Two of the most successful sides in European Cup history, Liverpool and Real Madrid, meet in the final for the third time as the 2021/22 Uefa Champions League comes to a conclusion at Stade de France.
Madrid’s most recent triumph, and a third successive Uefa Champions League victory, came in Kyiv in 2018 at the expense of the English side, who had edged out their Spanish opponents in Paris in 1981 to claim their third European Cup, all in the space of five years.
The Spanish side also got the better of Liverpool in last season’s quarterfinals and have eliminated two of Liverpool’s Premier League rivals in consecutive rounds in this season’s competition.
The Reds, meanwhile, are facing a second successive tie against Spanish opposition having beaten Villarreal in the semifinals.
While Liverpool are aiming to win their seventh European Cup, and register a third Uefa Champions League triumph, Madrid have claimed the trophy 13 times including seven in the Uefa Champions League era.
Madrid have never lost a Uefa Champions League final, while this is their eighth appearance in the fixture (a new record), surpassing the seven of AC Milan and Juventus.
Madrid’s Carlo Ancelotti is the first coach to lead a team in five Uefa Champions League finals and is seeking a record-breaking fourth European Cup victory.
He shares the landmark of three with former Madrid boss Zinédine Zidane and Liverpool’s Bob Paisley.
A victory would also make Ancelotti the first coach to win the Uefa Champions League twice with more than one club.
This is the first time the same clubs have met in three European Cup finals.
Madrid and Reims (1956, 1959), AC Milan and Ajax (1969, 1995), Ajax and Juventus (1973, 1996), Milan and Benfica (1963, 1990), Liverpool and Milan (2005, 2007), Barcelona and Manchester United (2009, 2011), Madrid and Atlético (2014, 2016) and Madrid and Juventus (1998, 2017) have all played each other in two.
This is the fifth Uefa Champions League final between clubs from England and Spain (the fixture’s most frequent pairing), one more than Italy v Spain.
• The Reds have won six of their nine previous European Cup finals:
1976/77: Liverpool 3-1 Borussia Mönchengladbach
1977/78: Liverpool 1-0 Club Brugge
1980/81: Liverpool 1-0 Real Madrid
1983/84: Liverpool 1-1 Roma (aet; 4-2 on penalties)
1984/85: Juventus 1-0 Liverpool
2004/05: Liverpool 3-3 AC Milan (aet; 3-2 on penalties)
2006/07: AC Milan 2-1 Liverpool
2017/18: Real Madrid 3-1 Liverpool
2018/19: Liverpool 2-0 Tottenham
This is Liverpool’s 23rd Uefa final. In addition to their nine European Cup appearances, they are three-time winners of the Uefa Cup/Uefa Europa League (1973, 1976, 2001), losing the 2016 final, and won the Uefa Super Cup in 1977, 2001, 2005 and 2019, losing in 1978 and 1984.
They also lost in the 1965/66 European Cup Winners’ Cup final, and the 1981 and 1984 European/South American Cup. Their overall record in Uefa finals is therefore W13 L9.
Trent Alexander-Arnold, Virgil van Dijk, Andrew Robertson, James Milner, Jordan Henderson, Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mané all started as Jürgen Klopp’s Liverpool lost to Madrid in the 2018 final.
Twelve months later Alexander-Arnold, Van Dijk, Robertson, Henderson, Salah, Firmino and Mané, plus Alisson, Joël Matip, Fabinho and substitutes Milner, Joe Gomez and Divock Origi all featured in Liverpool’s win against Tottenham.
Liverpool’s 2019 scorers Salah and Origi could join the list of seven players who have found the net in two Uefa Champions League finals, as could Mané after his goal against Madrid in 2018.
Gareth Bale, Samuel Eto’o, Lionel Messi, Sergio Ramos, Raúl González, Mario Mandžukic and Cristiano Ronaldo, who is the only player to find the net in three, have all struck in multiple finals.
• Madrid have won a record 13 European Cups, and have triumphed in their last seven finals, all in the Uefa Champions League. Overall their final record is W13 L3:
1955/56: Real Madrid 4-3 Reims
1956/57: Real Madrid 2-0 Fiorentina
1957/58: Real Madrid 3-2 AC Milan (aet)
1958/59: Real Madrid 2-0 Reims
1959/60: Real Madrid 7-3 Eintracht Frankfurt
1961/62: Benfica 5-3 Real Madrid
1963/64: Inter 3-1 Real Madrid
1965/66: Real Madrid 2-1 Partizan
1980/81: Liverpool 1-0 Real Madrid
1997/98: Real Madrid 1-0 Juventus
1999/00: Real Madrid 3-0 Valencia
2001/02: Real Madrid 2-1 Bayer Leverkusen
2013/14: Real Madrid 4-1 Atlético de Madrid (aet)
2015/16: Real Madrid 1-1 Atlético de Madrid (aet; 5-3 on penalties)
2016/17: Real Madrid 4-1 Juventus
2017/18: Real Madrid 3-1 Liverpool
In 2017 Madrid became the first side to make a successful Uefa Champions League title defence.
They were the first team to retain the European Cup since Milan (1989, 1990).
Their 2018 victory made them the first team to win the trophy three years in a row twice.
Bale, who found the net against Atlético in 2014 and Liverpool four years later, could join Cristiano Ronaldo in scoring in three finals.
Marcelo (2014), Marco Asensio and Casemiro (both 2017) and Karim Benzema (2018) are looking to join the list of players to have scored in two finals.
Luka Modric, Benzema, Dani Carvajal, Marcelo, Bale and Isco could all appear in their fifth Uefa Champions League final victory for Madrid.
In addition to those six, Toni Kroos and Casemiro both featured in 2016, 2017 and 2018 while Asensio came on as a substitute in 2017 and 2018, as did Lucas Vázquez in 2016 and Nacho in 2018.
Madrid’s triumph in Kyiv was the 11th Uefa Champions League win for a Spanish side, five more than the next highest-ranked nation, England, and six more than Italy.
Germany (four) is the only other country to have recorded multiple victories.
This is Madrid’s 33rd Uefa final. In addition to their 16 European Cup appearances, they were Uefa Cup winners in 1985 and 1986 and European Cup Winners’ Cup runners-up in 1971 and 1983. They lifted the Uefa Super Cup in 2002, 2014, 2016 and 2017 alongside defeats in 1998, 2000 and 2018, and won the European/South American Cup in 1960, 1998 and 2002, losing in 1966 and 2000.
The most recent of the teams’ two finals came at Kyiv’s NSC Olimpiyski on 26 May 2018, Zidane’s Madrid becoming the first club to win three successive European Cups twice with a 3-1 victory against a Liverpool side managed, as now, by Klopp.
Benzema’s 51st-minute opener was cancelled out within four minutes by Mané, but two goals from substitute Bale (64, 83), including a stunning overhead effort, took the trophy to Madrid again.
Paisley’s Liverpool beat Madrid, coached by Vujadin Boškov, 1-0 in the 1981 European Cup final at the Parc des Princes in Paris, Alan Kennedy scoring the only goal nine minutes from time.
The clubs last crossed paths in the 2020/21 quarterfinals, Madrid winning 3-1 in the home first leg and progressing by the same aggregate score after a goalless draw at Anfield.
Vinícius Júnior scored twice at the Santiago Bernabéu (27, 65) either side of Asensio’s 36th-minute strike; Salah’s 51st-minute reply was all Liverpool could muster.
The teams were paired in the 2014/15 group stage, Madrid winning both games with Benzema scoring twice in the first, a 3-0 away win.
The Frenchman also got the only goal as Madrid won 1-0 in Spain two weeks later.
Liverpool beat Madrid 5-0 on aggregate in the 2008/09 round of 16.
Rafael Benítez’s Reds won the first leg 1-0 in Spain before completing a comfortable aggregate victory with a 4-0 success back on Merseyside, Madrid’s biggest Uefa Champions League defeat.
Madrid have four wins to Liverpool’s three in the sides’ eight meetings, all in the European Cup.
Madrid have scored ten goals, two more than their English opponents.
The Reds are in the Uefa Champions League for the 14th time; this is the fifth season in which they have reached the final.
Liverpool enjoyed a faultless record in this season’s group stage having won 2-1 against AC Milan on Matchday 6 to conclude their perfect Group B campaign.
They had opened with a 3-2 win at home to Milan before beating Porto (5-1 a, 2-0 h) and Atlético de Madrid (3-2 a, 2-0 h).
The Merseyside club made it four away wins from four games with a 2-0 victory at Inter in the round of 16 first leg, going through despite a 1-0 loss at Anfield.
They then won 3-1 at Benfica in the quarterfinal first leg, progressing 6-4 on aggregate after a 3-3 home draw, before beating Villarreal in the last four (2-0 h, 3-2 a).
This is the first time Liverpool have won ten games in a single European campaign.
They are the first club to win all six away games in a Uefa Champions League campaign.
The Reds were one of three teams who won all six group games this season, along with Ajax and Bayern München.
Milan (1992/93), Paris Saint-Germain (1994/95), Spartak Moskva (1995/96), Barcelona (2002/03), Real Madrid (2011/12, 2014/15) and Bayern (2019/20) have all previously recorded six wins from six in a Uefa Champions League group stage; only Bayern went on to lift the trophy.
Liverpool’s last two Uefa Champions League campaigns, and three of the last four, have ended in defeat against clubs from Madrid, their 2018/19 and 2020/21 losses to Real Madrid and their elimination as holders against Atlético in the 2019/20 round of 16 (0-1 a, 2-3 h aet).
Liverpool have won 12 of their last 15 Uefa Champions League matches away from Anfield (D1 L2).
This season’s wins against Atlético and Villarreal have made it six victories in Liverpool’s last 18 fixtures against Spanish clubs (D3 L9), a sequence that also includes 3-1 losses under Klopp in the 2016 Uefa Europa League final to Sevilla and the 2018 Uefa Champions League final to Madrid.
Liverpool’s only other European final against Spanish opponents was a 5-4 golden goal win against Alavés in the 2001 Uefa Cup final in Dortmund.
Liverpool’s record in five Uefa penalty shoot-outs is W4 L1:
4-2 v Roma, 1983/84 European Champion Clubs’ Cup final
3-2 v AC Milan, 2004/05 Uefa Champions League final
4-1 v Chelsea, 2006/07 Uefa Champions League semifinal
4-5 v Besiktas, 2014/15 Uefa Europa League round of 32
5-4 v Chelsea, 2019 Uefa Super Cup
Madrid won five of their six Group D games this season, the exception a stunning 2-1 defeat at home to debutants Sheriff on Matchday 2, as they finished first in their section for the third time in four seasons.
The Merengues lost 1-0 at Paris in the round of 16 first leg, however, and looked to be heading out when they fell further behind in the Santiago Bernabéu, but Benzema struck three times in the final half-hour to earn a 3-1 second-leg win and 3-2 aggregate triumph.
The Frenchman followed that with another hat-trick in the quarterfinal first leg at Chelsea, a 3-1 Madrid victory, and headed the decisive goal of the return in extra time, Madrid fighting back from 3-0 down on the night to go through 5-4 on aggregate.
The goals at Chelsea made Benzema only the fourth player to score a hat-trick in successive Uefa Champions Lague matches and only the seventh to have hit three goals in more than one game in the same campaign.
Benzema then scored three of Madrid’s six goals against Manchester City (3-4 a, 3-1 h aet) including the decisive penalty in extra time of the second leg, as Madrid recovered to win a European Cup semifinal after a first-leg defeat for the first time at the ninth attempt.
Madrid are also the first team to reach the Uefa Champions League final after losing one leg of their ties in the round of 16, quarterfinals and semifinals.
Benzema has scored 15 goals in this season’s Uefa Champions League, two more than Bayern’s Robert Lewandowski.
Benzema has 16 goals in 22 Uefa Champions League games against English clubs, his largest tally against opposition from a single nation, including seven this season to overtake his 14 goals against German sides.
Benzema’s second-leg goal against City was his tenth in this season’s knockout rounds, matching Cristiano Ronaldo’s record in Madrid’s victorious 2016/17 campaign.
Madrid have reached the semifinals or better in ten of the last 12 Uefa Champions League campaigns, the exceptions their successive round of 16 eliminations by Ajax in 2018/19 and City in 2019/20.
Madrid’s record against English clubs is now W19 D13 L16, exactly the same as Liverpool’s against Spanish opposition.
Aside from their European Cup finals against Liverpool, they beat Manchester United 2-1 in the 2017 Uefa Super Cup in Skopje having lost 1-0 to Chelsea in Monaco in the same competition in 1998, and were also beaten by the London club in the 1971 European Cup Winners’ Cup final in Athens (1-1, 1-2 replay).
Madrid’s record in four Uefa penalty shoot-outs is W2 L2:
5-6 v Crvena zvezda, 1974/75 European Cup Winners’ Cup quarterfinal
3-1 v Juventus, 1986/87 European Champion Clubs’ Cup second round
1-3 v Bayern München, 2011/12 Uefa Champions League semifinal
5-3 v Atlético de Madrid, 2015/16 Uefa Champions League final
Links and Trivia
Ancelotti has faced Liverpool 15 times (W8 D4 L3) as a manager, including in two Uefa Champions League finals during his time in charge of AC Milan.
His side lost the 2005 final in Istanbul on penalties having led 3-0 at halftime but beat the Reds 2-1 in Athens two years later.
Ancelotti’s Napoli side were also paired with Klopp’s Liverpool in the Uefa Champions League group stage in 2018/19 and 2019/20 (W2 D1 L1).
Ancelotti was Chelsea manager between 2009 and 2011, winning the 2009/10 Premier League and FA Cup double.
The Italian was also in charge of Liverpool’s local rivals Everton between 2019 and 2021, his four games against Liverpool as Toffees manager ending with the record W1 D2 L1; the sole victory, a 2-0 success on 20 February 2021, was Everton’s first Premier League win at Anfield since 1999.
Ancelotti has faced Klopp nine times as a coach (W4 D3 L2).
His Madrid side ousted Klopp’s Borussia Dortmund in the 2013/14 Uefa Champions League quarterfinals on their way to lifting the trophy (3-0 h 0-2 a), Bale and Isco scoring in the first leg.
Klopp oversaw four games against Madrid as Dortmund coach in 2012/13.
After a 2-1 win in Germany and 2-2 draw in Spain in the group stage, the teams met again in the semifinals, Dortmund going through despite a 2-0 away second-leg defeat having won 4-1 at home, Lewandowski scoring all four of Dortmund’s goals. Benzema scored for Madrid in the second leg.
Fabinho was on loan at Madrid in 2012/13, making one appearance for the senior side in what proved his only season at the club before joining Monaco.
Have also played in Spain:
Adrián (Real Betis 1998–2013, Alcalá 2008 loan, Utrera 2009 loan)
Thiago Alcántara (Barcelona 2005–13)
Diogo Jota joined Atlético from Paços de Ferreira in 2016 but never made a first-team appearance before joining Wolves in 2019 after loan spells with Porto and the English club.
Have played in England:
Luka Modric (Tottenham 2008–12)
Gareth Bale (Southampton 2005–07, Tottenham 2007–13, 2020/21 loan)
Thibaut Courtois (Chelsea 2014–18)
Eden Hazard (Chelsea 2012–19)
Dani Ceballos (Arsenal 2019–21 loan)
Modric faced Liverpool eight times with Tottenham (W5 D1 L2) and scored once, a penalty in a 2-0 victory at Anfield in May 2011.
Hazard has faced Liverpool 15 times, scoring LOSC Lille’s goal in a 1-0 home win in the 2009/10 Uefa Europa League round of 16 first leg, a tie the English club won 3-1 on aggregate.
He scored six goals against Liverpool in 16 meetings while at Chelsea (W5 D8 L3).
Have played together:
Thiago Alcántara & Toni Kroos (Bayern München 2013/14)
Thiago Alcántara & David Alaba (Bayern 2013–20)
Mohamed Salah & Thibaut Courtois, Eden Hazard (Chelsea 2014)
Thiago and Alaba were both part of Bayern’s Uefa Champions League-winning side in 2019/20 having played together under Ancelotti in 2016/17.
Alisson, Fabinho, Roberto Firmino & Casemiro, Rodrygo, Vinícius Júnior, Éder Militão (Brazil)
Thiago Alcántara & Dani Carvajal, Marco Asensio, Lucas Vázquez, Isco, Dani Ceballos, Nacho (Spain)
Divock Origi & Thibaut Courtois, Eden Hazard (Belgium)
Ibrahima Konaté & Eduardo Camavinga (France Under-21)
This is the third Uefa Champions League final at Stade de France, the most at any venue.
Spanish clubs were triumphant on the two previous occasions, Real Madrid beating Valencia 3-0 in 2000 and Barcelona defeating Arsenal 2-1 in 2006.
Alisson Becker and Jordan Henderson have both made 49 appearances in the Uefa Champions League, group stage to final.
Liverpool finished second in the Premier League with 92 points, one behind Manchester City.
They lost only two league matches all season (W28 D8) and are unbeaten since a 1-0 defeat at Leicester on 28 December.
The Reds are unbeaten in their last 18 games in all competitions (W14 D4), since the 1-0 loss at home to Inter in the Uefa Champions League round of 16 second leg on 8 March.
That is Liverpool’s only loss in their last 34 matches in all competitions (W26 D7).
The Reds had managed four successive clean sheets before the semifinal second leg at Villarreal; they have managed one in their last six matches.
Mohamed Salah finished as the Premier League’s joint top scorer with 23 goals, and the leading assist provider on 13.
He has 31 goals for the season in all competitions, although only one in his last eight matches.
Sadio Mané finished fifth in the Premier League scoring charts on 16 goals, one more than Diogo Jota.
On 14 May Liverpool won the FA Cup for the eighth time, and the first since 2006, by beating Chelsea 6-5 on penalties after a 0-0 draw at Wembley. Kostas Tsimikas converted the decisive kick.
That made Jürgen Klopp only the second manager to win the European Cup, FA Cup, League Cup and the English title with the same club, after Sir Alex Ferguson at Manchester United.
On 27 February the Reds won the League Cup for the record ninth time, also in the final against Chelsea, beating the London club 11-10 on penalties at Wembley after a goalless 120 minutes.
Fabinho suffered a thigh injury in a 2-1 win at Aston Villa on 10 May and has not played since.
Thiago Alcántara had to be replaced in a 3-1 home victory against Wolverhampton Wanderers on 22 May, also with a thigh problem.
Joe Gomez has not played since 17 May due to an ankle problem while Divock Origi suffered a muscle injury in training on 21 May.
On 28 April Klopp, plus assistants Pepijn Lijnders and Peter Krawietz, extended their contracts until 2026; the trio’s previous deals had been due to expire in 2024.
Liverpool have announced that 19-year-old Fulham forward Fábio Carvalho will join the club on 1 July.
Nacho made his 50th appearance in both the Uefa Champions League, group stage to final, and Uefa club competition in the semifinal second leg.
Marco Asensio also played his 50th game in Uefa club competition on Matchday 12.
Madrid won their 35th Liga title, and a second in three years, with four games to go, the earliest they have clinched a championship since 1988/89, when they also managed it with four games to spare.
They finished on 86 points, 13 clear of second-placed Barcelona.
That made Carlo Ancelotti the oldest coach to win the Liga title, aged 62 years 325 days, and also the only manager to win league titles in Spain, Italy, Germany, England and France.
Madrid have won only one of their four league games since wrapping up the title, a 6-0 home defeat of relegated Levante on 12 May.
They had lost 1-0 to local rivals Atlético four days earlier before draws at Cádiz (1-1) and at home to Betis (0-0).
Karim Benzema finished as the 2021/22 Liga’s top scorer on 27 goals, nine more than any other player, and has five goals in his last five games in all competitions.
The Frenchman has scored 20 times in his last 16 Madrid appearances.
Benzema’s tally of 27 league goals is his most prolific campaign for Madrid, surpassing his 2015/16 total of 24.
He passed the 20-goal mark in the Spanish top flight for the fourth season running, the seventh player to achieve that feat.
Benzema has 44 goals in 45 matches in all competitions this season for Madrid.
Rodrygo has five goals in his last six appearances in all competitions.
Marco Asensio hit a career-best ten Liga goals this term.
Madrid have scored three or more goals in six of their last nine matches in all competitions, and in four of their last five Uefa Champions League matches.
Madrid have won 13 of their last 20 games in all competitions, losing five times, three in the Uefa Champions League.
Madrid were knocked out of the Copa del Rey by a 1-0 quarterfinal loss at Athletic Club on 3 February.
The Merengues did, however, claim the Spanish Super Cup in January, beating Barcelona 3-2 after extra time in the semifinals before securing a 2-0 victory against Athletic with goals from Luka Modric and Benzema.
David Alaba has not played since being replaced at halftime in the semifinal first leg defeat at Manchester City.
Eden Hazard came on as a second-half substitute against Cádiz on 15 May, his first appearance since 19 February.
The Belgian underwent surgery to remove a metal plate in his right fibula on 29 March.
Luka Jovic started at Atlético on 8 May, his first appearance since 29 March after an ankle injury.
Gareth Bale has not featured since 9 April due to a back problem.