Liverpool and Real Madrid contest the Champions League final in Paris
PARIS (AP) — Thousands of soccer fans descended on Paris to see Liverpool and Real Madrid meet in the Champions League final later Saturday.
There are milestones at stake at the Stade de France.
Carlo Ancelotti is looking to become the first manager to win European club football’s top prize four times, adding to his 2014 success in his first stint in charge of Madrid. The Italian’s first two triumphs came with AC Milan in 2003 and 2007.
Ancelotti has already won the Spanish title in his first season with Madrid, who beat Liverpool in the 2018 final led by Zinedine Zidane for a record 13th European Cup.
“We are very close to achieving something huge this season, and we will give everything to achieve it,” Ancelotti said. “We are very calm in the camp. This team handles the pressure of these games very well.
Liverpool became European champions for the sixth time by returning to the final in 2019. Since then, Jurgen Klopp has ended the team’s 30-year English Championship drought in 2020. While the Premier League has been missed from a single point last weekend, the season can end with a rare treble of trophies, having already won the FA Cup and the League Cup.
Liverpool’s journey through the knockout stage past Inter Milan, Benfica and Villarreal seemed relatively smooth. Madrid had to organize repeated returns.
He faced elimination in the round of 16 before two of Karim Benzema’s 15 European goals this season came backfired on Paris Saint-Germain. It took an equalizer with 10 minutes to go against Chelsea to stay in the quarter-finals before ousting the defending champions in extra time. Madrid came on in the 90th minute against Manchester City in the semi-final until Rodrygo was again the savior with two goals to cap another incredible comeback.
“If we’re at the top of our game, we’re tough to play, we’re really tough to play,” said Liverpool manager Jürgen Klopp. “So that’s my only concern at the moment. If we do this, let us be ourselves and also be really confident. But of course the confidence level of Madrid players is incredibly high and it’s important in football to be confident and confident and that kind of stuff.
For the third consecutive year, UEFA was forced to change the venue of the final. Not this time because of the pandemic, but Russia’s invasion of Ukraine which saw St. Petersburg stripped of its hosting rights.
As the war enters its fourth month, the word ‘peace’ will feature on the final match ball, which will later be auctioned off to raise money for the refugees.
“The war continues. . . and we have to think about it,” Klopp said. “Let’s see it like this, that the game is still going on and it’s not in St. Petersburg is maybe exactly the right message that Russia should be getting. Life goes on, even when you try to destroy it. We are playing this final for everyone, not only but also for all the Ukrainian people.
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