, Ari Freyr Skulason, Birkir Mar Saevarsson, Sverrir Ingi Ingason, Hordur Magnusson, Holmar Orn Eyjolfsson, Ragnar Sigurdsson; Johann Berg Gudmundsson, Birkir Bjarnason, Arnor Ingvi Traustason, Emil Hallfredsson, Gylfi Sigurdsson, Olafur Ingi Skulason, Rurik Gislason, Samuel Fridjonsson, Aron Gunnarsson; Alfred Finnbogason, Bjorn Bergmann Sigurdarson, Jon Dadi Bodvarsson, Albert Gudmundsson Nigeria 30-man preliminary squad: Ikechukwu Ezenwa, Daniel Akpeyi, Francis Uzoho, Dele Ajiboye; William Troost-Ekong, Leon Balogun, Olaoluwa Aina, Kenneth Omeruo, Bryan Idowu, Chidozie Awaziem, Abdullahi Shehu, Elderson Echiejile, Tyronne Ebuehi, Stephen Eze, John Obi Mikel, Ogenyi Onazi, John Ogu, Wilfred Ndidi, Uche Agbo, Oghenekaro Etebo, Joel Obi; Mikel Agu; Odion Ighalo, Ahmed Musa, Victor Moses, Alex Iwobi, Kelechi Iheanacho, Moses Simon, Junior Lokosa, Simeon Nwankwo Group E Brazil 23-man final squad: Alisson, Ederson, Cassio; Danilo, Fagner, Marcelo, Filipe Luis, Thiago Silva, Marquinhos, Miranda, Pedro Geromel; Casemiro, Fernandinho, Paulinho, Fred, Renato Augusto, Philippe Coutinho, Willian, Douglas Costa; Neymar, Taison, Gabriel Jesus, Roberto Firmino Costa Rica 23-man final squad: Keylor Navas, Patrick Pemberton, Leonel Moreira, Cristian Gamboa, Ian Smith, Ronald Matarrita, Bryan Oviedo, Oscar Duarte, Giancarlo Gonzalez, Francisco Calvo, Kendall Waston, Johnny Acosta, David Guzman, Yeltsin Tejeda, Celso Borges, Randall Azofeifa, Rodney Wallace, Bryan Ruiz, Daniel Colindres, Christian Bolanos, Johan Venegas, Joel Campbell, Marco Urena. Switzerland TBC Serbia TBC Group F Germany 27-man preliminary squad: Bernd Leno, Manuel Neuer, Marc-Andre ter Stegen, Kevin Trapp, Jerome Boateng, Matthias Ginter, Jonas Hector, Mats Hummels, Joshua Kimmich, Marvin Plattenhardt, Antonio Rudiger, Niklas Sule, Jonathan Tah, Julian Brandt, Julian Draxler, Mario Gomez, Leon Goretzka, Ilkay Gundogan, Sami Khedira, Toni Kroos, Thomas Muller, Mesut Ozil, Nils Petersen, Marco Reus, Sebastian Rudy, Leroy Sane, Timo Werner. Mexico 28-man preliminary squad: Guillermo Ochoa, Jesus Corona, Alfredo Talavera; Diego Reyes, Héctor Moreno, Miguel Layún, Carlos Salcedo, Edson Álvarez, Néstor Araujo, Jesús Gallardo, Hugo Ayala, Rafael Márquez; Jonathan dos Santos, Andrés Guardado, Héctor Herrera, Marco Fabián, Javier Aquino, Jonathan González, Jesús Molina y Erick Gutiérrez; Tecatito Corona, Hirving Lozano, Chicharito Hernández, Raúl Jiménez, Carlos Vela, Javier Aquino, Jurgen Damm, Giovani dos Santos South Korea 28-man preliminary squad: Kim Seunggyu, Kim Jinhyeon, Cho Hyeonwoo, Kim Younggwon, Jang Hyunsoo, Jeong Seunghyeon, Yun Yeongseon, Kwon Kyungwon, Oh Bansuk, Kim Jinsu, Kim Minwoo, Park Jooho, Hong Chul, Go Yohan, Lee Yong, Ki Sungyueng, Jeong Wooyoung, Kwon Changhoon, Ju Sejong, Koo Jacheol, Lee Jaesung, Lee Seungwoo, Moon Sunmin, Lee Chungyong, Kim Shinwook, Son Heungmin, Hwang Heechan, Lee Keunho Sweden 23-man final squad: Robin Olsen, Karl-Johan Johnsson, Kristoffer Nordfeldt, Mikael Lustig, Victor Lindelof, Andreas Granqvist, Martin Olsson, Ludwig Augustinsson, Filip Helander, Emil Krafth, Pontus Jansson, Sebastian Larsson, Albin Ekdal, Emil Forsberg, Gustav Svensson, Oscar Hiljemark, Viktor Claesson, Marcus Rohden, Jimmy Durmaz, Marcus Berg, John Guidetti, Ola Toivonen, Isaac Kiese Thelin Group G Belgium 28-man preliminary squad: Toby Alderweireld, Michy Batshuayi, Christian Benteke, Dedryck Boyata, Yannick Carrasco, Koen Casteels, Nacer Chadli, Laurent Ciman, Thibaut Courtois, Kevin De Bruyne, Mousa Dembele, Leander Dendoncker, Marouane Fellaini, Eden Hazard, Thorgan Hazard, Adnan Januzaj, Christian Kabasele, Vincent Kompany, Jordan Lukaku, Romelu Lukaku, Dries Mertens, Thomas Meunier, Simon Mignolet, Matz Sels, Youri Tielemans, Thomas Vermaelen, Jan Vertonghen, Axel Witsel. England 23-man final squad: Jack Butland, Nick Pope, Jordan Pickford; Fabian Delph, Danny Rose, Eric Dier, Kyle Walker, Kieran Trippier, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Harry Maguire, John Stones, Phil Jones, Gary Cahill; Jordan Henderson, Jesse Lingard, Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Ashley Young, Dele Alli, Raheem Sterling; Harry Kane, Jamie Vardy, Marcus Rashford, Danny Welbeck Panama 35-man preliminary squad: Jose Calderon, Jaime Penedo, Alex Rodríguez; Azmahar Ariano, Felipe Baloy, Harold Cummings, Eric Davis, Fidel Escobar, Adolfo Machado, Michael Murillo, Luis Ovalle, Francisco Palacios, Richard Peralta, Roman Torres; Ricardo Avila, Edgar Barcenas, Ricardo Buitrago, Miguel Camargo, Adalberto Carrasquilla, Armando Cooper, Anibal Godoy, Gabriel Gomez, Jose Gonzalez, Cristian Martinez, Valentin Pimentel, Alberto Quintero, Jose Luis Rodriguez; Abdiel Arroyo, Rolando Blackburn, Ismael Diaz, Jose Fajardo, Roberto Nurse, Blas Perez, Luis Tejada, Gabriel Torres Tunisia 29-man preliminary squad: Aymen Mathlouthi, Mouez Hassen, Farouk Ben Mustapha, Moez Ben Cherifia, Syam Ben Youssef, Yohan Benalouane, Yassine Meriah, Bilel Mohsni, Hamdi Nagguez, Ali Maaloul, Khalil Chemmam, Oussema Haddadi, Dylan Bronn, Ellyes Skhiri, Ferjani Sassi, Karim Laribi, Ahmed Khalil, Mohamed Amine Ben Amor, Ghailene Chaalali, Mohamed Larbi, Anice Bardi, Saif-Eddine Khaoui, Saber Khalifa, Naim Sliti, Fakhreddine Ben Youssef, Whabi Khazri, Bassem Srarfi, Ahmed Akaichi Group H Colombia 35-man preliminary squad: David Ospina, Camilo Vargas, Ivan Arboleda, Jose Fernando Cuadrado; Cristian Zapata, Davinson Sanchez, Santiago Arias, Oscar Murillo, Frank Fabra, Johan Mojica, Yerry Mina, William Tesillo, Bernardo Espinosa, Stefan Medina, Farid Diaz; Wilmar Barrios, Carlos Sanchez, Jefferson Lerma, Jose Izquierdo, James Rodriguez, Giovanni Moreno, Abel Aguilar, Mateus Uribe, Yimmi Chara, Juan Fernando Quintero, Edwin Cardona, Juan Guillermo Cuadrado, Gustavo Cuellar, Sebastian Perez; Radamel Falcao Garcia, Duvan Zapata, Miguel Borja, Carlos Bacca, Luis Fernando Muriel, Teofilo Gutierrez Japan 27-man preliminary squad: Eiji Kawashima, Masaaki Higashiguchi, Kosuke Nakamura, Yuto Nagatomo, Tomoaki Makino, Maya Yoshida, Hiroki Sakai, Gotuku Sakai, Gen Shoji, Wataru Endo, Naomichi Ueda, Makoto Hasebe, Yosuke Ideguchi, Toshihiro Aoyama, Keisuke Honda, Takashi Inui, Shinji Kagawa, Hotaru Yamaguchi, Genki Haraguchi, Takashi Usami, Gaku Shibasaki, Ryota Oshima, Kento Misao, Shinji Okazaki, Yuya Osako, Yoshinori Muto, Takuma Asano. World Cup 2018 venues Poland 32-man revised preliminary squad: Bartosz Bialkowski, Lukasz Fabianski, Lukasz Skorupski, Wojciech Szczesny, Jan Bednarek, Bartosz Bereszynski, Thiago Cionek, Kamil Glik, Artur Jedrzejczyk, Marcin Kaminski, Tomasz Kedziora, Michal Pazdan, Lukasz Piszczek, Jakub Blaszczykowski, Karol Linetty, Pawel Dawidowicz, Krzysztof Maczynski, Przemyslaw Frankowski, Slawomir Peszko, Jacek Goralski, Maciej Rybus, Kamil Grosicki, Sebastian Szymanski, Grzegorz Krychowiak, Piotr Zielinski, Rafal Kurzawa, Szymon Zurkowski, Dawid Kownacki, Lukasz Teodorczyk, Robert Lewandowski, Kamil Wilczek, Arkadiusz Milik. Senegal 23-man final squad: Abdoulaye Diallo, Khadim Ndiaye, Alfred Gomis, Lamine Gassama, Moussa Wague, Saliou Ciss, Youssouf Sabaly, Kalidou Kalidou, Salif Sane, Cheikhou Kouyate, Kara Mbodji, Idrisa Gana Gueye, Cheikh Ndoye, Alfred Ndiaye, Pape Alioune Ndiaye, Moussa Sow, Moussa Konate, Diafra Sakho, Sadio Mane, Ismaila Sarr, Mame Biram Diouf, Mbaye Niang, Diao Keita Balde
World Cup 2018 squad guide: Latest group news and updates
Each of the 31 qualifiers for the 2018 World Cup, plus the hosts, have named their provisional 35-man squads for the tournament in Russia and now have until June 4 to cull the numbers down to 23. Some, like England and Brazil, have already named their final 23-man squads. Those who do not make the cut are placed on standby in case they are needed to replace any injured players. Replacements can be made at any point until 24 hours before each team's first World Cup game. Here is what we know so far about each squad: Group A Egypt 29-man preliminary squad: Essam El Hadary, Mohamed El-Shennawy, Sherif Ekramy, Mohamed Awad; Ahmed Fathi, Saad Samir, Ayman Ashraf, Mahmoud Hamdy, Mohamed Abdel-Shafy, Ahmed Hegazi and Ali Gabr, Ahmed Elmohamady, Karim Hafez, Omar Gaber, Amro Tarek; Tarek Hamed, Mahmoud Abdel Aziz, Shikabala, Abdallah Said, Sam Morsy, Mohamed Elneny, Kahraba, Ramadan Sobhi, Trezeguet, Amr Warda; Marwan Mohsen, Ahmed Gomaa, Kouka, Mohamed Salah Russia 28-man preliminary squad: Igor Akinfeev, Vladimir Gabulov, Soslan Dzhanaev, Andrey Lunev; Vladimir Granat, Sergei Ignashevich, Fedor Kudryashov, Ilya Kutepov, Roman Neustadter, Konstantin Rausch, Andrey Semenov, Igor Smolnikov, Mario Fernandes; Yuri Gazinskiy, Alexsandr Golovin, Alan Dzagoev, Alexsandr Erokhin, Yuri Zhirkov, Daler Kuzyaev , Roman Zobnin, Alexsandr Samedov, Anton Miranchuk, Alexsandr Tashaev, Denis Cheryshev; Artem Dzyuba, Aleksey Miranchuk, Fedor Smolov, Fedor Chalov. Saudi Arabia 26-man preliminary squad: Assaf Al-Karny, Mohamed Al-Owais, Yasser Al-Musailem, Abdullah Al-Mayuf, Mansour Al-Harby, Yasser Al-Shahrany, Mohamed Al-Breik, Said Al-Muwalad, Motaz Hawsawi, Ossam Hawsawi, Omar Hawsawi, Mohamed Jahfali, Ali Al-Buhaili, Abdallah Al-Khaibari, Abdelmarek Al-Khaibari, Abdallah Otayf, Taiseer Al-Jassem, Hussein Al-Mafhawy, Soliman Al-Faraj, Nawaf Al-Abd, Mohamed Kano, Hattan Bahbary, Mohamed Al-Kowaikaby, Salem Al-Dawsari, Yehia Al-Shahry, Fahd Al-Muwalad, Mohamed Al-Sahlawy, Muhannad Asiri Uruguay 26-man preliminary squad: Fernando Muslera, Martin Silva, Martin Campana, Diego Godin, Sebastian Coates, Jose Maria Gimenez, Maximiliano Pereira, Gaston Silva, Martin Caceres, Guillermo Varela, Nahitan Nandez, Lucas Torreira, Matias Vecino, Federico Valverde, Rodrigo Bentancur, Carlos Sanchez, Giorgian De Arrascaeta, Diego Laxalt, Cristian Rodriguez, Jonathan Urretaviscaya, Nicolas Lodeiro, Gaston Ramirez, Cristhian Stuani, Maximiliano Gomez, Edinson Cavani, Luis Suarez World Cup predictor Group B Iran 35-man preliminary squad: Alireza Beiranvand, Seyed Hossein Hosseini, Rashid Mazaheri, Amir Abedzadeh; Ramin Rezaeian, Voria Ghafouri, Steven Beitashour, Seyed Jalal Hosseini, Mohammad Reza Khanzadeh, Morteza Pouraliganji, Mohammad Ansari, Pejman Montazeri, Seyed Majid Hosseini, Milad Mohammadi, Omid Norafkan, Saeid AGhaei, Roozbeh Cheshmi; Saeid Ezatolahi, Masoud Shojaei, Ahmad Abdolahzadeh, Saman Ghoddos, Mahdi Torabi, Ashkan Dejagah, Omid Ebrahimi, Ehsan Hajsafi, Ali Karimi, Soroush Rafiei, Ali Gholizadeh, Vahid Amiri; Alireza Jahanbakhsh, Karim Ansarifard, Mahdi Taremi, Sardar Azmoun, Reza Ghoochannejhad, Kaveh Rezaei Morocco 23-man final squad: Yassine Bounou, Mounir El Kajoui, Ahmad Reda Tagnaouti, Badr Banoun, Mehdi Benatia, Manuel da Costa, Nabil Dirar, Achraf Hakimi, Hamza Mendyl, Romain Saiss, Youssef Ait-Bennasser, Sofyan Amrabat, Nordin Amrabat, Younes Belhanda, Mbark Boussoufa, Karim El Ahmadi, Faycal Fajr, Amine Harit, Hakim Ziyech, Aziz Bouhaddouz, Khalid Boutaib, Mehdi Carcela, Ayoub El Kaabi Portugal 23-man final squad: Anthony Lopes, Beto, Rui Patricio, Bruno Alves, Cedric Soares, Jose Fonte, Mario Rui, Pepe, Raphael Guerreiro, Ricardo Pereira, Ruben Dias, Adrien Silva, Bruno Fernandes, Joao Mario, Joao Moutinho, Manuel Fernandes, William Carvalho, Andre Silva, Bernardo Silva, Cristiano Ronaldo, Gelson Martins, Goncalo Guedes, Ricardo Quaresma Spain 23-man final squad: David de Gea, Pepe Reina, Kepa Arrizabalaga, Jordi Alba, Nacho Monreal, Alvaro Odriozola, Nacho Fernandez, Dani Carvajal, Gerard Pique, Sergio Ramos, Cesar Azpilicueta, Sergio Busquets, Isco, Thiago Alcantara, David Silva, Andres Iniesta, Saul Niguez, Koke, Marco Asensio, Iago Aspas, Diego Costa, Rodrigo Moreno, Lucas Vazquez. Group C Australia 26-man preliminary squad: Brad Jones, Mat Ryan, Danny Vukovic; Aziz Behich, Milos Degenek, Matthew Jurman, Fran Karacic, James Meredith, Josh Risdon, Trent Sainsbury; Josh Brillante, Jackson Irvine, Mile Jedinak, Robbie Kruse, Massimo Luongo, Mark Milligan, Aaron Mooy, Tom Rogic, James Troisi; Daniel Arzani, Tim Cahill, Tomi Juric, Mathew Leckie, Andrew Nabbout, Dimitri Petratos, Nikita Rukavytsya Denmark 35-man preliminary squad: Kasper Schmeichel, Jonas Lossl, Frederik Ronow, Jesper Hansen; Simon Kjaer, Andreas Christensen, Mathias Jorgensen, Jannik Vestergaard, Andreas Bjelland, Henrik Dalsgaard, Peter Ankersen, Jens Stryger, Riza Durmisi, Jonas Knudsen, Nicolai Boilesen; William Kvist, Thomas Delaney, Lukas Lerager , Lasse Schone, Mike Jensen, Christian Eriksen, Daniel Wass, Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg, Mathias Jensen, Michael Krohn-Dehli, Robert Skov; Pione Sisto , Martin Braithwaite, Andreas Cornelius, Viktor Fischer, Yussuf Poulsen, Nicolai Jorgensen, Nicklas Bendtner, Kasper Dolberg, Kenneth Zohore World Cup 2018 stadiums France 23-man final squad: Alphonse Areola, Hugo Lloris, Steve Mandanda, Lucas Hernandez, Presnel Kimpembe, Benjamin Mendy, Benjamin Pavard, Adil Rami, Djibril Sidibe, Samuel Umtiti, Raphael Varane, N'Golo Kante, Blaise Matuidi, Steven N'Zonzi, Paul Pogba, Corentin Tolisso, Ousmane Dembele, Nabil Fekir, Olivier Giroud, Antoine Griezmann, Thomas Lemar, Kylian Mbappe, Florian Thauvin Peru 24-man preliminary squad: Carlos Caceda, Jose Carvallo, Pedro Gallese, Luis Abram, Luis Advincula, Pedro Aquino, Miguel Araujo, Andre Carrillo, Wilder Cartagena, Aldo Corzo, Christian Cueva, Jefferson Farfan, Edison Flores, Paolo Hurtado, Nilson Loyola, Sergio Pena, Andy Polo, Christian Ramos, Alberto Rodriguez, Raul Ruidiaz, Anderson Santamaria, Renato Tapia, Miguel Trauco, Yoshimar Yotun Group D Argentina 23-man final squad: Sergio Romero, Willy Caballero, Franco Armania, Gabriel Mercardo, Cristian Ansaldi, Nicolas Otamendi, Federico Fazio, Marcos Rojo, Nicolas Tagliafico, Marcos Acuna, Javier Mascherano, Eduardo Salvio, Lucas Biglia, Giovani Lo Celso, Ever Banega, Manuel Lanzini, Maximiliano Meza, Angel Di Maria, Cristian Pavon, Lionel Messi, Paulo Dybala, Gonzalo Higuain, Sergio Aguero. World Cup Russian host cities you've never heard of Croatia 24-man revised preliminary squad: Danijel Subasic, Lovre Kalinic, Dominik Livakovic, Vedran Corluka, Domagoj Vida, Ivan Strinic, Dejan Lovren, Sime Vrsaljko, Josip Pivaric, Tin Jedvaj, Matej Mitrovic, Duje Caleta-Car, Luka Modric, Ivan Rakitic, Mateo Kovacic, Milan Badelj, Marcelo Brozovic, Filip Bradaric, Mario Mandzukic, Ivan Perisic, Nikola Kalinic, Andrej Kramaric, Marko Pjaca, Ante Rebic. Iceland 23-man final squad: Hannes Thor Halldorsson, Runar Alex Runarsson, Frederik Schram; Kari Arnason, Ari Freyr Skulason, Birkir Mar Saevarsson, Sverrir Ingi Ingason, Hordur Magnusson, Holmar Orn Eyjolfsson, Ragnar Sigurdsson; Johann Berg Gudmundsson, Birkir Bjarnason, Arnor Ingvi Traustason, Emil Hallfredsson, Gylfi Sigurdsson, Olafur Ingi Skulason, Rurik Gislason, Samuel Fridjonsson, Aron Gunnarsson; Alfred Finnbogason, Bjorn Bergmann Sigurdarson, Jon Dadi Bodvarsson, Albert Gudmundsson Nigeria 30-man preliminary squad: Ikechukwu Ezenwa, Daniel Akpeyi, Francis Uzoho, Dele Ajiboye; William Troost-Ekong, Leon Balogun, Olaoluwa Aina, Kenneth Omeruo, Bryan Idowu, Chidozie Awaziem, Abdullahi Shehu, Elderson Echiejile, Tyronne Ebuehi, Stephen Eze, John Obi Mikel, Ogenyi Onazi, John Ogu, Wilfred Ndidi, Uche Agbo, Oghenekaro Etebo, Joel Obi; Mikel Agu; Odion Ighalo, Ahmed Musa, Victor Moses, Alex Iwobi, Kelechi Iheanacho, Moses Simon, Junior Lokosa, Simeon Nwankwo Group E Brazil 23-man final squad: Alisson, Ederson, Cassio; Danilo, Fagner, Marcelo, Filipe Luis, Thiago Silva, Marquinhos, Miranda, Pedro Geromel; Casemiro, Fernandinho, Paulinho, Fred, Renato Augusto, Philippe Coutinho, Willian, Douglas Costa; Neymar, Taison, Gabriel Jesus, Roberto Firmino Costa Rica 23-man final squad: Keylor Navas, Patrick Pemberton, Leonel Moreira, Cristian Gamboa, Ian Smith, Ronald Matarrita, Bryan Oviedo, Oscar Duarte, Giancarlo Gonzalez, Francisco Calvo, Kendall Waston, Johnny Acosta, David Guzman, Yeltsin Tejeda, Celso Borges, Randall Azofeifa, Rodney Wallace, Bryan Ruiz, Daniel Colindres, Christian Bolanos, Johan Venegas, Joel Campbell, Marco Urena. Switzerland TBC Serbia TBC Group F Germany 27-man preliminary squad: Bernd Leno, Manuel Neuer, Marc-Andre ter Stegen, Kevin Trapp, Jerome Boateng, Matthias Ginter, Jonas Hector, Mats Hummels, Joshua Kimmich, Marvin Plattenhardt, Antonio Rudiger, Niklas Sule, Jonathan Tah, Julian Brandt, Julian Draxler, Mario Gomez, Leon Goretzka, Ilkay Gundogan, Sami Khedira, Toni Kroos, Thomas Muller, Mesut Ozil, Nils Petersen, Marco Reus, Sebastian Rudy, Leroy Sane, Timo Werner. Mexico 28-man preliminary squad: Guillermo Ochoa, Jesus Corona, Alfredo Talavera; Diego Reyes, Héctor Moreno, Miguel Layún, Carlos Salcedo, Edson Álvarez, Néstor Araujo, Jesús Gallardo, Hugo Ayala, Rafael Márquez; Jonathan dos Santos, Andrés Guardado, Héctor Herrera, Marco Fabián, Javier Aquino, Jonathan González, Jesús Molina y Erick Gutiérrez; Tecatito Corona, Hirving Lozano, Chicharito Hernández, Raúl Jiménez, Carlos Vela, Javier Aquino, Jurgen Damm, Giovani dos Santos South Korea 28-man preliminary squad: Kim Seunggyu, Kim Jinhyeon, Cho Hyeonwoo, Kim Younggwon, Jang Hyunsoo, Jeong Seunghyeon, Yun Yeongseon, Kwon Kyungwon, Oh Bansuk, Kim Jinsu, Kim Minwoo, Park Jooho, Hong Chul, Go Yohan, Lee Yong, Ki Sungyueng, Jeong Wooyoung, Kwon Changhoon, Ju Sejong, Koo Jacheol, Lee Jaesung, Lee Seungwoo, Moon Sunmin, Lee Chungyong, Kim Shinwook, Son Heungmin, Hwang Heechan, Lee Keunho Sweden 23-man final squad: Robin Olsen, Karl-Johan Johnsson, Kristoffer Nordfeldt, Mikael Lustig, Victor Lindelof, Andreas Granqvist, Martin Olsson, Ludwig Augustinsson, Filip Helander, Emil Krafth, Pontus Jansson, Sebastian Larsson, Albin Ekdal, Emil Forsberg, Gustav Svensson, Oscar Hiljemark, Viktor Claesson, Marcus Rohden, Jimmy Durmaz, Marcus Berg, John Guidetti, Ola Toivonen, Isaac Kiese Thelin Group G Belgium 28-man preliminary squad: Toby Alderweireld, Michy Batshuayi, Christian Benteke, Dedryck Boyata, Yannick Carrasco, Koen Casteels, Nacer Chadli, Laurent Ciman, Thibaut Courtois, Kevin De Bruyne, Mousa Dembele, Leander Dendoncker, Marouane Fellaini, Eden Hazard, Thorgan Hazard, Adnan Januzaj, Christian Kabasele, Vincent Kompany, Jordan Lukaku, Romelu Lukaku, Dries Mertens, Thomas Meunier, Simon Mignolet, Matz Sels, Youri Tielemans, Thomas Vermaelen, Jan Vertonghen, Axel Witsel. England 23-man final squad: Jack Butland, Nick Pope, Jordan Pickford; Fabian Delph, Danny Rose, Eric Dier, Kyle Walker, Kieran Trippier, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Harry Maguire, John Stones, Phil Jones, Gary Cahill; Jordan Henderson, Jesse Lingard, Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Ashley Young, Dele Alli, Raheem Sterling; Harry Kane, Jamie Vardy, Marcus Rashford, Danny Welbeck Panama 35-man preliminary squad: Jose Calderon, Jaime Penedo, Alex Rodríguez; Azmahar Ariano, Felipe Baloy, Harold Cummings, Eric Davis, Fidel Escobar, Adolfo Machado, Michael Murillo, Luis Ovalle, Francisco Palacios, Richard Peralta, Roman Torres; Ricardo Avila, Edgar Barcenas, Ricardo Buitrago, Miguel Camargo, Adalberto Carrasquilla, Armando Cooper, Anibal Godoy, Gabriel Gomez, Jose Gonzalez, Cristian Martinez, Valentin Pimentel, Alberto Quintero, Jose Luis Rodriguez; Abdiel Arroyo, Rolando Blackburn, Ismael Diaz, Jose Fajardo, Roberto Nurse, Blas Perez, Luis Tejada, Gabriel Torres Tunisia 29-man preliminary squad: Aymen Mathlouthi, Mouez Hassen, Farouk Ben Mustapha, Moez Ben Cherifia, Syam Ben Youssef, Yohan Benalouane, Yassine Meriah, Bilel Mohsni, Hamdi Nagguez, Ali Maaloul, Khalil Chemmam, Oussema Haddadi, Dylan Bronn, Ellyes Skhiri, Ferjani Sassi, Karim Laribi, Ahmed Khalil, Mohamed Amine Ben Amor, Ghailene Chaalali, Mohamed Larbi, Anice Bardi, Saif-Eddine Khaoui, Saber Khalifa, Naim Sliti, Fakhreddine Ben Youssef, Whabi Khazri, Bassem Srarfi, Ahmed Akaichi Group H Colombia 35-man preliminary squad: David Ospina, Camilo Vargas, Ivan Arboleda, Jose Fernando Cuadrado; Cristian Zapata, Davinson Sanchez, Santiago Arias, Oscar Murillo, Frank Fabra, Johan Mojica, Yerry Mina, William Tesillo, Bernardo Espinosa, Stefan Medina, Farid Diaz; Wilmar Barrios, Carlos Sanchez, Jefferson Lerma, Jose Izquierdo, James Rodriguez, Giovanni Moreno, Abel Aguilar, Mateus Uribe, Yimmi Chara, Juan Fernando Quintero, Edwin Cardona, Juan Guillermo Cuadrado, Gustavo Cuellar, Sebastian Perez; Radamel Falcao Garcia, Duvan Zapata, Miguel Borja, Carlos Bacca, Luis Fernando Muriel, Teofilo Gutierrez Japan 27-man preliminary squad: Eiji Kawashima, Masaaki Higashiguchi, Kosuke Nakamura, Yuto Nagatomo, Tomoaki Makino, Maya Yoshida, Hiroki Sakai, Gotuku Sakai, Gen Shoji, Wataru Endo, Naomichi Ueda, Makoto Hasebe, Yosuke Ideguchi, Toshihiro Aoyama, Keisuke Honda, Takashi Inui, Shinji Kagawa, Hotaru Yamaguchi, Genki Haraguchi, Takashi Usami, Gaku Shibasaki, Ryota Oshima, Kento Misao, Shinji Okazaki, Yuya Osako, Yoshinori Muto, Takuma Asano. World Cup 2018 venues Poland 32-man revised preliminary squad: Bartosz Bialkowski, Lukasz Fabianski, Lukasz Skorupski, Wojciech Szczesny, Jan Bednarek, Bartosz Bereszynski, Thiago Cionek, Kamil Glik, Artur Jedrzejczyk, Marcin Kaminski, Tomasz Kedziora, Michal Pazdan, Lukasz Piszczek, Jakub Blaszczykowski, Karol Linetty, Pawel Dawidowicz, Krzysztof Maczynski, Przemyslaw Frankowski, Slawomir Peszko, Jacek Goralski, Maciej Rybus, Kamil Grosicki, Sebastian Szymanski, Grzegorz Krychowiak, Piotr Zielinski, Rafal Kurzawa, Szymon Zurkowski, Dawid Kownacki, Lukasz Teodorczyk, Robert Lewandowski, Kamil Wilczek, Arkadiusz Milik. Senegal 23-man final squad: Abdoulaye Diallo, Khadim Ndiaye, Alfred Gomis, Lamine Gassama, Moussa Wague, Saliou Ciss, Youssouf Sabaly, Kalidou Kalidou, Salif Sane, Cheikhou Kouyate, Kara Mbodji, Idrisa Gana Gueye, Cheikh Ndoye, Alfred Ndiaye, Pape Alioune Ndiaye, Moussa Sow, Moussa Konate, Diafra Sakho, Sadio Mane, Ismaila Sarr, Mame Biram Diouf, Mbaye Niang, Diao Keita Balde
Andrea Pirlo was given a fitting send-off at his testimonial in Milan (AFP Photo/MARCO BERTORELLO)
Andrea Pirlo was given a fitting send-off at his testimonial in Milan
Andrea Pirlo was given a fitting send-off at his testimonial in Milan (AFP Photo/MARCO BERTORELLO)
Andrea Pirlo was given a fitting send-off at his testimonial in Milan
Andrea Pirlo was given a fitting send-off at his testimonial in Milan
Andrea Pirlo was given a fitting send-off at his testimonial in Milan
Former Italian soccer player Andrea Pirlo is lifted up at the end of his farewell soccer match at the San Siro stadium in Milan, Italy, May 21, 2018. REUTERS/Daniele Mascolo TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Former Italian soccer player Andrea Pirlo is lifted up at the end of his farewell soccer match at the San Siro stadium in Milan
Former Italian soccer player Andrea Pirlo is lifted up at the end of his farewell soccer match at the San Siro stadium in Milan, Italy, May 21, 2018. REUTERS/Daniele Mascolo TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Former Italian soccer player Andrea Pirlo waves next to his son Niccolo at the end of his farewell soccer match at the San Siro stadium in Milan, Italy, May 21, 2018. REUTERS/Daniele Mascolo
Former Italian soccer player Andrea Pirlo waves next to his son Niccolo at the end of his farewell soccer match at the San Siro stadium in Milan
Former Italian soccer player Andrea Pirlo waves next to his son Niccolo at the end of his farewell soccer match at the San Siro stadium in Milan, Italy, May 21, 2018. REUTERS/Daniele Mascolo
Former Italian soccer player Andrea Pirlo is lifted up at the end of his farewell soccer match at the San Siro stadium in Milan, Italy, May 21, 2018. REUTERS/Daniele Mascolo
Former Italian soccer player Andrea Pirlo is lifted up at the end of his farewell soccer match at the San Siro stadium in Milan
Former Italian soccer player Andrea Pirlo is lifted up at the end of his farewell soccer match at the San Siro stadium in Milan, Italy, May 21, 2018. REUTERS/Daniele Mascolo
Former AS Roma player Francesco Totti waves during Andrea Pirlo's farewell soccer match at the San Siro stadium in Milan, Italy, May 21, 2018. REUTERS/Daniele Mascolo
Former AS Roma player Francesco Totti waves during Andrea Pirlo's farewell soccer match at the San Siro stadium in Milan
Former AS Roma player Francesco Totti waves during Andrea Pirlo's farewell soccer match at the San Siro stadium in Milan, Italy, May 21, 2018. REUTERS/Daniele Mascolo
Former Italian soccer player Andrea Pirlo waves during his farewell soccer match at the San Siro stadium in Milan, Italy, May 21, 2018. REUTERS/Daniele Mascolo
Former Italian soccer player Andrea Pirlo waves during his farewell soccer match at the San Siro stadium in Milan
Former Italian soccer player Andrea Pirlo waves during his farewell soccer match at the San Siro stadium in Milan, Italy, May 21, 2018. REUTERS/Daniele Mascolo
Former AS Roma player Francesco Totti in action during Andrea Pirlo's farewell soccer match at the San Siro stadium in Milan, Italy, May 21, 2018. REUTERS/Daniele Mascolo
Former AS Roma player Francesco Totti in action during Andrea Pirlo's farewell soccer match at the San Siro stadium in Milan
Former AS Roma player Francesco Totti in action during Andrea Pirlo's farewell soccer match at the San Siro stadium in Milan, Italy, May 21, 2018. REUTERS/Daniele Mascolo
Former Italian soccer player Andrea Pirlo looks on during his farewell soccer match at the San Siro stadium in Milan, Italy, May 21, 2018. REUTERS/Daniele Mascolo
Former Italian soccer player Andrea Pirlo looks on during his farewell soccer match at the San Siro stadium in Milan
Former Italian soccer player Andrea Pirlo looks on during his farewell soccer match at the San Siro stadium in Milan, Italy, May 21, 2018. REUTERS/Daniele Mascolo
Former AC Milan player Andriy Shevchenko celebrates with Antonio Cassano during Andrea Pirlo's farewell soccer match at the San Siro stadium in Milan, Italy, May 21, 2018. REUTERS/Daniele Mascolo
Former AC Milan player Andriy Shevchenko celebrates with Antonio Cassano during Andrea Pirlo's farewell soccer match at the San Siro stadium in Milan
Former AC Milan player Andriy Shevchenko celebrates with Antonio Cassano during Andrea Pirlo's farewell soccer match at the San Siro stadium in Milan, Italy, May 21, 2018. REUTERS/Daniele Mascolo
90min & Toyo Tires have travelled the world to see how the most passionate superfans experience a football matchday. Visiting Gamba Osaka, Leicester City & AC Milan, our superfans each took turns showcasing the typical delights of a matchday. From the pre-match food and cultural landmarks to fan passions and rituals, the 'Superfan Relay' explored the ways in which, despite the huge cultural differences between these clubs, all football fans share one common love; the beautiful game!...
Superfan Relay: How The Most Passionate Fans Experience Matchdays Around The World
90min & Toyo Tires have travelled the world to see how the most passionate superfans experience a football matchday. Visiting Gamba Osaka, Leicester City & AC Milan, our superfans each took turns showcasing the typical delights of a matchday. From the pre-match food and cultural landmarks to fan passions and rituals, the 'Superfan Relay' explored the ways in which, despite the huge cultural differences between these clubs, all football fans share one common love; the beautiful game!...
90min & Toyo Tires have travelled the world to see how the most passionate superfans experience a football matchday. Visiting Gamba Osaka, Leicester City & AC Milan, our superfans each took turns showcasing the typical delights of a matchday. From the pre-match food and cultural landmarks to fan passions and rituals, the 'Superfan Relay' explored the ways in which, despite the huge cultural differences between these clubs, all football fans share one common love; the beautiful game!...
Superfan Relay: How The Most Passionate Fans Experience Matchdays Around The World
90min & Toyo Tires have travelled the world to see how the most passionate superfans experience a football matchday. Visiting Gamba Osaka, Leicester City & AC Milan, our superfans each took turns showcasing the typical delights of a matchday. From the pre-match food and cultural landmarks to fan passions and rituals, the 'Superfan Relay' explored the ways in which, despite the huge cultural differences between these clubs, all football fans share one common love; the beautiful game!...
90min & Toyo Tires have travelled the world to see how the most passionate superfans experience a football matchday. Visiting Gamba Osaka, Leicester City & AC Milan, our superfans each took turns showcasing the typical delights of a matchday. From the pre-match food and cultural landmarks to fan passions and rituals, the 'Superfan Relay' explored the ways in which, despite the huge cultural differences between these clubs, all football fans share one common love; the beautiful game!...
Superfan Relay: How The Most Passionate Fans Experience Matchdays Around The World
90min & Toyo Tires have travelled the world to see how the most passionate superfans experience a football matchday. Visiting Gamba Osaka, Leicester City & AC Milan, our superfans each took turns showcasing the typical delights of a matchday. From the pre-match food and cultural landmarks to fan passions and rituals, the 'Superfan Relay' explored the ways in which, despite the huge cultural differences between these clubs, all football fans share one common love; the beautiful game!...
90min & Toyo Tires have travelled the world to see how the most passionate superfans experience a football matchday. Visiting Gamba Osaka, Leicester City & AC Milan, our superfans each took turns showcasing the typical delights of a matchday. From the pre-match food and cultural landmarks to fan passions and rituals, the 'Superfan Relay' explored the ways in which, despite the huge cultural differences between these clubs, all football fans share one common love; the beautiful game!...
Superfan Relay: How The Most Passionate Fans Experience Matchdays Around The World
90min & Toyo Tires have travelled the world to see how the most passionate superfans experience a football matchday. Visiting Gamba Osaka, Leicester City & AC Milan, our superfans each took turns showcasing the typical delights of a matchday. From the pre-match food and cultural landmarks to fan passions and rituals, the 'Superfan Relay' explored the ways in which, despite the huge cultural differences between these clubs, all football fans share one common love; the beautiful game!...
The 21-year-old featured in every league game but one in his first season at the San Siro Stadium
Franck Kessie reveals secret behind regular playing time at AC Milan
The 21-year-old featured in every league game but one in his first season at the San Siro Stadium
The 21-year-old featured in every league game but one in his first season at the San Siro Stadium
Franck Kessie reveals secret behind regular playing time at AC Milan
The 21-year-old featured in every league game but one in his first season at the San Siro Stadium
The 21-year-old featured in every league game but one in his first season at the San Siro Stadium
Franck Kessie reveals secret behind regular playing time at AC Milan
The 21-year-old featured in every league game but one in his first season at the San Siro Stadium
The striker is back in the Italy squad following a return to form this season and has been linked with a move back to Serie A
Zaza happy at Valencia following AC Milan speculation
The striker is back in the Italy squad following a return to form this season and has been linked with a move back to Serie A
Paul Pogba has added to the uncertainty over his future by refusing to rule out a move from Manchester United this summer as Alexis Sanchez admitted he has struggled to adapt to Jose Mourinho’s style of play. Pogba and Sanchez have become a symbol for United’s struggles during a troubling second half of the season in which the club finished without a trophy, Mourinho has clashed with or frozen out a number of players and concerns have grown about the brand of football. Mourinho said earlier this month that he thought Pogba would stay beyond the summer but the France midfielder did little to dispel the doubts over his future when he offered no assurances in an interview that he will still be a United player next season. “You’re never sure of anything,” he told Canal+, the French television station, on Sunday. “Contractually, it’s on, yes.” Pogba delivered another below par performance in United’s FA Cup final defeat to Chelsea at Wembley on Saturday and his relationship with manager Mourinho has become strained in recent months. Mourinho and Pogba's relationship has become strained Credit: Reuters He has been dropped from squads, left out of the starting XI and substituted in a series of games since the turn of the year as his form has plummeted and there have been reports that Mourinho would be willing to cash in on his club record £89 million signing if the right offer came along. Paris St-Germain are monitoring Pogba but the midfielder suggested it was unlikely he would countenance a move to the French champions. Ruling out PSG would limit Pogba’s options, though, since few clubs could afford his transfer fee and wages. “Walking on the Parc des Princes? With a club, no, for sure,” Pogba said. “Honestly, it doesn’t appeal to me. I grew up here, my father supported Marseille and so did my mum. Paris wasn’t really in my daily life.” Pogba said there were “mental” issues for him to deal with at United as he addressed his relationship with Mourinho. “There were times when I wasn't playing. I was on the bench. Much has been spoken about,” he said. “People thought it was wrong but a coach and player don’t have to be best friends. One is not forced to go to the restaurant together. I had some problems – it’s mental. “He put me on the bench, I answered on the pitch, I give my maximum every time. It made me grow in leadership. “I had the armband with Mourinho, it was the first time in a club. It’s important to me, it makes me grow up to be as a leader in the France team.” Sanchez’s dismal form since his move from Arsenal in a swap deal with Henrikh Mkhitaryan has been no less of a concern for United supporters. The Chile forward, who has scored three goals in 18 games for United, said in March that he had been left “psychologically and emotionally exhausted” by his early struggles at Old Trafford and he has now admitted he is finding it hard to adapt. United have been criticised for their functional, pedestrian football. Hit or miss? | Mourinho's United signings “I think that in every game I've played in I’ve maybe found it hard to adapt to the style of play and I’ve been getting to know my team-mates,” Sanchez told the official Cup final programme. “I believe we need to improve in all aspects. “We need to be focused and concentrated in the big games and the same in the so-called lesser games too. That’s what the great sides do and I think United are a great side, so that's what we need to do.” Sanchez was completely overshadowed by Chelsea’s Eden Hazard at Wembley and Paul Scholes, the former United midfielder, said the Chilean had to start offering a lot more. “His performances, well they have to improve,” he said. “They can’t get any worse to be honest with you. I think the next few games of next season are vital to him, he needs to get fans believing again and believing they are going to get close to City. They need a big player.” Meanwhile, AC Milan are increasingly optimistic about their prospects of signing Marouane Fellaini, who is out of contract at United next month.
Paul Pogba refuses to rule out leaving Man Utd this summer as Alexis Sanchez admits he's struggling
Paul Pogba has added to the uncertainty over his future by refusing to rule out a move from Manchester United this summer as Alexis Sanchez admitted he has struggled to adapt to Jose Mourinho’s style of play. Pogba and Sanchez have become a symbol for United’s struggles during a troubling second half of the season in which the club finished without a trophy, Mourinho has clashed with or frozen out a number of players and concerns have grown about the brand of football. Mourinho said earlier this month that he thought Pogba would stay beyond the summer but the France midfielder did little to dispel the doubts over his future when he offered no assurances in an interview that he will still be a United player next season. “You’re never sure of anything,” he told Canal+, the French television station, on Sunday. “Contractually, it’s on, yes.” Pogba delivered another below par performance in United’s FA Cup final defeat to Chelsea at Wembley on Saturday and his relationship with manager Mourinho has become strained in recent months. Mourinho and Pogba's relationship has become strained Credit: Reuters He has been dropped from squads, left out of the starting XI and substituted in a series of games since the turn of the year as his form has plummeted and there have been reports that Mourinho would be willing to cash in on his club record £89 million signing if the right offer came along. Paris St-Germain are monitoring Pogba but the midfielder suggested it was unlikely he would countenance a move to the French champions. Ruling out PSG would limit Pogba’s options, though, since few clubs could afford his transfer fee and wages. “Walking on the Parc des Princes? With a club, no, for sure,” Pogba said. “Honestly, it doesn’t appeal to me. I grew up here, my father supported Marseille and so did my mum. Paris wasn’t really in my daily life.” Pogba said there were “mental” issues for him to deal with at United as he addressed his relationship with Mourinho. “There were times when I wasn't playing. I was on the bench. Much has been spoken about,” he said. “People thought it was wrong but a coach and player don’t have to be best friends. One is not forced to go to the restaurant together. I had some problems – it’s mental. “He put me on the bench, I answered on the pitch, I give my maximum every time. It made me grow in leadership. “I had the armband with Mourinho, it was the first time in a club. It’s important to me, it makes me grow up to be as a leader in the France team.” Sanchez’s dismal form since his move from Arsenal in a swap deal with Henrikh Mkhitaryan has been no less of a concern for United supporters. The Chile forward, who has scored three goals in 18 games for United, said in March that he had been left “psychologically and emotionally exhausted” by his early struggles at Old Trafford and he has now admitted he is finding it hard to adapt. United have been criticised for their functional, pedestrian football. Hit or miss? | Mourinho's United signings “I think that in every game I've played in I’ve maybe found it hard to adapt to the style of play and I’ve been getting to know my team-mates,” Sanchez told the official Cup final programme. “I believe we need to improve in all aspects. “We need to be focused and concentrated in the big games and the same in the so-called lesser games too. That’s what the great sides do and I think United are a great side, so that's what we need to do.” Sanchez was completely overshadowed by Chelsea’s Eden Hazard at Wembley and Paul Scholes, the former United midfielder, said the Chilean had to start offering a lot more. “His performances, well they have to improve,” he said. “They can’t get any worse to be honest with you. I think the next few games of next season are vital to him, he needs to get fans believing again and believing they are going to get close to City. They need a big player.” Meanwhile, AC Milan are increasingly optimistic about their prospects of signing Marouane Fellaini, who is out of contract at United next month.
Paul Pogba has added to the uncertainty over his future by refusing to rule out a move from Manchester United this summer as Alexis Sanchez admitted he has struggled to adapt to Jose Mourinho’s style of play. Pogba and Sanchez have become a symbol for United’s struggles during a troubling second half of the season in which the club finished without a trophy, Mourinho has clashed with or frozen out a number of players and concerns have grown about the brand of football. Mourinho said earlier this month that he thought Pogba would stay beyond the summer but the France midfielder did little to dispel the doubts over his future when he offered no assurances in an interview that he will still be a United player next season. “You’re never sure of anything,” he told Canal+, the French television station, on Sunday. “Contractually, it’s on, yes.” Pogba delivered another below par performance in United’s FA Cup final defeat to Chelsea at Wembley on Saturday and his relationship with manager Mourinho has become strained in recent months. Mourinho and Pogba's relationship has become strained Credit: Reuters He has been dropped from squads, left out of the starting XI and substituted in a series of games since the turn of the year as his form has plummeted and there have been reports that Mourinho would be willing to cash in on his club record £89 million signing if the right offer came along. Paris St-Germain are monitoring Pogba but the midfielder suggested it was unlikely he would countenance a move to the French champions. Ruling out PSG would limit Pogba’s options, though, since few clubs could afford his transfer fee and wages. “Walking on the Parc des Princes? With a club, no, for sure,” Pogba said. “Honestly, it doesn’t appeal to me. I grew up here, my father supported Marseille and so did my mum. Paris wasn’t really in my daily life.” Pogba said there were “mental” issues for him to deal with at United as he addressed his relationship with Mourinho. “There were times when I wasn't playing. I was on the bench. Much has been spoken about,” he said. “People thought it was wrong but a coach and player don’t have to be best friends. One is not forced to go to the restaurant together. I had some problems – it’s mental. “He put me on the bench, I answered on the pitch, I give my maximum every time. It made me grow in leadership. “I had the armband with Mourinho, it was the first time in a club. It’s important to me, it makes me grow up to be as a leader in the France team.” Sanchez’s dismal form since his move from Arsenal in a swap deal with Henrikh Mkhitaryan has been no less of a concern for United supporters. The Chile forward, who has scored three goals in 18 games for United, said in March that he had been left “psychologically and emotionally exhausted” by his early struggles at Old Trafford and he has now admitted he is finding it hard to adapt. United have been criticised for their functional, pedestrian football. Hit or miss? | Mourinho's United signings “I think that in every game I've played in I’ve maybe found it hard to adapt to the style of play and I’ve been getting to know my team-mates,” Sanchez told the official Cup final programme. “I believe we need to improve in all aspects. “We need to be focused and concentrated in the big games and the same in the so-called lesser games too. That’s what the great sides do and I think United are a great side, so that's what we need to do.” Sanchez was completely overshadowed by Chelsea’s Eden Hazard at Wembley and Paul Scholes, the former United midfielder, said the Chilean had to start offering a lot more. “His performances, well they have to improve,” he said. “They can’t get any worse to be honest with you. I think the next few games of next season are vital to him, he needs to get fans believing again and believing they are going to get close to City. They need a big player.” Meanwhile, AC Milan are increasingly optimistic about their prospects of signing Marouane Fellaini, who is out of contract at United next month.
Paul Pogba refuses to rule out leaving Man Utd this summer as Alexis Sanchez admits he's struggling
Paul Pogba has added to the uncertainty over his future by refusing to rule out a move from Manchester United this summer as Alexis Sanchez admitted he has struggled to adapt to Jose Mourinho’s style of play. Pogba and Sanchez have become a symbol for United’s struggles during a troubling second half of the season in which the club finished without a trophy, Mourinho has clashed with or frozen out a number of players and concerns have grown about the brand of football. Mourinho said earlier this month that he thought Pogba would stay beyond the summer but the France midfielder did little to dispel the doubts over his future when he offered no assurances in an interview that he will still be a United player next season. “You’re never sure of anything,” he told Canal+, the French television station, on Sunday. “Contractually, it’s on, yes.” Pogba delivered another below par performance in United’s FA Cup final defeat to Chelsea at Wembley on Saturday and his relationship with manager Mourinho has become strained in recent months. Mourinho and Pogba's relationship has become strained Credit: Reuters He has been dropped from squads, left out of the starting XI and substituted in a series of games since the turn of the year as his form has plummeted and there have been reports that Mourinho would be willing to cash in on his club record £89 million signing if the right offer came along. Paris St-Germain are monitoring Pogba but the midfielder suggested it was unlikely he would countenance a move to the French champions. Ruling out PSG would limit Pogba’s options, though, since few clubs could afford his transfer fee and wages. “Walking on the Parc des Princes? With a club, no, for sure,” Pogba said. “Honestly, it doesn’t appeal to me. I grew up here, my father supported Marseille and so did my mum. Paris wasn’t really in my daily life.” Pogba said there were “mental” issues for him to deal with at United as he addressed his relationship with Mourinho. “There were times when I wasn't playing. I was on the bench. Much has been spoken about,” he said. “People thought it was wrong but a coach and player don’t have to be best friends. One is not forced to go to the restaurant together. I had some problems – it’s mental. “He put me on the bench, I answered on the pitch, I give my maximum every time. It made me grow in leadership. “I had the armband with Mourinho, it was the first time in a club. It’s important to me, it makes me grow up to be as a leader in the France team.” Sanchez’s dismal form since his move from Arsenal in a swap deal with Henrikh Mkhitaryan has been no less of a concern for United supporters. The Chile forward, who has scored three goals in 18 games for United, said in March that he had been left “psychologically and emotionally exhausted” by his early struggles at Old Trafford and he has now admitted he is finding it hard to adapt. United have been criticised for their functional, pedestrian football. Hit or miss? | Mourinho's United signings “I think that in every game I've played in I’ve maybe found it hard to adapt to the style of play and I’ve been getting to know my team-mates,” Sanchez told the official Cup final programme. “I believe we need to improve in all aspects. “We need to be focused and concentrated in the big games and the same in the so-called lesser games too. That’s what the great sides do and I think United are a great side, so that's what we need to do.” Sanchez was completely overshadowed by Chelsea’s Eden Hazard at Wembley and Paul Scholes, the former United midfielder, said the Chilean had to start offering a lot more. “His performances, well they have to improve,” he said. “They can’t get any worse to be honest with you. I think the next few games of next season are vital to him, he needs to get fans believing again and believing they are going to get close to City. They need a big player.” Meanwhile, AC Milan are increasingly optimistic about their prospects of signing Marouane Fellaini, who is out of contract at United next month.
'Marouane Fellaini won't renew at Manchester United' - AC Milan chase Belgium star on free transfer
'Marouane Fellaini won't renew at Manchester United' - AC Milan chase Belgium star on free transfer
'Marouane Fellaini won't renew at Manchester United' - AC Milan chase Belgium star on free transfer
Jose Mourinho claimed that he expected the Belgian to stay on at Old Trafford, but a summer switch to Serie A could seemingly be on the cards
'Fellaini won't renew at Man Utd' - AC Milan director points towards transfer
Jose Mourinho claimed that he expected the Belgian to stay on at Old Trafford, but a summer switch to Serie A could seemingly be on the cards
Jose Mourinho claimed that he expected the Belgian to stay on at Old Trafford, but a summer switch to Serie A could seemingly be on the cards
'Fellaini won't renew at Man Utd' - AC Milan director points towards transfer
Jose Mourinho claimed that he expected the Belgian to stay on at Old Trafford, but a summer switch to Serie A could seemingly be on the cards
Marouane Fellaini's Manchester United contract expires in June and AC Milan are seemingly trying to sign the 30-year-old.
We know Fellaini's not going to renew with United – Mirabelli suggests Milan move
Marouane Fellaini's Manchester United contract expires in June and AC Milan are seemingly trying to sign the 30-year-old.
Gennaro Gattuso praised his players after their 5-1 win over Fiorentina but called for "a bit of malice" about them next season.
Gattuso calls for more malice at Milan
Gennaro Gattuso praised his players after their 5-1 win over Fiorentina but called for "a bit of malice" about them next season.
Milan's Nikola Kalinic (L) jubilates with his teammates Patrick Cutrone (C) and Hakan Calhanoglu after scoring a goal during the Italian Serie A soccer match AC Milan vs ACF Fiorentina at Giuseppe Meazza stadium in Milan, Italy. EFE/EPA
Milan's Nikola Kalinic (L) jubilates with his teammates Patrick Cutrone (C) and Hakan Calhanoglu after scoring a goal during the Italian Serie A soccer match AC Milan vs ACF Fiorentina at Giuseppe Meazza stadium in Milan, Italy. EFE/EPA
Milan's Nikola Kalinic (L) jubilates with his teammates Patrick Cutrone (C) and Hakan Calhanoglu after scoring a goal during the Italian Serie A soccer match AC Milan vs ACF Fiorentina at Giuseppe Meazza stadium in Milan, Italy. EFE/EPA
Milan (Italy), 20/05/2018.- Milan's players celebrate the victory at the end of the Italian Serie A soccer match AC Milan vs ACF Fiorentina at Giuseppe Meazza stadium in Milan, Italy, 20 May 2018. (Italia) EFE/EPA/MATTEO BAZZI
Milan (Italy), 20/05/2018.- Milan's players celebrate the victory at the end of the Italian Serie A soccer match AC Milan vs ACF Fiorentina at Giuseppe Meazza stadium in Milan, Italy, 20 May 2018. (Italia) EFE/EPA/MATTEO BAZZI
Milan (Italy), 20/05/2018.- Milan's players celebrate the victory at the end of the Italian Serie A soccer match AC Milan vs ACF Fiorentina at Giuseppe Meazza stadium in Milan, Italy, 20 May 2018. (Italia) EFE/EPA/MATTEO BAZZI
Milan (Italy), 20/05/2018.- Milan's Hakan Calhanoglu (L) and Fiorentina's Bruno Gaspar in action during the Italian Serie A soccer match AC Milan vs ACF Fiorentina at Giuseppe Meazza stadium in Milan, Italy, 20 May 2018. (Italia) EFE/EPA/MATTEO BAZZI
Milan (Italy), 20/05/2018.- Milan's Hakan Calhanoglu (L) and Fiorentina's Bruno Gaspar in action during the Italian Serie A soccer match AC Milan vs ACF Fiorentina at Giuseppe Meazza stadium in Milan, Italy, 20 May 2018. (Italia) EFE/EPA/MATTEO BAZZI
Milan (Italy), 20/05/2018.- Milan's Hakan Calhanoglu (L) and Fiorentina's Bruno Gaspar in action during the Italian Serie A soccer match AC Milan vs ACF Fiorentina at Giuseppe Meazza stadium in Milan, Italy, 20 May 2018. (Italia) EFE/EPA/MATTEO BAZZI
Patrick Cutrone scored twice to help AC Milan sweep aside Fiorentina and seal sixth spot in Serie A.
AC Milan 5 Fiorentina 1: Cutrone brace secures Europa League group stage spot
Patrick Cutrone scored twice to help AC Milan sweep aside Fiorentina and seal sixth spot in Serie A.
Milan (Italy), 20/05/2018.- Milan's Giacomo Bonaventura jubilates after scoring a goal during the Italian Serie A soccer match AC Milan vs ACF Fiorentina at Giuseppe Meazza stadium in Milan, Italy, 20 May 2018. (Italia) EFE/EPA/MATTEO BAZZI
Milan (Italy), 20/05/2018.- Milan's Giacomo Bonaventura jubilates after scoring a goal during the Italian Serie A soccer match AC Milan vs ACF Fiorentina at Giuseppe Meazza stadium in Milan, Italy, 20 May 2018. (Italia) EFE/EPA/MATTEO BAZZI
Milan (Italy), 20/05/2018.- Milan's Giacomo Bonaventura jubilates after scoring a goal during the Italian Serie A soccer match AC Milan vs ACF Fiorentina at Giuseppe Meazza stadium in Milan, Italy, 20 May 2018. (Italia) EFE/EPA/MATTEO BAZZI
Milan (Italy), 20/05/2018.- Milan's Giacomo Bonaventura jubilates after scoring a goal during the Italian Serie A soccer match AC Milan vs ACF Fiorentina at Giuseppe Meazza stadium in Milan, Italy, 20 May 2018. (Italia) EFE/EPA/MATTEO BAZZI
Milan (Italy), 20/05/2018.- Milan's Giacomo Bonaventura jubilates after scoring a goal during the Italian Serie A soccer match AC Milan vs ACF Fiorentina at Giuseppe Meazza stadium in Milan, Italy, 20 May 2018. (Italia) EFE/EPA/MATTEO BAZZI
Milan (Italy), 20/05/2018.- Milan's Giacomo Bonaventura jubilates after scoring a goal during the Italian Serie A soccer match AC Milan vs ACF Fiorentina at Giuseppe Meazza stadium in Milan, Italy, 20 May 2018. (Italia) EFE/EPA/MATTEO BAZZI
Milan (Italy), 20/05/2018.- Milan's Patrick Cutrone jubilates after scoring the goal during the Italian Serie A soccer match AC Milan vs ACF Fiorentina at Giuseppe Meazza stadium in Milan, Italy, 20 May 2018. (Italia) EFE/EPA/MATTEO BAZZI
Milan (Italy), 20/05/2018.- Milan's Patrick Cutrone jubilates after scoring the goal during the Italian Serie A soccer match AC Milan vs ACF Fiorentina at Giuseppe Meazza stadium in Milan, Italy, 20 May 2018. (Italia) EFE/EPA/MATTEO BAZZI
Milan (Italy), 20/05/2018.- Milan's Patrick Cutrone jubilates after scoring the goal during the Italian Serie A soccer match AC Milan vs ACF Fiorentina at Giuseppe Meazza stadium in Milan, Italy, 20 May 2018. (Italia) EFE/EPA/MATTEO BAZZI
Milan (Italy), 20/05/2018.- Milan's Nikola Kalinic (C) jubilates after scoring a goal during the Italian Serie A soccer match AC Milan vs ACF Fiorentina at Giuseppe Meazza stadium in Milan, Italy, 20 May 2018. (Italia) EFE/EPA/MATTEO BAZZI
Milan (Italy), 20/05/2018.- Milan's Nikola Kalinic (C) jubilates after scoring a goal during the Italian Serie A soccer match AC Milan vs ACF Fiorentina at Giuseppe Meazza stadium in Milan, Italy, 20 May 2018. (Italia) EFE/EPA/MATTEO BAZZI
Milan (Italy), 20/05/2018.- Milan's Nikola Kalinic (C) jubilates after scoring a goal during the Italian Serie A soccer match AC Milan vs ACF Fiorentina at Giuseppe Meazza stadium in Milan, Italy, 20 May 2018. (Italia) EFE/EPA/MATTEO BAZZI
Milan (Italy), 20/05/2018.- Milan's Nikola Kalinic (L) jubilates with his teammates Patrick Cutrone (C) and Hakan Calhanoglu after scoring a goal during the Italian Serie A soccer match AC Milan vs ACF Fiorentina at Giuseppe Meazza stadium in Milan, Italy, 20 May 2018. (Italia) EFE/EPA/MATTEO BAZZI
Milan (Italy), 20/05/2018.- Milan's Nikola Kalinic (L) jubilates with his teammates Patrick Cutrone (C) and Hakan Calhanoglu after scoring a goal during the Italian Serie A soccer match AC Milan vs ACF Fiorentina at Giuseppe Meazza stadium in Milan, Italy, 20 May 2018. (Italia) EFE/EPA/MATTEO BAZZI
Milan (Italy), 20/05/2018.- Milan's Nikola Kalinic (L) jubilates with his teammates Patrick Cutrone (C) and Hakan Calhanoglu after scoring a goal during the Italian Serie A soccer match AC Milan vs ACF Fiorentina at Giuseppe Meazza stadium in Milan, Italy, 20 May 2018. (Italia) EFE/EPA/MATTEO BAZZI
Milan (Italy), 20/05/2018.- Milan's Nikola Kalinic (L) jubilates with his teammate Patrick Cutrone after scoring a goal during the Italian Serie A soccer match AC Milan vs ACF Fiorentina at Giuseppe Meazza stadium in Milan, Italy, 20 May 2018. (Italia) EFE/EPA/MATTEO BAZZI
Milan (Italy), 20/05/2018.- Milan's Nikola Kalinic (L) jubilates with his teammate Patrick Cutrone after scoring a goal during the Italian Serie A soccer match AC Milan vs ACF Fiorentina at Giuseppe Meazza stadium in Milan, Italy, 20 May 2018. (Italia) EFE/EPA/MATTEO BAZZI
Milan (Italy), 20/05/2018.- Milan's Nikola Kalinic (L) jubilates with his teammate Patrick Cutrone after scoring a goal during the Italian Serie A soccer match AC Milan vs ACF Fiorentina at Giuseppe Meazza stadium in Milan, Italy, 20 May 2018. (Italia) EFE/EPA/MATTEO BAZZI
Milan (Italy), 20/05/2018.- Milan's Nikola Kalinic (C) scores a goal during the Italian Serie A soccer match AC Milan vs ACF Fiorentina at Giuseppe Meazza stadium in Milan, Italy, 20 May 2018. (Italia) EFE/EPA/MATTEO BAZZI
Milan (Italy), 20/05/2018.- Milan's Nikola Kalinic (C) scores a goal during the Italian Serie A soccer match AC Milan vs ACF Fiorentina at Giuseppe Meazza stadium in Milan, Italy, 20 May 2018. (Italia) EFE/EPA/MATTEO BAZZI
Milan (Italy), 20/05/2018.- Milan's Nikola Kalinic (C) scores a goal during the Italian Serie A soccer match AC Milan vs ACF Fiorentina at Giuseppe Meazza stadium in Milan, Italy, 20 May 2018. (Italia) EFE/EPA/MATTEO BAZZI
Milan (Italy), 20/05/2018.- Milan's Patrick Cutrone jubilates after scoring the goal during the Italian Serie A soccer match AC Milan vs ACF Fiorentina at Giuseppe Meazza stadium in Milan, Italy, 20 May 2018. (Italia) EFE/EPA/MATTEO BAZZI
Milan (Italy), 20/05/2018.- Milan's Patrick Cutrone jubilates after scoring the goal during the Italian Serie A soccer match AC Milan vs ACF Fiorentina at Giuseppe Meazza stadium in Milan, Italy, 20 May 2018. (Italia) EFE/EPA/MATTEO BAZZI
Milan (Italy), 20/05/2018.- Milan's Patrick Cutrone jubilates after scoring the goal during the Italian Serie A soccer match AC Milan vs ACF Fiorentina at Giuseppe Meazza stadium in Milan, Italy, 20 May 2018. (Italia) EFE/EPA/MATTEO BAZZI
Milan (Italy), 20/05/2018.- Milan's Patrick Cutrone (R) jubilates with his teammate Leonardo Bonucci after scoring the goal during the Italian Serie A soccer match AC Milan vs ACF Fiorentina at Giuseppe Meazza stadium in Milan, Italy, 20 May 2018. (Italia) EFE/EPA/MATTEO BAZZI
Milan (Italy), 20/05/2018.- Milan's Patrick Cutrone (R) jubilates with his teammate Leonardo Bonucci after scoring the goal during the Italian Serie A soccer match AC Milan vs ACF Fiorentina at Giuseppe Meazza stadium in Milan, Italy, 20 May 2018. (Italia) EFE/EPA/MATTEO BAZZI
Milan (Italy), 20/05/2018.- Milan's Patrick Cutrone (R) jubilates with his teammate Leonardo Bonucci after scoring the goal during the Italian Serie A soccer match AC Milan vs ACF Fiorentina at Giuseppe Meazza stadium in Milan, Italy, 20 May 2018. (Italia) EFE/EPA/MATTEO BAZZI
Milan (Italy), 20/05/2018.- Milan's Patrick Cutrone (L) jubilates after scoring the goal during the Italian Serie A soccer match AC Milan vs ACF Fiorentina at Giuseppe Meazza stadium in Milan, Italy, 20 May 2018. (Italia) EFE/EPA/MATTEO BAZZI
Milan (Italy), 20/05/2018.- Milan's Patrick Cutrone (L) jubilates after scoring the goal during the Italian Serie A soccer match AC Milan vs ACF Fiorentina at Giuseppe Meazza stadium in Milan, Italy, 20 May 2018. (Italia) EFE/EPA/MATTEO BAZZI
Milan (Italy), 20/05/2018.- Milan's Patrick Cutrone (L) jubilates after scoring the goal during the Italian Serie A soccer match AC Milan vs ACF Fiorentina at Giuseppe Meazza stadium in Milan, Italy, 20 May 2018. (Italia) EFE/EPA/MATTEO BAZZI
Milan (Italy), 20/05/2018.- Fiorentina's Giovanni Simeone jubilates after scoring a goal during the Italian Serie A soccer match AC Milan vs ACF Fiorentina at Giuseppe Meazza stadium in Milan, Italy, 20 May 2018. (Italia) EFE/EPA/MATTEO BAZZI
Milan (Italy), 20/05/2018.- Fiorentina's Giovanni Simeone jubilates after scoring a goal during the Italian Serie A soccer match AC Milan vs ACF Fiorentina at Giuseppe Meazza stadium in Milan, Italy, 20 May 2018. (Italia) EFE/EPA/MATTEO BAZZI
Milan (Italy), 20/05/2018.- Fiorentina's Giovanni Simeone jubilates after scoring a goal during the Italian Serie A soccer match AC Milan vs ACF Fiorentina at Giuseppe Meazza stadium in Milan, Italy, 20 May 2018. (Italia) EFE/EPA/MATTEO BAZZI
Milan (Italy), 20/05/2018.- Fiorentina's Giovanni Simeone jubilates after scoring a goal during the Italian Serie A soccer match AC Milan vs ACF Fiorentina at Giuseppe Meazza stadium in Milan, Italy, 20 May 2018. (Italia) EFE/EPA/MATTEO BAZZI
Milan (Italy), 20/05/2018.- Fiorentina's Giovanni Simeone jubilates after scoring a goal during the Italian Serie A soccer match AC Milan vs ACF Fiorentina at Giuseppe Meazza stadium in Milan, Italy, 20 May 2018. (Italia) EFE/EPA/MATTEO BAZZI
Milan (Italy), 20/05/2018.- Fiorentina's Giovanni Simeone jubilates after scoring a goal during the Italian Serie A soccer match AC Milan vs ACF Fiorentina at Giuseppe Meazza stadium in Milan, Italy, 20 May 2018. (Italia) EFE/EPA/MATTEO BAZZI
Milan (Italy), 20/05/2018.- Fiorentina's Giovanni Simeone (L) scores a goal during the Italian Serie A soccer match AC Milan vs ACF Fiorentina at Giuseppe Meazza stadium in Milan, Italy, 20 May 2018. (Italia) EFE/EPA/MATTEO BAZZI
Milan (Italy), 20/05/2018.- Fiorentina's Giovanni Simeone (L) scores a goal during the Italian Serie A soccer match AC Milan vs ACF Fiorentina at Giuseppe Meazza stadium in Milan, Italy, 20 May 2018. (Italia) EFE/EPA/MATTEO BAZZI
Milan (Italy), 20/05/2018.- Fiorentina's Giovanni Simeone (L) scores a goal during the Italian Serie A soccer match AC Milan vs ACF Fiorentina at Giuseppe Meazza stadium in Milan, Italy, 20 May 2018. (Italia) EFE/EPA/MATTEO BAZZI
Milan (Italy), 20/05/2018.- Milan's Giacomo Bonaventura (L) and Fiorentina's Sebastian Cristoforo in action during the Italian Serie A soccer match AC Milan vs ACF Fiorentina at Giuseppe Meazza stadium in Milan, Italy, 20 May 2018. (Italia) EFE/EPA/MATTEO BAZZI
Milan (Italy), 20/05/2018.- Milan's Giacomo Bonaventura (L) and Fiorentina's Sebastian Cristoforo in action during the Italian Serie A soccer match AC Milan vs ACF Fiorentina at Giuseppe Meazza stadium in Milan, Italy, 20 May 2018. (Italia) EFE/EPA/MATTEO BAZZI
Milan (Italy), 20/05/2018.- Milan's Giacomo Bonaventura (L) and Fiorentina's Sebastian Cristoforo in action during the Italian Serie A soccer match AC Milan vs ACF Fiorentina at Giuseppe Meazza stadium in Milan, Italy, 20 May 2018. (Italia) EFE/EPA/MATTEO BAZZI
The legendary centre-back hopes the highly-rated goalkeeper can mend his relationship with the club as the summer transfer window approaches
Donnarumma disputes with AC Milan not good for anyone - Maldini
The legendary centre-back hopes the highly-rated goalkeeper can mend his relationship with the club as the summer transfer window approaches
The legendary centre-back hopes the highly-rated goalkeeper can mend his relationship with the club as the summer transfer window approaches
Donnarumma disputes with AC Milan not good for anyone - Maldini
The legendary centre-back hopes the highly-rated goalkeeper can mend his relationship with the club as the summer transfer window approaches

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