7 Things Learnt from UEFA Champions League final

1. Marquee signings let PSG down: When Paris Saint-Germain signed both Neymar and Kylian Mbappe in 2017, the major aim was for the forward pair to win the club that elusive UEFA Champions League trophy.

It took three years for the Parisians to get anywhere close to lifting the title and on the D-day in Lisbon, both Neymar and Mbappe bizarrely put on one of their worst displays in a PSG shirt as they disappointed when it mattered most for the club.

2. Muller is a class act: Asides from being a serial-winner, Thomas Muller is a class act whose qualities are unrivalled in world football.

He might not be the most talked about, flamboyant or valued player out there, but what is certain is that Muller is criminally underrated and if anyone for a second was in doubt about his achievements and relevance as a footballer then Sunday night’s final performance was a perfect opportunity to set the records straight once more.

3. Coutinho vindicated: Philippe Coutinho was the butt of jokes in 2019, when Liverpool knocked out Barcelona enroute to winning the UEFA Champions League.

The Brazilian playmaker had departed the Reds 18 months earlier in search of glory with the Catalans, but it ended in disappointment as he watched Liverpool lift the title and could have been thinking if he had made a bad decision to leave the club.

However, all of that has been fixed as Coutinho became the latest Brazilian to have a Champions League winners medal and now Barcelona are to pay Liverpool a reported £5m for the feat.

4. Academy graduate hurts PSG: When Paris Saint-Germain let academy graduate Kingsley Coman leave on a free transfer in 2014, never in their wildest imagination could they have projected that the then-18-year-old would comeback six years later to hurt them, denying them the biggest trophy in the club’s history.

Indeed that exactly happened as Coman’s 59th-minute header was the match-winner in a game where he was a surprise starter ahead of Ivan Perisic and now wins an impressive 15th career title since departing his boyhood club, who he joined at the age of eight.

5. Tuchel did Icardi dirty: Paris Saint-Germain were in desperate need of a goal against Bayern Munich and in that moment they had a reliable, tried, tested and proven goalscorer on the bench, Mauro Icardi.

The logical thing to have expected was for Thomas Tuchel to have turned to the Argentine forward, who only signed on permanently at the club to bail out the team but rather the German manager made the bizarre decision to snub Icardi and brought on the less prolific Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting.

It was a second straight blackout for Icardi, as he was also ignored by Tuchel in the semi-final victory against RB Leipzig and based on those two events, the coming days will prove to be interesting in the pair’s relationship.

6. Flick in good company: Hans-Dieter Flick couldn’t have written this script a year ago.

The German manager joined Bayern Munich as an assistant to then-manager Niko Kovac in July 2019, but following Kovac’s decision to leave the job by mutual consent, Flick was first named as interim manager and later on a permanent basis.

It proved to be a brilliant decision by the Bavarian’s top decision-makers as Flick oversaw a treble winning campaign and now joins Roberto Di Matteo and Zinedine Zidane as managers to have won the UEFA Champions League after taking over the job mid-season.

7. Bayern the history-makers: Bayern Munich became only the second champions (after Manchester United in 2008) to go an entire UEFA Champions League campaign unbeaten and first in history in the competition’s history to win every single game, an 11-game sequence which started with a clean sheet against Red Star Belgrade and ended with yet another clean sheet in the victory over PSG.

It was a great way to end a season which saw Bayern win 21 straight games in all competitions and claim a treble!

Leave a Reply