Moscow, Madrid and now Porto - The three all-English Champions League finals

The 2021 final will be just the third time in European Cup history that two English teams are the last sides standing.

Published: 24 May 2021 - 10.44am

For only the third time ever, and the second time in three seasons, there will be an all-English Champions League final.

Chelsea’s 2-0 defeat of Real Madrid in their semi-final second leg, against the competition’s most decorated side, set up a meeting with Premier League champions Manchester City with the European Cup guaranteed to come to English shores.

The final, which has been moved from the Ataturk Stadium in Istanbul to Porto's Estadio do Dragao, will be an all-blue affair as Chelsea bid to regain the trophy they won in 2012 while City go in search of their first-ever Champions League.

Coverage will get underway on BT Sport 1 HD and Ultimate from 6pm on Saturday 29 May, as we count down to the 8pm kick off.

Ahead of the match we relive the previous finals involving two English teams - Chelsea v Manchester United in 2008 and Tottenham v Liverpool in 2019.

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Manchester United v Chelsea - 2008 Champions League final 

First, there was Moscow. Rewind 13 years ago and Manchester United and Chelsea were the two outstanding sides in English football.

Sir Alex Ferguson’s United had pipped Avram Grant’s Chelsea to the Premier League title by two points, with Arsenal finishing behind their London rivals by the same margin.

With the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Wayne Rooney, Carlos Tevez, Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic in their pomp and combined with the experience of Paul Scholes, Ryan Giggs and Edwin van der Sar, it was perhaps the Scotsman’s greatest-ever team.

Yet Chelsea were a formidable force themselves. Jose Mourinho had bowed out in September having fallen out with owner Roman Abramovich but the side he’d assembled – the same side that dominated between 2005 and 2007 – largely remained. 

Grant boasted a squad packed with leaders - featuring Petr Cech, Ricardo Carvalho, John Terry, Ashley Cole, Claude Makelele, Michael Ballack, Frank Lampard and Didier Drogba.

United’s semi lacked the drama of Tottenham’s and Liverpool’s 11 years on. Scholes’ stunner was the only goal in 180 minutes of football as United saw off Barcelona.

Yet another all-English tie saw Chelsea taken to extra time at Stamford Bridge against familiar foes Liverpool. The Blues scored twice in the additional period through Drogba and Lampard – playing just six days following the death of his mother.

It reflected the Premier League’s dominance of the competition that three of the four semi-finalists hailed from these shores. United and Chelsea headed to the Russian capital as the two best sides in Europe. 

United were regarded as the slight favourites. As referee Lubos Michel saw it: “Chelsea had the bigger stars, but United had the greater team spirit”.

And so it proved.

Ferguson’s men drew first blood at the Luzhniki Stadium when Ronaldo – at the very height of his powers – rose brilliantly to direct Wes Brown’s cross with a textbook header past Cech.

Chelsea drew level just before the interval. A double-deflected Michael Essien shot fell into the path of Lampard who made no mistake with a simple finish. 

The Londoners were in the ascendancy and had United on the backfoot for most of what followed. But in 45 minutes of normal time and in 30 of extra time, they could not make their pressure count.

“The game was played on the edge,” Michel reflected. “It was very difficult to hold all of these players under control”. The Slovakian referee was forced to take action against Drogba in the closing stages.

A fracas ensued after Tevez attempted to put pressure on Chelsea from a throw-in after the ball was kicked out of play so players could receive treatment. Chelsea’s players, most notably Ballack and Drogba reacted angrily and the latter saw red for raising his hands to Vidic’s face.

The penalty shootout that followed will always be remembered for one moment. Ronaldo’s inexplicable miss from the spot left Chelsea captain Terry with the chance to chance to win it.

In the Russian rain he slipped, his shot crashing off the post with United keeper Van der Sar stranded.

Sudden death began and after a pair of successful penalties from Anderson and Salomon Kalou, substitute Nicolas Anelka’s effort was saved by Van der Sar and Man United were champions.

Tears poured down Terry’s face as Giggs and Ferdinand lifted the trophy and United were kings of Europe once again.

Tottenham v Liverpool - 2019 Champions League final 

Fast-forward 11 years and the 2019 edition of the showpiece at Atletico’s shiny new Wanda Metropolitano lacked the drama of Moscow but certainly not the tension.

The last all-English Champions League final was confirmed in the most dramatic of circumstances. A day after Liverpool overturned a 3-0 first-leg deficit to stun Barcelona 4-0 at Anfield and qualify for the final, Tottenham almost upstaged them.

With Spurs trailing 3-0 on aggregate at half-time of their second leg against Ajax, Lucas Moura struck three times in the second period with the last coming in the 96th-minute to see his side through to their first-ever Champions League final on away goals.

For the first time since 2008 and for just the second time in the 63-year history of the European Cup, two English teams had made it through to the final.

Liverpool had lost out on the Premier League title by just one point, with Pep Guardiola's Man City retaining their crown, despite recording the third-highest total in English football history.

Tottenham, after briefly threatening a title challenge, slumped to a fourth-placed finish, 27 points off Liverpool and clinching Champions League qualification by a single point.  

Understandably, Jurgen Klopp's beaten finalists 12 months earlier were the heavy favourites. Spurs' battle to get star striker Harry Kane fit in time for the biggest game in their history further tipped the balance in the opposition’s favour.

Tens of thousands of English fans packed out the bars and squares in Madrid days before kick-off, the majority without tickets to the match. The anticipation had been building ever since the dramatic semi-final comebacks three weeks previous.

Yet the tension eased just a minute into proceedings for the red half of the stadium. Sadio Mane craftily clipped a cross into the outstretched arm of Moussa Sissoko, who was pointing directions to his team-mates. 

A penalty was awarded and Mohamed Salah thrashed Liverpool into the lead to send the sea of red inside the Wanda Metropolitano into raptures.

Given Salah had left the pitch injured and in tears during the 2018 final in Kiev, it was a moment to savour for the Egyptian.

From then on, the final struggled to live up to what came before it. Instead the two sides played out a nervy contest of few clear-cut opportunities.

Tottenham saw Heung-min Son, Moura and Christian Eriksen efforts kept out by Alisson while Dele Alli might have done better from a promising position but could only muster a tame effort which was easy pickings for the Liverpool goalkeeper.

And with three minutes remaining Divock Origi, hero of the semi-final, put the game beyond doubt as the Belgian's low drive nestled in the bottom corner of Hugo Lloris' net.

Liverpool were champions and the final ended with wild celebrations from Klopp’s men. The Reds had conquered the continent for the sixth time in their history while Tottenham's first final at Europe's top table ended in disappointment.

One of the greatest campaigns in European Cup history ended with an all-English Champions League final and we're set for the same this time around.