Nine players you’ve probably forgotten played in a Champions League final

Quick Reads

The Champions League final is where the best players in Europe meet – but there have been some surprising appearances over the years, including from former Arsenal, Chelsea and Liverpool players.

Liverpool face Real Madrid in the 2018 final in Kiev on Saturday, with most of the attention in the build-up focused on the two team’s stars: Mohamed Salah and Cristiano Ronaldo.

Teams are rarely made up of just star names, however, and we’ve looked back at some players you may not have realised appeared in the biggest match in European football.

Sebastien Squillaci

Didier Deschamps had upset all the odds to lead Monaco to the Champions League final in 2004, overcoming the club’s financial issues to see them defeat Real Madrid and Chelsea on the way to the showpiece in Gelsenkirchen.

Squillaci was in the middle of four seasons in Monaco’s first team, going on to line up for Lyon, Sevilla and Arsenal, before ending his career at Bastia.

READ: 17 players who went on strike: Scholes, Sterling, Squillaci, Dyer & more

Toby Alderweireld

His final appearance for Atletico before joining Southampton on loan was in fact appearing as a late substitute in the 2014 Champions League final against fierce rivals Real.

The defender replaced Filipe Luis with seven minutes to play and his side leading 1-0 – they went on to lose 4-1 after extra time. Ouch.

Kiki Musampa

Dutch giants Ajax reached their most recent final in 1996, a year after winning the competition.

In the latter, starting to the left of Nwankwo Kanu was a 19-year-old Musampa, some nine years before his stint on loan and Manchester City and earning the brilliant nickname of Chris (go on, say it out loud).

Paul Lambert

Lambert moved to Dortmund in 1996 and played the full match as they defeated Juventus 3-1 in Munich in the 1997 showpiece, assisting the opening goal and successfully keeping Zinedine Zidane quiet.

He returned to Scotland and joined Celtic just a few months after the final, playing 273 times for the Hoops, embarking on his managerial career in 2005.

READ: Remembering the night Paul Lambert was better than Zinedine Zidane

Roque Junior

Having won the World Cup with Brazil a year earlier, Junior came off the bench in the 66th minute as AC Milan defeated rivals Juventus in the 2003 Champions League final at Old Trafford.

Two years later he was sent on loan to Leeds, where the centre-back’s seven appearances saw 24 goals conceded and started with the Brazilian being sent off on his debut – though he did score twice against Manchester United in the League Cup.

Gael Givet

Givet was just starting to form part of a solid defensive line at Monaco alongside Squillaci and Patrice Evra when they made it to the 2004 final.

He then enjoyed six years in England with Blackburn, being frozen out in his last season and suggesting that if he had been left in Blackburn alone, he probably would have killed himself.

Mauricio Pellegrino

Valencia reached the final two years in a row in 2000 and 2001, with former Southampton manager Pellegrino at the heart of their defence on both occasions.

He was with Los Che for six years between 1999 and 2005, experiencing much of their glory including two La Liga titles and a UEFA Cup.

READ: Fallen Giants: Valencia’s golden era of Mendieta, Claudio Lopez, Aimar & co

Jermaine Pennant

You may have completely forgotten he was ever even at Liverpool, but Pennant is the only uncapped Englishman to play in a Champions League final. Trent Alexander-Arnold could join this list on Saturday and then remove himself at the World Cup – for which Swedish readers will find this bonuskod handy ahead of any bets.

Pennant played the full 90 minutes of the 2007 final – a repeat meeting of the Istanbul classic – at the end of his first season with Liverpool.

More recently he has featured in India for Pune City, in Singapore for Tampines Rovers, and back home for Bury and non-league Billericay Town.

Ryan Bertrand

More of a surprising finalist rather than one you didn’t know about, Bertrand played the first 73 minutes of the 2012 final in which Chelsea beat Bayern Munich on penalties.

Then 21, Bertrand became the first player to make his Champions League debut in the final as he lined up on the left wing in front of Ashley Cole.

Meanwhile, on the bench was the lesser-spotted figure of Ross Turnbull, who left Leeds United in 2016 and last surfaced as goalkeeping coach at Hartlepool, where he was helping out without pay.


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