The final between Real Madrid and Atletico, which delivered to the Merengues the tenth, La decima, Champions League in their history will stay in the legend, just like some unforgettable finals of the most important European trophy. The Estadio Da Luz one, showed some features that distinguished other Champions League finals.
It was the last stage of 2003 Champions League, when Carlo Ancelotti was sitting in the AC Milan bench, ready to face Marcello Lippi’s Juventus. The final was played at the Old Trafford, the theatre of Dreams, especially for the Rossoneri supporters, eventually.
It was the first time that two Italian clubs find themselves fighting in the last stage of the Champions League. At the same time, the final in Lisbon has been the first one with two teams from the same city fighting for the trophy.
In 2003, before the Manchester final, Juventus and AC Milan have dominated Italian football, just like Real and Atletico have done in Spain, during this campaign.
Both sides have won a home trophy already. FC Juventus were Serie A champions, while AC Milan won the Coppa Italia.
Before the 2014 final, Atletico Madrid gained the La Liga title, while Carlo Ancelotti Real Madrid triumphed in the Spanish Cup, La Copa del Rey.
What do Pavel Nedved and Diego Costa have in common? The Check star played a brilliant season in 2003. Actually he delivered such amazing performances that a few months later he would have won the Balon d’Or.
Anyway, the Juventus star couldn’t play the Manchester final due to a ban, received during the semifinal against Real Madrid. Even if Juve was full of champions, the most fit and decisive player of that year was out for the most important game of the season.
At the same time, in 2014, Diego Costa, the Colchoneros most valuable player, started the match in Lisbon, but the result hasn’t defer too much from absence. Diego Simeone tried everything to have his striker back for the final, but Diego Costa had to give up just after 8 minutes from the kick off.
Winger Arda Turan was out too, making the presence/absence of Diego Costa even more heavy for Atletico.
The two finals itself were very similar. Two nervous teams, not may chances and lot of tactics distinguished both games.
What separate the two finals is that the Italian one finished goalless. Bianconeri and Rossoneri went through all the extra time, before finishing on the penalties, when the decisive shot by Andryi Shevchenko gift to Carlo Ancelotti his first Champions League of his managerial career.
Atletico’s relationship with finals is not as good. Last time they reached a Champions League (European cup, at that time) final was 40 years ago, against Bayern Munich. They lost in the same way they have done against Real, at the last shoot.
In 1974 the final was played at the Heysel Stadium, in Bruxelles. In those years, there were no penalties after the extra time. In case of a draw, the final had to be replayed.
Anyway, that was a risk that Atletico thought to have left behind, as Luis Aragones scored a free kick opener after 114 minutes, just six minutes far from the end of the match.
In front of nearly 50,000 spectators, the Colchoneros were ready to lift the second European Cup of their history, after the first one, conquered in the 60’s against Fiorentina. But something went wrong. Just like at the Estadio Da Luz.
The last ball of the game came in control by a big German central defender.
Hans-Georg Schwarzenbeck received the ball from a Franz Beckembauer throw in, targeting the Colchoneros goal, defended by Migel Reina. The Bayern Munich giant tried a desperate shoot from 30 yards, which is not even between a central defender most recognized skills.
Reina was too slow to take it and the Germans scored the equalizer. The replay took place two days later and there was no history. Two goals by Uli Hoeness and two more by Gerd Muller, gave the success to the Germans, fixing the result on 4-0.
Sergio Ramos is not as solid as Hans-Georg Schwarzenbeck was. The equalizer from the Real Madrid player came from a header, rather than from a 30 yards try, but the result is pretty much the same. There is always a central defender between Atletico Madrid and the European glory.