UEFA Champions League Final!
(Posted on 05/06/15)
With the Premier League, Football League, FA Cup and all other major European divisions now wrapped up, it's finally time for arguably the biggest club competition in the world to come to a close.
The Champions League Final, a stage some players are lucky to play in once, and the grandest prize for any of Europe's heavyweights.
This year, those lucky few in Barcelona have the chance to put their name on the trophy for the fourth time in less than a decade, having won the competition in 2006, 2009 and 2011. All the while Italain side Juventus reach the final for the first time this Millennium.
Of course the story and glamour of Barcelona is known the world over. With the likes of superstars such as Andres Iniesta, Neymar and arguably the best player in the world, Lionel Messi.
They only won their first title in the competition in 1991, and would have an agonising wait until their next win. But it came, and boy did they do it in style during the 2005/2006 season. The likes of Ronaldinho, Deco, Valdes and Puyol amongst a team that will never be forgotten, in a memorable finale against Arsenal in Paris. This was of course followed by two more triumphs in the next five years over Manchester United twice, once coming under the arch of Wembley.
The iconic look of 'Barca' was back on the world stage, with their iconic UNICEF sponsor proudly showing on top of the red and blue of Spain's top team.
As for Juventus, it's been a turbulent time in Turin. The two time European Cup winners were hugely successful before the 2006 Italian Football Scandal and demoted to Serie B, and stripped of two league titles. Since then they have regrouped and built themselves back up again, getting back into the top tier and reaching the summit of Italian football again in 2011, and have now won the league four seasons on the trot.
Having not won the Champions League however since 1996, the players and fans will be in new territory, even veteran 'keeper Gianluigi Buffon hasn't won the title. With the added incentive of Barcelona's controversial striker Luis Suarez coming up against Patrice Evra (whom he'd racially abused whilst playing for Liverpool) and Giorgio Chiellini (whom he'd bitten on the pitch whilst playing for Uruguay at the 2014 World Cup), something will have to give.
This final will have a lot to live up too, with the occasion being nothing short of magic in recent years. You only have to cast your mind back to the Nou Camp in 1999, where Manchester United met Bayern Munich. The last minute winner from Ole Gunnar Solskjaer sent planet football into ecstasy, and the shirts worn during that famous final can be found here.
A couple of years later saw perhaps the best goal ever seen in the final, Zidane's wonderful volley was enough to win any game, and that was proven as Real Madrid claimed the 2001 crown against Germans Leverkusen. A wonderfully gifted talent, you can get your own iconic 'Zidane 5' shirt from that season here.
Perhaps the greatest final of all will come in Istanbul four years later. We all know the story, Liverpool v AC Milan, 3-0 to the Italian giants a year before they would be disgraced in the Italian Football Scandel. With the Scouse side dead and buried, all had given up hope, but the all red of Liverpool would go on to cause maybe the biggest shock in modern football thanks to Xabi Alonso, Vladimir Smicer and Steven Gerrard taking the game to penalties, where the English outfit finished them off. The iconic all red of the five time winners can be adorned right here on Vintage Football Shirts.
Of course, we love to purr over shirts here, and when it came to the last two finals, we couldn't help ourselves but stop and admire that of both Real Madrid and Borrusia Dortmund. The classy jackets worn by the Madrid players before kick-off last year was a stylish and sleek item, much to accompany the reputation and ability of the club. When lining up for the anthems before the Final, these track jackets made sure the world knew not only of the class of the side, but how well Adidas could continue to produce superb designs. As for Dortmund, their iconic yellow and black shirts were back on the world stage in 2013 at Wembley. The German sides Puma manufactured shirts are recognised the world over, and turned the home of English football into a sea of yellow.
So, whether you are supporting the superstars of Barcelona or the 'Old Lady' of Juventus, why not take a look at some of the classic shirts of their history, such as the Juve side who last won the competition in 1996 here, or Barcelona's first winning shirt of the 2000's right here. Whoever wins, we're sure it will be a classic.