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six questions about a searing Champions League final in Paris

Who from Karim Benzema or Sadio Mané will lift the Champions League trophy? Panoramic.

The C1 final between Liverpool and Real Madrid will take place this Saturday evening (9 p.m.) at the Stade de France.

Where to see the final?

The final is played at the Stade de France, in Saint-Denis this Saturday evening. Kick off will be at 9 p.m. But if you don’t have a ticket, you will still have the opportunity to follow the confrontation between the Reds and the Merengues on your screens. Indeed, the match will be broadcast on no less than three different channels: on TF1 – so in the clear – as well as on the usual Champions League broadcasters Canal+ and RMC Sports. Suffice to say that you have no excuse to miss this magnificent poster.

SEE ALSO – Behind the scenes of Real Madrid’s arrival in Paris

Why was the match relocated to France?

Initially, the final was to be held in St. Petersburg. But at the end of February, after the Russian invasion of Ukraine, UEFA sought to move the venue of the meeting. As revealed The Team in its columns this Friday, several avenues have been studied by the European football institution: Budapest and its Ferenc-Puskás Stadium “brand new“, Lisbon and Porto with the two beautiful enclosures that are respectively the Luz Stadium and the Dragon Stadium, but also “Berlin, Munich, Rome and London“. In addition, three Gulf countries have requested the organization to host the last match of the 2021-2022 edition of the Champions League. However, Aleksander Ceferin would have rebuffed these “blank checks», having a clear preference for Paris.

By wanting to grant the final to the country which presides over the European Union during the first half of 2022, the President of UEFA has sought to place his action in the political field and in that of symbolism. Still according to the sports daily, the Slovenian would have gone discreetly to the Élysée Palace on February 24 to meet Emmanuel Macron there. Negotiations would have been quick. The choice of the Stade de France – which is located precisely in Saint-Denis and not in Paris, as Thierry Henry had humorously pointed out on British television – would then have been ratified the next day by the executive committee of the structure.

What probable compositions?

Several uncertainties remain concerning the team that Jürgen Klopp will line up this Saturday evening, both for sporting reasons – Ibrahima Konaté – and medical – Thiago Alcântara. On the eve of the final, the probable composition of the Reds is quite classic: Alisson in goal; a Trent Alexander-Arnold defense, Ibrahima Konate (or Joël Matip), Virgin van Dijk and Andrew Robertson; a midfield trio of Fabinho, Jordan Henderson and Naby Keïta (or Thiago Alcântara); and finally a brilliant attack with Mohamed Salah, Luis Díaz and Sadio Mané.

As far as Real Madrid is concerned, all the players are available. And no surprise is expected, except for a small one on the right side of the attack: Thibaut Courtois in the cages; Daniel Carvajal, Eder Militao, David Alaba and Ferland Mendy in defence; the usual Casemiro-Toni Kroos-Luka Modric trio – in midfield; then Federico Valverde – no doubt preferred to Rodrygo – with Vinicius Junior and Karim Benzema in attack.

Will Karim Benzema join Cristiano Ronaldo?

Karim Benzema already has four Champions League titles to his name (2014, 2016, 2017, 2018). This Saturday evening, if he were to lift the big-eared cup again, the Frenchman would join his ex-teammate Cristiano Ronaldo, who is the only player to have won the Champions League – in its modern format – five times. However, note that a large number of his partners could imitate him: Nacho, Daniel Carvajal, Marcelo, Casemiro, Toni Kroos, Luka Modric, Isco and Gareth Bale. Together they have the opportunity to write history.

Can the final affect the Ballon d’Or?

Two of the favorites for the Ballon d’Or 2021-2022 will face each other this Saturday evening: Karim Benzema, winner of the League of Nations with the Blues and La Liga with Real Madrid and Sadio Mané who won the African Cup nations with Senegal. Many observers believe that whichever of the two win the Champions League will have gone a long way towards football’s greatest individual trophy. However, in the last two attributions of the distinction – in 2021 and 2019 due to the Covid-19 pandemic – it was Lionel Messi who was elected by the voters. Yet the Argentinian had not raised the cup with the big ears. Thus, the Ballon d’Or is not certain to be played in this final.

What history between the two clubs?

Everyone remembers the 2018 Champions League final in which Zinédine Zidane’s Real Madrid, including a sumptuous acrobatic goal from Gareth Bale, won their third title in a row (3-1). Almost forty years ago – in 1981 – it was the Reds who emerged victorious in the Champions League final against Merengue thanks to a goal from Alan Kennedy. In all, Liverpool and Real Madrid have faced each other eight times. And the advantage, for now, is for the British team with four wins, a draw and three losses. Last year, in the quarter-finals of the Champions League, Carlo Ancelotti’s men eliminated Jürgen Klopp’s players (3-1; 0-0). The latter therefore have a nice revenge to take.

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