Liverpool and Real Madrid will go head-to-head in the UEFA Champions League final this weekend, with the showpiece to be held at the magnificent Stade de France in Paris.
Both sides will be desperate to finish off their already successful campaigns by being crowned champions of Europe, adding to their trophy haul for 2021/22 on the domestic front.
Liverpool are on course for a famous ‘treble’, having already won the FA Cup and League Cup, while Real Madrid claimed La Liga’s title in convincing fashion.
The final of the Champions League was originally set to be played in St Petersburg, Russia, but was moved to Paris in February following the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
More: UEFA Champions League final kickoff time 2022: What time is Liverpool v Real Madrid?
Paris as a city has a long and proud history of hosting the final of Europe’s premier club competition, dating way back to the initial foundations of the tournament in 1955/56.
Here The Sporting News takes a look at the history of the Champions League and European Cup final in one of the continents great cities.
How many Champions League finals have been played in Paris?
Liverpool’s meeting with Real Madrid this weekend will mark the sixth time that the final of Europe’s showpiece club tournament will have been held in France.
Indeed, Paris was the venue for the first ever final, when the competition was known as the European Cup, back in 1955/56.
Three of those previous finals have been held at the Parc des Princes — the 48,000-capacity venue that is also the home of French champions Paris Saint-Germain.
The other two have been played at the Stade de France, which is the country’s national stadium and the home of the France team. That is also the venue for Saturday’s showpiece.
Of those previous games, many of them have been classics:
Real Madrid 4-3 Reims — Parc des Princes, 1955/56
Paris was the host to the first-ever edition of the European Cup final back in 1955/56, which Real Madrid and Reims contested in riveting fashion.
A seven-goal thriller saw Real claim the title thanks to goals from the great Alfredo Di Stefano, Marquitos and a double from Hector Rial as the Spanish giants began an era of dominance in continental competition.
Real twice had to come from behind to seal that victory, with Reims having taken advantage of a home crowd to go 2-0 up inside 10 minutes, thanks to goals from Michel Leblond and Jean Templin.
After Di Stefano and Rial’s first had levelled, the French side forged ahead again after the hour mark but Real stormed back to win their first of five consecutive European Cups.
Bayern Munich 2-0 Leeds Utd — Parc des Princes, 1974/75
The next time a European Cup final rolled around in the city of Paris was in 1974/75, when Bayern Munich defeated Leeds United 2-0 at the Parc des Princes.
Late goals from Franz Roth and Gerd Muller were enough to send the European Cup back to Bavaria, as Bayern retained the trophy they had won against Atletico Madrid the previous season.
The German giants also went on to again claim the prestigious silverware the following year, recording a memorable three-in-a-row triumph.
In contrast, this was the first time that Leeds United had reached the final of the competition, under the stewardship of Jimmy Armfield. Inheriting the legacies of Don Revie and Brian Clough, he was able to guide the unfancied Whites to the final against all the odds.
Liverpool 1-0 Real Madrid — Parc des Princes, 1980/81
Liverpool and Real Madrid have history in Paris, having met in the same city back in the 1980/81 campaign, when Liverpool won a match that will be remembered for producing one of the most unlikely matchwinners in the history of the competition.
Left-back Alan Kennedy netted the decisive goal for the Reds, skipping by Real Madrid centre-half Rafael García Cortes before blasting home from a relatively tight angle.
Alan Kennedy’s goal to beat Real Madrid in the final to win our third European Cup 🏆
🏟 Le Parc des Princes
— The Anfield Wrap (@TheAnfieldWrap) April 6, 2021
Liverpool and Real Madrid did not meet again in the showpiece until 2018 when Real Madrid ran out 3-1 winners in Kyiv, Ukraine. When they go head-to-head in Paris on Saturday it will mark the first time that the same teams have met in three European Cup finals.
Real Madrid 3-0 Valencia — Stade de France, 1999/00
The European Cup returned to its roots under the rebranded title of the Champions League in 2000, as Real Madrid outclassed Valencia to land their eighth continental title at the Stade de France.
Fernando Morientes, Steve McManaman, and Raul provided the goals for Los Blancos, in a match that is also remembered for being the first time that two sides from the same country participated in the final of the European Cup/Champions League.
Vincent Del Bosque was in charge of Real Madrid for the match, earning his first of two Champions League titles as a manager. He is only one of 20 coaches to have won multiple titles in Europe’s elite competition.
Barcelona 2-1 Arsenal — Stade de France, 2005/06
In 2006, Barcelona narrowly defeated Arsenal 2-1 at the Stade de France, courtesy of goals from Samuel Eto’o and Juliano Belletti.
Arsenal took the lead through Sol Campbell, however the Gunners tasted the bitter disappointment of final defeat late on, as Barcelona won their second European Cup/Champions League title — 14 years after landing their first.
The match is also remembered by many as the ‘Henrik Larsson final’ for good reason. When Barcelona were 1-0 down, manager Frank Rijkaard sent on the veteran striker to get his side back into proceedings.
His decision was a crucial one, as the former Celtic man made his presence felt, contributing two vital assists as Barca fought back to claim the trophy in his last game at the club.
Thierry Henry eluded to Larsson’s contribution in a famous post-match interview, in which he sung the Swede’s praises.
“People talk about Eto’o and Ronaldinho a lot, but they should talk about the players who made the difference, like Henrik Larsson” — Thierry Henry#OnThisDay in 2006, Larsson came off the bench with Barça 1-0 down, got two assists, and changed the game.pic.twitter.com/3GZoJfyQwe
— MUNDIAL (@MundialMag) May 17, 2021
Why is the UEFA Champions League final 2022 being played in Paris?
The 2022 UEFA Champions League final was originally due to be played in Saint Petersburg, Russia, but was moved following the country’s invasion of Ukraine.
European football’s governing body UEFA announced the switch in February in response to the escalation of Russian military action.
“The UEFA Executive Committee today held an extraordinary meeting following the grave escalation of the security situation in Europe.”
Despite speculation to the contrary, according to reports in England, Wembley Stadium in London was never in the running to serve as a replacement venue.
This was due to the fact that the English national stadium was already booked out on that date for the Championship playoff final, which will be contested between Nottingham Forest and Huddersfield for a place in the Premier League.
UEFA Champions League final host cities and stadiums
Since 1955/56, there have been 28 cities across 17 different European countries that have hosted a Champions League final, or European Cup final.
After the 2022 final, France (six finals) will only trail England (eight), Germany (eight), Spain (eight) and Italy (nine) for the most final matches hosted in the history of the competition.
|Bari||Italy||1||1991||Stadio San Nicola|
|Belgrade||Serbia||1||1973||Red Star Stadium|
|Istanbul||Turkey||1||2005||Ataturk Olympic Stadium|
|Kyiv||Ukraine||1||2018||NSC Olimpiyskiy Stadium|
Estadio da Luz
|Paris||France||3||1981||Parc des Princes|
|Porto||Portugal||1||2021||Estadio do Dragao|
|Saint-Denis||France||2||2006||Stade de France|
|Seville||Spain||1||1986||Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan|