Friday 25 May 2018, 08:50

Real Madrid and Liverpool vie for European crown  

  • Real Madrid aiming to win competition for third year running

  • Liverpool won their last Champions League title in 2005

  • Winners will represent Europe at the FIFA Club World Cup UAE 2018

An exciting and action-packed UEFA Champions League season will reach what promises to be a spectacular close on Saturday, as Real Madrid take on Liverpool in the final. Aside from the continental crown, a ticket to the FIFA Club World Cup UAE 2018 will also be at stake.

The match

Real Madrid-Liverpool, Olimpiyskiy Stadium, Kiev, Saturday 26 May

The final brings together the two highest-scoring sides in a tournament that has produced a record number of goals this season, with this campaign’s leading marksmen Cristiano Ronaldo (15) and Mohamed Salah (10) respectively taking on two of the best defenders in the world in Virgil van Dijk and Sergio Ramos. It should be quite a battle, with the Reds’ pitting their attack-minded, high-pressing style of play against the power and speed of a well-balanced and star-studded Real Madrid side.

With Ronaldo and Dani Carvajal having recovered from injury, Zinedine Zidane has a full complement of players to choose from as he prepares his club’s bid for a third straight Champions League crown. For his part, Jurgen Klopp is waiting to see if Emre Can shakes off his injury troubles.

The German coach has identified the flank occupied by Marcelo as Real Madrid’s weak point, due to his willingness to push forward. Yet such is the Brazilian's ability to get past opposing players and provide for his team-mates that he happens to be one of Los Blancos’ chief assets. Will the match be won and lost on the left wing?

Player to watch

Mohamed Salah

The leading goalscorer in the Premier League in 2017/18, the Egyptian striker has been the revelation of the season. He will now pit his wits against Marcelo, a member of the FIFA/FIFPro World XI for the last three years. And should he get past the Brazilian, he will still have Sergio Ramos (part of that all-star line-up for seven years running) to contend with.

Did you know?

  • Cristiano Ronaldo could become the first player to win the UEFA Champions League five times.

  • Real Madrid have played in 15 European Cup/Champions League finals and won 13 of them. Liverpool have prevailed in five of the seven they have contested.

  • The last final Real Madrid lost in the competition was in 1981, against Liverpool.

What they said

“Zinedine Zidane is one of the top five players of all time. I’m glad we’re not playing against each other. I’m very glad I can send my players onto the pitch. He’s an extraordinary character in the football world. I appreciate him. I admired him as a player and respect him as a colleague. It’s incredible what he’s been doing with Real Madrid. It’s really, really extraordinary. But we’re not going there to grab some jerseys.” Liverpool coach Jurgen Klopp