Here’s a satisfying thought…
Come Saturday night, one of Jurgen Klopp or Mauricio Pochettino will be able to respond to the ‘bUt WhAt HaVe YoU wOn?!’ losers by posing with the Champions League trophy.
The all-English final in Madrid stokes memories of Man United and Chelsea’s dramatic 2008 showdown in Moscow.
In what can only be described as predictable build-up content, we’ve assembled a combined XI from the 2008 starting line-ups to take on a 2019 finalists’ XI in a hypothetical match-up for the ages.
Before our rambling justifications, here’s the ’08 megamix…
Bear in mind we were restricted to the actual starting line-ups from that fateful night in Moscow — E.G we could only choose between Joe Cole and Owen Hargreaves for our right winger, and so on.
So many 50:50 decisions here: Petr Cech vs Edwin van der Sar, Didier Drogba vs Wayne Rooney, Ricardo Carvalho vs John Terry vs Nemanja Vidic vs Rio Ferdinand.
2008 offered premium talent in every position… except right-back.
Avram Grant named Michael Essien at right-back for Chelsea while Wes Brown (no disrespect) dutifully filled in for United.
These selections actually had a huge bearing on the game as Fergie decided to play Cristiano Ronaldo from the left so he could target the out-of-position Ghana international.
United’s goal came from a Brown cross to the Portuguese at the back post where Essien offered little protection against Ronaldo’s superhuman leap.
You may feel we’ve got a couple of the close calls wrong but we can all agree the midfield is a work of art, right?
Now for this year’s XI…
Quite Liverpool heavy.
Spurs fans will probably be crying out for Dele Alli over Jordan Henderson; we hear you loud and clear.
However, nothing annoys us more than imbalanced hypothetical XIs.
When we do them, we imagine that the game will actually take place and construct the team with realistic balance in mind — none of that sneaking a forward into a three-man midfield just to accommodate everyone nonsense.
If we were actually to play a game, the 2019 side would get overrun in midfield with both Christian Eriksen and Dele Alli in the starting line-up; hence Hendo.
Toby Alderweireld, Son Heung-min, Roberto Firmino and Gini Wijnaldum may feel they’ve been overlooked (actually, they couldn’t care less what we think).
More importantly, what do you reckon? What would you change? And, crucially, which team would win?
We’re inclined to give it to the 2008 crop but that may be nostalgia talking.
Let us know in the Facebook comments!