Barcelona v Manchester United

Champions League final factsheet

May 26, 2009
By Phil Holland
(Archive)

Guide | Stadio Olimpico | Final Factsheet | Key Battles
Barca - Player pen pix| Pep Guardiola | Sir Alex Ferguson | Man Utd - Player Pen Pix

ROUTES TO ROME: Barcelona | Manchester United


• Wednesday's final, the 54th since the competition started in 1955-56, will be the last final played on a Wednesday. Starting with next season's final in Madrid, the culmination of the Champions League will be played on a Saturday.

• Rome will be Barcelona's fifth European Cup final. The Catalans won two of their previous appearances in 1992 and 2006, but lost in 1961 and 1994.

• Rome will be Manchester United's fourth European Cup final. They won each of their three previous appearances in 1968, 1999 and 2008.

• The 2009 final marks the fifth successive season that an English club has reached the final after Liverpool (winners 2005), Arsenal (runners-up 2006), Liverpool (runners-up 2007) and last season's all-England final between Manchester United (winners) and Chelsea (runners-up).

•  If Manchester United beat Barcelona they will become the first team since the Champions League began in 1992-93 to retain the European Cup. The last team to win successive European Cups was AC Milan in 1989 and 1990.

• The last club to finish as runners-up the season after winning the trophy were Juventus, who won in 1996 and lost in 1997.

• The only other sides to have retain the European Cup are: Nottingham Forest in 1979 and 1980, Bayern Munich in 1974, 1975 and 1976, Ajax in 1971, 1972, 1973, Inter Milan in 1964 and 1965, Benfica in 1961 and 1962, and Real Madrid, who won it five consecutive times from 1956 to 1960.

• United go into the final in tremendous, record-setting form and they are unbeaten in their last 25 Champions League matches, a record for the competition. They last lost to AC Milan in the 2006-7 semi-finals.

•  This year marks the fourth time Rome's Stadio Olimpico has staged the European Cup final, after finals in 1977, 1984 and 1996.

• The old Wembley Stadium in London has staged more finals than any other ground, hosting the finals of 1963, 1968, 1971, 1978 and 1992 - when Barcelona won. Paris has also staged five finals but at different stadiums. Wembley will host the final again in 2011.

• Wembley holds a special place in the history of both clubs as it was there that they won their first European Cups at Wembley: Manchester United in 1968, Barcelona in 1992.

•  Last season, Sir Ferguson Alex Ferguson became the second-oldest man to win the trophy when he was 66. The oldest is Belgian Raymond Goethals, who was 71 when Marseille won in 1993.

• Last season, Ferguson became the 16th man to win the European Cup twice. Should United win on Wednesday, the 67-year-old will join the late Bob Paisley (Liverpool 1977, 1978, 1981) as the only other manager to win the European Cup three times.

• If Barcelona win, Pep Guardiola, aged 38 years and 129 days, will be the youngest manager for 49 years to lift the trophy and the third youngest of all time; the youngest being Jose Villalonga, who was 36 years and 185 days old when Real Madrid won the first final in 1956.

• Guardiola could become only the sixth man to win the European Cup both as a player and coach. He was in the Barcelona team which triumphed in 1992.

• While still with Arsenal, Thierry Henry scored his first ever Champions League hat-trick in the Stadio Olimpico against Roma in November 2002.

• Two of United's stars have been beaten finalists. In 2002 Dimitar Berbatov and Bayer Leverkusen were beaten by Real Madrid, while Patrice Evra was on Monaco's losing team against Porto in 2004.

• Barcelona's Thierry Henry and Alexander Hleb were both in the Arsenal team beaten by Barcelona in the 2006 final.