Paris Gears Up For 2022 UEFA Champions League Final
By Chidi Nwoke, Abuja.
The 2022 UEFA Champions League final between Spanish giants Real Madrid and England’s Liverpool is set to take place on Saturday, May 28th at the Stade de France in Paris with kick-off set for 8pm Nigerian time/UK time.
France has not hosted a UEFA Champions League final since 2006, when Barcelona beat Arsenal 2-1 at the Stade de France.
Liverpool secured another shot at silverware first by beating Villarreal 5-2 on aggregate in their semi-final showdown. Then, Real Madrid and Manchester City put on an all-time classic with the Spanish giants prevailing 6-5 on aggregate.
Liverpool’s injury problems appear to have eased after Thiago Alcantara returned to full first-team training. Fellow midfielder Fabinho is back in training, and should also be full fit to play.
“Mood is good, really excited. Looks good for both Thiago and Fab,” Liverpool boss Jürgen Klopp said. “Thiago trained yesterday with the team and today. Fabinho trained normally. We’ll go from there.”
Dutch defender Virgil van Dijk was rested for the last game of the season to maintain his fitness for the Champions League final in Paris.
Meanwhile Madrid have David Alaba back in training following an injury as he missed the 0-0 draw with Real Betis on Friday. Bale could also be handed a lifeline during his final game at the club in Paris.
Real Madrid are aiming to win the European Cup/UEFA Champions League for the 14th time, which would then be twice as many as any other team (7, AC Milan).
The Spanish giants have lifted the trophy on each of the last seven occasions when they have appeared in the final, with their last defeat coming against Liverpool back in 1981.
“It is the history of this club that helps us to keep going when it seems that we are gone,” Real Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti said.
The UEFA Champions League final in 1981 was also played in Paris.
Liverpool are looking to win the European Cup/UEFA Champions League for the seventh time in their history – a victory in Paris would take them level with AC Milan (7), and leave them only behind opponents Real Madrid (13) for the most overall victories across the two competitions.
Head To Head
Liverpool and Real Madrid will meet for the third time in the final of the European Cup/UEFA Champions League, the most between two clubs across the history of the two competitions.
Liverpool won the first final back in 1981 (1-0), before Real Madrid beat Jürgen Klopp’s side 3-1 in 2018.
Karim Benzema has scored 15 goals for Real Madrid in the UEFA Champions League this season, just two behind the all-time record in a single European Cup/UEFA Champions League campaign (17, Cristiano Ronaldo in 2013-14).