Liverpool’s and Real Madrid’s Champions League final wins — ranked!

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The 2022 Champions League final will see Liverpool take on Real Madrid in Paris in the latest contest for ultimate continental footballing supremacy.

Although the two clubs have only ever met each other twice in the final before, in 1981 and 2018, between them they have racked up a total of 25 appearances in finals of the Champions League/European Cup — nine for Liverpool and 16 for Madrid — since the inaugural 1955-56 competition.

The Reds have won on six occasions, making them the most successful English club in the competition’s history, and overall they are joint-third for most wins ever. Los Blancos, meanwhile, have firmly asserted themselves as kings of Europe with 13 triumphs from the 66 seasons in which the cup has been contested. Both sides will be hoping to add another victory to their tallies when the final whistle sounds at the Stade de France on Saturday.

Right across the continent, from Istanbul’s Ataturk stadium to Hampden Park in Glasgow, both clubs have played their parts in some truly timeless final triumphs over the years. But which ranks as the best?

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19. Real Madrid 1-1 (5-3 on penalties) Atletico Madrid, San Siro (Milan), 2016

This was only the second time that both Champions League finalists hailed from the same city, following the 2014 final between the same two clubs, but that didn’t prevent the 2016 final from quickly descending into tedium. While the 2014 final dragged on for a while before finally bursting into life in stoppage time, that same catalyst never came in 2016 as a scrappy and obnoxious encounter produced little entertainment of note for 120 minutes aside from Sergio Ramos‘ scrappy 15th-minute opener and Yannick Carrasco‘s 79th-minute equaliser. Cristiano Ronaldo smacked home the crucial spot kick to win the trophy for Los Blancos and therefore extend his side’s record to 11 victories in the competition. (Highlights)

18. Real Madrid 2-0 Stade de Reims, Neckarstadion (Stuttgart), 1959

A repeat of the inaugural 1956 European Cup final saw Real face Ligue 1 champions Reims again, this time in West Germany rather than in France. Los Blancos were without star signing Ferenc Puskas, who missed the game through injury, yet the Spanish giants still sauntered to a routine win thanks to goals scored either side of half-time from Enrique Mateos and Alfredo Di Stefano. (Highlights)

17. Liverpool 1-0 Real Madrid, Parc des Princes (Paris), 1981

A momentous result for Liverpool, but the first European Cup final meeting between these two sides can hardly be described as a classic. The Reds ground out a narrow and fairly mundane victory over the six-time champions thanks to a goal scored by Alan Kennedy eight minutes from full-time. (Highlights)

16. Real Madrid 1-0 Juventus, Amsterdam Arena (Amsterdam), 1998

A result more notable for its historical significance than the game itself, a single goal from Predrag Mijatovic shortly after the hour mark saw Real wrap up their first European Cup/Champions League trophy since 1966. Mijatovic’s participation had been in doubt before kick-off due to the Yugoslavian winger struggling with a calf injury. Nevertheless, he started against the Bianconeri and was the match-winner with a nifty little bit of footwork in the 67th minute. (Highlights)

15. Real Madrid 3-0 Valencia, Stade de France (Paris), 2000

The first Champions League final of the 21st century also witnessed the first meeting of two clubs from the same country, Real Madrid imposed dominance over their compatriots without really having to break much of a sweat. Despite having only a temporary manager at the helm in Vicente del Bosque, Madrid easily dispatched Los Che, making their first appearance in the final, with Fernando Morientes’ opener, a lovely scissor volley from Steve McManaman and Raul putting the icing on the cake 15 minutes from time. (Highlights)

14. Real Madrid 2-0 Fiorentina, Santiago Bernabeu (Madrid), 1957

A thronging mass of 124,000 fans were packed inside the Bernabeu to watch Real contest the European Cup final on home soil. With the pressure on to retain their inaugural title, Los Blancos won via goals from Di Stefano and Francisco “Paco” Gento, though the first was controversial after Dutch referee Leo Horn ignored an offside flag and then awarded a penalty for a trip on Enrique Mateos that looked to have been committed outside the area. (Highlights)

13. Real Madrid 2-1 FK Partizan, Heysel Stadium (Brussels), 1966

With most of their legendary side of the late 1950s and early ’60s gone, a relatively young and inexperienced Real side upset the apple cart by beating back-to-back European champions Inter Milan in the semis to face Partizan in the final. Playing in the shadow of the otherworldly Atomium building, the Yugoslavians took the lead in the 55th minute, but later goals from Amancio Amaro and Fernando Serena saw Real come from behind to win the cup for the sixth time in 11 years. Alas, little did they know at the time that it would be their last European Cup triumph for 32 years. (Highlights)

12. Real Madrid 4-1 Juventus, Millennium Stadium (Cardiff), 2017

Real became the first team to defend the trophy in the Champions League era (i.e. post 1991-92) with a relatively easy dismantling of Juventus in the Welsh capital in the first-ever European final to be played under a closed roof. Ronaldo (2), Casemiro and Marco Asensio did the business for Los Blancos, though the goal of the game was definitely scored by Juventus as Mario Mandzukic pulled one back for the Italians with a sublime overhead kick. (Highlights)

11. Liverpool 1-0 Club Brugge, Wembley Stadium (London), 1978

Liverpool’s second European Cup was won at “Anfield South” and the abiding image will always be Kenny Dalglish leaping over the advertising boards to celebrate scoring the winning goal against Ernst Happel’s Brugge, cementing his status as a full-blown star in the process. With King Kenny’s delightful dinked finish, the general sense of occasion and fact that the Reds had successfully defended their European crown at Wembley, it was one of the high points in Liverpool’s history even if the match itself was not a classic. (Highlights)

10. Real Madrid 3-2 AC Milan, Heysel Stadium (Brussels), 1958

The third European Cup final ever and the first to require extra-time, Real had to go the distance against Milan in order to make it a hat trick of titles. The opening goal took an hour to arrive as the Rossoneri went ahead through Pepe Schiaffino, though Real were quick to respond and the score was locked at 2-2 at the end of normal time. It was the great Paco Gento who eventually pitched in with the winning goal in the 107th minute. (Highlights)

9. Liverpool 2-0 Tottenham Hotspur, Metropolitano Stadium (Madrid), 2019

After going through hell and high water to haul themselves past Manchester City and Ajax en route to the final, Tottenham were unable to find any more magic in their maiden appearance on the biggest European stage as old hands Liverpool coolly brushed their Premier League rivals aside. It took just 106 seconds for the Reds to take the lead through a Mohamed Salah penalty, though it was not until Divock Origi‘s goal in the 87th minute that the result was secured. (Highlights)

8. Real Madrid 2-1 Bayer Leverkusen, Hampden Park (Glasgow), 2002

Twelve-time finalists Real were heavy favourites going into the game against Leverkusen, who were playing in a European Cup/Champions League final for the first time. Raul put the Spanish giants ahead with just eight minutes played as it looked like victory might quickly become inevitable. However, Leverkusen retaliated six minutes later with a shock equaliser from Brazilian defender Lucio. Then, almost on the stroke of half-time, Zinedine Zidane showed exquisite timing and technique to rocket Los Blancos back in front with a match-winning volley — a goal that is still widely heralded as one of the very best ever scored in a European final. (Highlights)

7. Liverpool 1-1 (4-2 penalties) AS Roma, Stadio Olimpico (Rome), 1984

As ESPN’s own Steve Nicol puts it, Liverpool were well and truly in the lion’s den when it came to the 1984 European Cup final, facing Roma in front of a hostile 69,000-strong crowd in the Italian capital. The Reds were appearing in their fourth European Cup final, whereas it was Roma’s first, though the former still very much felt like underdogs thanks to a staunchly partisan atmosphere. Goals from Phil Neal and Roberto Pruzzo saw the sides deadlocked at 1-1 after 120 minutes, requiring the first-ever European Cup final penalty shootout to decide the winner. After Ian Rush had put Liverpool 3-2 up, Francesco Graziani stepped up to take Roma’s fourth penalty. Graziani had originally been supposed to take his side’s opening spot kick only to be publicly muscled aside by captain Agostino Di Bartolomei, who took it himself and scored. Sensing a weakness, Liverpool goalkeeper Bruce Grobbelaar began attempting to psyche out Graziani with his now iconic “spaghetti legs” routine on the goal line. The curious knock-kneed shtick had its desired effect and the Roma forward blazed his penalty high over the bar, allowing Alan Kennedy to win the shootout for the Reds with the next kick of the ball. (Highlights)

6. Real Madrid 4-1 Atletico Madrid, Estadio da Luz (Lisbon), 2014

Desperately chasing “La Decima” (their 10th Champions League), Real came within mere seconds of losing out to their cross-city rivals after trailing from the 36th minute, when Diego Godin had put Atletico in front. With 92 minutes played and stoppage time ticking away, it looked for all the world that Diego Simeone’s grizzled side were going to hold on for the victory. However, they hadn’t quite banked on the aerial prowess of Ramos, who drew on his last remaining energy reserves to power home a last-gasp Luka Modric corner and trigger extra time. With Atleti reeling, Real ran rampant in the half-hour that followed, scoring three more goals from Gareth Bale, Marcelo and Ronaldo. (Highlights)

The Stadio Olimpico was awash with red-and-yellow flags as goals from Terry McDermott, Tommy Smith and Phil Neal saw Liverpool steam to a historic first victory in the European Cup final. No British side had won in Europe since Manchester United in 1968, but Liverpool’s triumph in Rome sparked a new era of domination for English sides. Liverpool won the trophy three times (1977, ’78, ’81) either side of a back-to-back double for Nottingham Forest in 1979 and 1980, while Aston Villa‘s success in 1982 ensured that English sides had taken the silverware for six consecutive seasons. (Highlights)

4. Real Madrid 4-3 Stade de Reims, Parc des Princes (Paris), 1956

The first of five consecutive European Cups claimed by the majestic Real Madrid team of the 1950s. They fell 2-0 down to French side Reims inside the first 10 minutes of the first-ever final, but goals from Di Stefano, Hector Rial (2) and Marquitos saw the reigning LaLiga champions come roaring back from the brink to hoist the silverware. Had they not staged that comeback, who knows what the history of the Champions League and the very complexion of the modern game would look like instead. (Highlights)

3. Real Madrid 3-1 Liverpool, Olimpiyskiy Stadium (Kiev), 2018

Arguably the last truly great Champions League final saw Real and Liverpool go toe-to-toe in an unrelenting heavyweight bout that had it all. Salah had to leave the field in tears after tangling with Ramos with 25 minutes played. Real then took the lead five minutes after half-time when an absolutely inexplicable clanger from Reds goalkeeper Loris Karius saw Karim Benzema ricochet the ball into an empty net. Sadio Mane then almost immediately pulled Liverpool level before Bale entered the fray as a 61st-minute substitute and altered the course of the game entirely. It took just 120 seconds from his introduction for Bale to restore Real’s lead when he hammered Marcelo’s cross into the back of the net with an audacious overhead kick volley. The Welshman then added a third for Real in the final 10 minutes when his speculative shot from 40 yards out appeared to go straight through Karius and into the Liverpool goal to wrap up Los Blancos‘ fourth European title in five seasons, coach Zidane’s third in as many years and the club’s 13th overall. (Highlights)

2. Real Madrid 7-3 Eintracht Frankfurt, Hampden Park (Glasgow), 1960

Real Madrid ended their imperious era with a fifth consecutive European Cup by thumping Frankfurt in irresistible fashion. While an estimated 70 million watched on, over 127,000 eager fans crammed into the stadium to watch Los Blancos make mincemeat of their German opponents by a scoreline that still stands as a record to this day. Di Stefano scored three of Real’s goals while Puskas scored the other four, and both remain two of only three players to have scored a hat trick (or more) in a European Cup/Champions League final — the other being Pierino Prati of Milan, who notched three against Ajax in the 1969 final. (Highlights)

1. Liverpool 3-3 (3-2 penalties) Milan, Ataturk Olympic Stadium (Istanbul), 2005

The word “pulsating” is perhaps too readily applied to fairly ordinary football matches, but the 2005 final produced near unbearable tension and drama. Liverpool looked to be sunk by half-time after falling three goals behind. Kaka orchestrated a ruthless display from Milan which saw Paolo Maldini score in the first minute and Hernan Crespo add two more before the break. What then transpired was one of the greatest fightbacks in modern football history as the Reds scored three goals in six second-half minutes through Steven Gerrard, Vladimir Smicer and Xabi Alonso to take the game to extra time. Milan continued to dominate, but Liverpool held firm and penalties were soon ushered in. The decisive round of spot kicks saw Smicer (who knew he was playing his last game for the club) hold his nerve to afford the Reds a crucial advantage before Jerzy Dudek thwarted Andriy Shevchenko to complete the most astonishing turnaround. (Highlights)

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