The last five Serie A clubs to reach a Champions League final – and how they fared
Inter Milan are the first Serie A team to reach the Champions League final in six years. They’ll face either Manchester City on June 10th and will look to cause an upset at the Ataturk Olympic Stadium.
Italian clubs have a rich history in European football’s most prestigious competition – Milan have won it seven times, Inter three and Juventus two – but their record in finals in recent years is a little more mixed. Only once in the last 15 years has an Italian club lifted ol’ big ears.
We’ve taken a look at the last five Serie A clubs to reach a Champions League final and how they fared on the grandest stage in club football.
AC Milan 3-3 Liverpool (2005)
Arguably the most memorable final in the history of the European Cup, you don’t need reminding what happened to the Rossoneri that night in Istanbul.
“His instruction was that we carry on playing in the same way,” Rossoneri legend Andriy Shevchenko later recalled of what Carlo Ancelotti said at half-time – before they somehow squandered a 3-0 lead against Rafael Benitez’s Reds.
“There was a good atmosphere inside [the dressing room]. There was nobody getting excited. We knew we were facing a very good team and we knew the quality of this team.
“English teams always believe and we respect that a lot, because every time you play against a team from England, especially Liverpool, you know at any moment if you lose attention a little bit that they can come back.”
✅ Milan lead 3-0 only for Liverpool to equalize
✅ Dudek's double-save from Schevchenko
✅Liverpool win the 2005 #UCL on penalties
— CBS Sports Golazo ⚽️ (@CBSSportsGolazo) April 18, 2023
AC Milan 2-1 Liverpool (2007)
Two years after the miracle of Istanbul, Liverpool booked a rematch against Milan. They’d knocked out reigning champions Barcelona and Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea (once again) en route to the Athens final and were by all accounts a better team than the 2005 champions – they finished two places higher and picked up 10 more points in the Premier League than they did in 2005.
But that night they were bested by a Milan side hell-bent on laying the demons of ’05 to rest. Goals deep into each half from Pippo Inzaghi gave Ancelotti’s men a deserved two-goal lead going into the final minutes. A late strike from Dirk Kuyt raised the heartrate for a few fleeting moments, but it ultimately proved only a consolation as Milan saw the job out.
Inter 2-0 Bayern (2010)
Jose Mourinho waved a teary goodbye to Marco Materazzi and the rest of his Inter players after securing their historic treble in 2009-10.
The Serie A champions made it past Louis van Gaal’s Bayern Munich in a classically professional Mourinho display at the Bernabeu – where the Portuguese coach went next that summer.
The greatest season in the Nerazzurri’s history with Diego Milito banging in the goals – 30 in all competitions – they completed the set in the Spanish capital after besting Claudio Ranieri’s Roma in a thrilling title race, as well as the Coppa Italia final.
Milito – who else? – scored twice in the final as Inter squandered possession (just 33%) with a performance that was exceptionally organised and defensively sound. Bayern had plenty of the ball but could only muster a single shot on target.
Juventus 1-3 Barcelona (2015)
Massimiliano Allegri had built a dynasty at Juventus. He led them to a fourth successive Scudetto in 2014-15 – a run they’d later extend to nine – and did what predecessor Antonio Conte had failed to do by taking them deep into European competition.
But in the 2015 final at the Olympiastadion in Berlin, they came up against an unstoppable force in Barcelona – with Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Neymar at the peak of their powers. The front three notched a combined 122 goals and 65 assists between them as Luis Enrique’s team won the treble that year.
Juventus responded admirably after Ivan Rakitic’s fourth-minute opener, equalising through Alvaro Morata, but they ultimately couldn’t shut out Barcelona’s terrifying forward line. Suarez regained Barcelona’s lead midway through the second half and Neymar capped things off on the counter with the final kick of the game.
Juventus 1-4 Real Madrid (2017)
Juventus had knocked Real Madrid in the semis, denying us an El Clasico final in 2015, and that proved to be the only occasion any side managed to eliminate Los Blancos for five seasons between 2014 and 2018. But Allegri’s side couldn’t repeat the trick in the 2017 final in Cardiff as Madrid did what they invariably do in finals – win.
An incredible acrobatic effort from Mario Mandzukic cancelled out Cristiano Ronaldo’s early opener at the Millennium Stadium and Juventus went on to enjoy a long spell on top. But they had no answer as Madrid shifted into another gear in the second half, putting the game out of sight with further goals from Casemiro, Ronaldo (again) and Marco Asensio.
The following summer the Old Lady signed Ronaldo in an ambitious attempt to go that one step further in Europe, but while the Portuguese icon scored hatfuls – 101 goals in 134 appearances – he was unable to replicate his Madrid peak as Juventus failed to make it past the quarter-finals and were knocked out by Ajax, Lyon and Porto in his three years in Turin.