Normally held in the final two weeks of May is one of the most-watched annual sporting events in the world, the UEFA Champions League Final. The competition groups together the top teams from the major European leagues to battle it out for continental supremacy. The winning club is rewarded with a cheque for approximately AU$15 million and gains automatic qualification into the next series of the tournament, regardless of how they end their domestic season. Spanish giants Real Madrid remain the most successful side in the Champions League, winning a total of 10 finals between 1956 and 2014. Although the competition only includes European clubs, winning the Champions League is widely regarded as the ultimate achievement in club football, even bigger than the FIFA Club World Cup.
The venue of the final changes each year, with the announcement of the location made two years earlier. Some of Europe’s greatest venues have staged the event, including Webley Stadium in England, Olympic Stadium in Athens and the San Siro in Milan. Tickets to the event are sought after world-wide, and the final generally attracts a capacity crowd.
Some of the most memorable football matches have come in Champions League Finals. In 1999, Manchester United scored two goals in stoppage time to secure a 2-1 win over German outfit Bayern Munich, while six years later Liverpool came back from 3-0 down at half-time to beat AC Milan in a penalty shootout.
|YEAR||WINNER||RUNNER UP||MAN OF THE MATCH|
|2014||REAL MADRID||ATHLETICO MADRID||ANGEL DI MARIA|
|2013||BAYERN MUNICH||BORUSSIA DORTMUND||ARJEN ROBBEN|
|2012||CHELSEA||BAYERN MUNICH||DIDIER DROGBA|
|2011||BARCELONA||MANCHESTER UNITED||LIONEL MESSI|
|2010||INTER MILAN||BAYERN MUNICH||DIEGO MILITO|
|2008||MANCHESTER UNITED||CHELSEA||EDWIN VAN DER SAR|
|2007||AC MILAN||LIVERPOOL||FILIPPO INZAGHI|
|2005||LIVERPOOL||AC MILAN||STEVEN GERRARD|