The 9 players to win the World Cup and Champions League in the same season
Winning the World Cup is a dream for every footballer, and remains nothing more than that for most, given just how hard it is to win the international top prize.
Equally, the Champions League is often touted as the top domestic prize and the trophy all top players dream of lifting proudly during their careers.
It’s not that simple, though, on either front. The Champions League is a tireless campaign comprising of a group stage and high pressure knockout rounds against some of the biggest clubs in world football, with plenty of banana skins to slip on along the way. As for the World Cup? Well, that only happens once every four years, so the chances of winning it are even less than being successful in Europe’s premier club competition.
It’s not all doom and gloom like we’ve just made out, though. In fact, there is a very exclusive club of players who have not only managed to win both trophies, but have done so in the same season.
Having lifted the World Cup with Argentina in Qatar back in December, either Manchester City’s Julian Alvarez or Inter’s Lautaro Martinez will become the 10th player to win the two most prestigious prizes in football in the same season.
Read on to find out which nine players have achieved such a unique feat.
Sepp Maier – 1974
One of six individuals who did it together in 1974, one club man Maier represented West Germany at four consecutive World Cups, winning the third one on home soil off the back of lifting the European Cup with Bayern Munich a few months earlier.
Maier was the first-choice goalkeeper and at the very peak of his powers as West Germany managed a sensational 2-1 victory over the Netherlands – who were equally as incredible at the time – just after he’d helped Bayern to a third consecutive European crown by seeing off Atletico Madrid.
Paul Breitner – 1974
Capped 48 times for West Germany, Breitner scored from the penalty spot after 25 minutes to get his country back on level terms in the final, having fallen behind just two minutes into the game.
A versatile left-back who could also slot into midfield, Breitner was a part of the Bayern squad that lifted the European Cup in 1974, but left that same year to sign for Real Madrid after the triumph.
Hans-Georg Schwarzenbeck – 1974
Scoring long-range thunderb*stards before they were even considered cool, it was Schwarzenbeck’s equaliser against Atletico in the dying embers of extra time that pushed Bayern on to win the cup in the replay.
An iconic defender and another one club man, Schwarzenbeck doubled down on that domestic success by playing a key role in West Germany’s World Cup win, two years after winning Euro 1972.
Franz Beckenbauer – 1974
A man who needs no introduction, Beckenbauer set the tone for what it is to be an utterly dominant, ball-playing central defender in today’s game.
Capped 104 times for West Germany, he won the European Championships in 1972 and the World Cup in ’74 as captain of the team, playing a key role in their golden era. And if that wasn’t enough – along with blossoming into one of the best players in the world with Bayern – he then went and won the World Cup with West Germany again in 1990, this time as a manager.
Der Kaiser. Iconic.
Gerd Muller – 1974
If ‘Der Kaiser’ wasn’t a cool enough nickname for you, we’ve another – ‘Der Bomber’.
Come on. Imagine being that good at finding the back of the net that they call you ‘Der Bomber’? Outrageous.
68 goals in 62 appearances for his country, 365 in 427 Bundesliga appearances with Bayern, but perhaps the most important of all of those came against the Netherlands in 1974. Muller bagged the winning goal after 43 minutes, his fourth at the tournament, following on from scoring in the replay of the European Cup final, and another stellar showing at the World Cup, having won the Ballon d’Or off the back of his exploits in 1970.
‘Muller and again…2-1’
1974 World Cup Final.
Gerd Muller’s winning goal, with commentary from the great David Coleman. @FootballArchive pic.twitter.com/6LGuZak0sT
— TV Football 1968-92 (@1968Tv) February 6, 2020
Uli Hoeness – 1974
The last of a truly one-of-a-kind group of six, Hoeness unfortunately is remembered for fouling Johan Cruyff from kick-off in the 1974 final, which allowed the Netherlands to take an early lead.
It didn’t matter in the end, though, with Hoeness always being able to say he won the World Cup and European Cup in the same year.
Christian Karembeu – 1998
Born on the island of New Caledonia with a population of around just 238,000 people, Karembou moved to mainland France aged 17 to study and play football, which is when life changed forever.
Humble beginnings saw the impressive defensive midfielder blossom at Nantes, prompting a move to Sampdoria in 1995. He spent two years in Italy before being snapped up by Real Madrid, where he would win the Champions League in 1998, before playing four matches and winning the 1998 World Cup in France.
Two years later, he’d spend a season in the North East of England with Middlesbrough. Life comes at you fast.
Roberto Carlos – 2002
Four years on from heartbreak in France where everyone had tipped Brazil to go all the way, Carlos and the Selecao had their moment in the sun in 2002.
Now one of the best in the world, the Brazilian left-back laid the ball into Zinedine Zidane to score the winning goal in the 2002 Champions League final, before playing a key role in Japan and South Korea for his country.
On this day in 2002, Roberto Carlos played a one-two with Santi Solari and lofted a hopeful ball into the box…
Then we witnessed technical brilliance 🤩
— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) May 15, 2020
Raphael Varane – 2018
Having been nominated for the Best Young Player award at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, Varane returned with a vengeance four years later, with three more Champions League titles under his belt.
The central defender would play every single minute of football for France in 2018, off the back of winning his fourth Champions League with Real Madrid, playing a key role as Les Bleus won the competition for only the second time.
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