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Tuesday, May 22, 2007

The Historical Records That May Be Set In Athens

Many records will be set both before and after the final game ends tomorrow night in the Olympic Stadium in Athens, Greece.

Paolo Maldini will play in his 8th European Cup/Champions League final. This will tie a record with the legendary Paco Gento of Real Madrid. If he and Billy Costacurta, a reserve, win for Milan, it will mark their fifth triumph, respectively. That will place them in very select company with Jose Zarraga and Alfredo Di Stefano from the great Real Madrid teams of the 50s and 60s. Paco Gento holds the record with six victories.

Clarence Seedorf, if victorious, will become the only man to win the Champions League with four different teams (Ajax, Real Madrid, and twice with AC Milan).

Liverpool becomes the first American owned team to play in the European Cup/Champions League final. Tom Hicks and George Gillette purchased the team earlier this year.

AC Milan coach Carlo Ancelotti has won the competition as both a player and a coach. If he wins tomorrow, he will become the only man to win it multiple times as a player and coach.

Real Madrid holds the record for the most European Cup/Champions League titles at nine. Presently, AC Milan has six, and Liverpool has five. Liverpool has only lost one title game in this competition, while Milan have lost four times.

Liverpool is ten out of eleven in penalty kick shoot-outs in European competitions.

The referee, Mr. Herbert Fandel of Germany, has blown the whistle five times in games involving the Milanese. They have never lost with him on the pitch. Regarding Liverpool, they have won twice and lost once with Mr. Fandel.

It should be an interesting game in Athens. Will Maldini lift the Cup for the fifth time in what may be his last competitive game? Or will Rafael Benitez continue with his impressive results in title games and bring the trophy back to the Merseyside?

For more on the final from BBC Sports, please click here.

For an excellent Wikipedia article about the European Cup/Champions League, which began in the 1955-56 season, (the Champions League began in 1992-93) please click here.

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