REAL HISTORY

The records broken in Real Madrid’s Champions League final victory

Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronald could become the first player to win 5 European championships.
Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronald could become the first player to win 5 European championships.
Image: AP Photo/Francisco Seco
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Update: Real Madrid beat Liverpool 3–1, making Cristiano Ronaldo the first man in the modern era to win five titles, and Real Madrid the first to win three consecutive trophies. Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane is now the first manager ever to win three consecutive European championships.

Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah became the first Egyptian to play in a Champions League final, but brought his countrymen to tears when coming off the field with a dislocated shoulder. 

There are fistfuls of records up for grabs when Real Madrid and Liverpool, two giants of European football, meet in a mouth-watering Champions League final in Kyiv today (May 26).

The majesty of Real Madrid

Footballing royalty Real Madrid have won the most European championships of any team, with 12 victories, going back to the very first in 1955-6—the first of five consecutive wins. They’re now aiming to be the first team to win three in-a-row since the tournament was rebranded as the Champions League in 1992.

Liverpool won their first European cup under legendary coach Bob Paisley in 1976-7—and again the following year. A win today would take them ahead of Bayern Munich and Barcelona, with six European victories. It would also take English clubs’ shared total of European wins to 13; above Italy’s 12. Spain leads that list with 17.

The brilliance of Cristiano Ronaldo and Mohamed Salah

Both teams’ star players have their eyes on individual records. Real’s Cristiano Ronaldo has the following in his sights:

  • He’s the only man to score in three Champions League finals (once for Manchester United in 2008, and twice for Real in 2014 and 2017). The Portuguese star can beat his own record with another one today.
  • If Ronaldo goes big and scores a hatrick, he would also top his own best result of 17 goals in a Champions League season in 2013-14. He currently has 15 for this season.
  • Finally, if Real win, Ronaldo would become the first player since the tournament rebranded to win five titles. He has had one with Manchester United and three with Real.

Diminutive striker Mohamed Salah, who has dominated for Liverpool this year with with 34 Premier League goals, would become the first Egyptian to win the Champions League. He is already the first player from his country to appear in the final.

Zinedine Zidane could seal his legacy

Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane is seeking to become the first manager ever to win three consecutive European championships. The French legend would take his fourth overall Champions League title, having won one as a player for Real in 2002. Since starting as Real manager in 2016, he hasn’t lost a Champions League knockout tie.

His opposite number Jurgen Klopp hasn’t been blessed with such fortune. The German has lost his last five major finals. He joined Liverpool in late 2015 but is yet to win a trophy. Zidane, meanwhile, has won two Champions Leagues and a La Liga title in the same period.

Klopp claims to be unfussed by Madrid being seen as favorites: ”I am pretty sure, in the second before the game, Real Madrid will be more confident than we are but the game doesn’t end in that second, it only starts,” he said ahead of the game.