On this day in sport: Barcelona's maiden European Cup triumph and Del Piero's Juve farewell

By Sports Desk May 20, 2020

May 20 stands as a momentous day in Barcelona's history.

It was on this date that Barca won the European Cup for the first time, making it a watershed moment for one of the most iconic sports teams on the planet.

Speaking of which, this was also a day on which their bitter rivals Real Madrid enjoyed continental success.

And while a Juventus legend waved farewell in 2012, a fellow Italian made his mark in a historic FA Cup final for Chelsea.

 

1992 – Barcelona seal European Cup glory

Barca were crowned champions of Europe on this day in 1992, with Ronald Koeman the hero after scoring a stunning extra-time free-kick.

After losing in their two previous final outings, Barca nervily got over the line against Sampdoria at Wembley in what was the final edition of the European Cup before the Champions League rebranding.

The Catalan giants have now won the competition five times, although they did have to wait another 14 years for their second.

1998 – Real Madrid end Champions League drought

In another close-run affair, Real Madrid edged out Juventus in the 1998 Champions League final.

Predrag Mijatovic's second-half strike settled matters in Amsterdam, sealing Madrid's first title in the tournament for 32 years.

The top scorer in that year's Champions League was Juve's Alessandro Del Piero, who is the focus of another memorable May 20 event.

2012 – Del Piero's Juve farewell

Club legend Del Piero played his final game for Juve in 2012.

Sadly, it was not a fitting ending to his glorious career, with Napoli inflicting a 2-0 defeat in the Coppa Italia final.

Del Piero hung up his boots after making more than 700 appearances for the Turin club, with whom he won six Serie A titles and one Champions League crown.

2000 – Di Matteo strike vital in last Wembley FA Cup final 

The 2000 FA Cup final was the last one at the old Wembley stadium and Chelsea claimed the honours.

Future Chelsea manager Roberto Di Matteo's 73rd-minute goal broke Aston Villa's hearts as Gianluca Vialli led the Blues to victory.

It was the Di Matteo's second FA Cup final goal, as he also scored in a 2-0 win over Middlesbrough in 1997.

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    ROUND-UP

    - Erling Haaland's future remains up in the air, reports Diario AS. The in-demand Borussia Dortmund sensation has been linked with Barca, Real Madrid, Manchester City, Manchester United, Liverpool, PSG, Juventus, Chelsea and Bayern Munich. Speculation over his next move intensified as he followed Barca captain Lionel Messi on Instagram amid the Camp Nou club's interest.

    - Diario Sport claims Ousmane Dembele's contract talks with Barcelona have stalled. Dembele, who is contracted until 2021-22, has been linked with United and Liverpool.

    United and Liverpool are both eyeing Sevilla star Youssef En-Nesyri, says Estadio Deportivo. Sevilla are reportedly demanding in the region of £40million (€46m) for the forward.

    - Russian powerhouse Zenit are interested in signing Barca defender Samuel Umtiti, reports Fabrizio Romano. Liverpool, United and Chelsea have been linked previously.

    Gianluigi Donnarumma and Milan remain at an impasse regarding contract talks, according to Gianluca Di Marzio. The star Milan and Italy goalkeeper is out of contract at the end of the season and the likes of PSG, Chelsea, Juve and United have emerged as possible destinations.

  • European Super League: Unforgiveable, betrayed and selfish – Chelsea, Spurs & Man Utd Supporters' Trusts slam breakaway plans European Super League: Unforgiveable, betrayed and selfish – Chelsea, Spurs & Man Utd Supporters' Trusts slam breakaway plans

    The Supporters' Trusts of Chelsea, Tottenham, Manchester United and Arsenal slammed the announcement of a breakaway competition to rival UEFA's Champions League, the European Super League (ESL).

    Chelsea, Tottenham, United and Arsenal are among the 12 teams confirmed to form the new Super League, which also includes Premier League rivals Liverpool and Manchester City, as well as LaLiga trio Real Madrid, Barcelona, Atletico Madrid and Serie A's Juventus, Inter and Milan.

    Despite significant opposition from UEFA, the respective leagues and the UK Government, and widespread condemnation, the ESL's plans were confirmed on Sunday.

    It has been met with strong criticism, with Chelsea Supporters' Trust releasing a damning statement in response.

    "They say expect the unexpected, but today the Chelsea Supporters' Trust [CST], our members and football supporters across the world have experienced the ultimate betrayal," the statement read.

    "This is a decision of greed to line the pockets of those at the top and it has been made with no consideration for the loyal supporters, our history, our future of the future of football in this country.

    "It is likely that this proposal with never come into existence, however, it speaks volumes that [Chelsea] are prepared to risk our existence in the Premier League and the FA Cup.

    "The CST has held extensive talks with CFC over the past few weeks regarding various issues and there has been no mention of his secretive proposal. The CST and its members demand answers. This is unforgiveable. Enough is enough."

    Arsenal Supporters' Trust tweeted: "The death of Arsenal as a sporting institution."

    Tottenham Supporters' Trust issued a powerful statement, saying: "Tottenham Hotspur was the first British club to win a European trophy. We blazed a trail that caught the imagination of fans everywhere. Yesterday, the current Board of THFC betrayed the club, its history and the magic that makes this game so special when they put their name to a statement announcing the formation of a breakaway European Super League.

    "This statement, signed by self-appointed 'leading clubs', was put out late on a Sunday night. It was made not only after no consultation with supporters, but in the face of clearly stated opposition to key parts of the announcement. 
     
    "We have always tried to maintain a pragmatic position of engagement with the Board of THFC, even under the most trying of circumstances. But enough is enough. The current Board is prepared to risk the club's reputation and its future in the opportunistic pursuit of greed. One of England's most famous clubs could find itself expelled from English league competition. Its players could be banned from international competition. And yet the current owners – mere custodians of a 139-year-old institution – are prepared to risk it all for avarice and self-aggrandisement.
     
    "We demand the Board immediately disassociates itself from the breakaway league. Only then can meaningful discussions about change take place. If the Board does not do this, we will have no choice but to call on new owners prepared to safeguard the past, present and future of our great club to step forward and work with us."

    Manchester United Supporters' Trust added: "A 'Super League' based on a closed shop of self-selected wealthy clubs goes against everything football, and Manchester United, should stand for.

    "To bring forward these proposals without any fan consultation, and in the midst of a global pandemic when people should be pulling together not serving their own selfish interests, just adds insult to injury."

  • European Super League: Man Utd co-chairman Glazer talks up 'increased financial support for wider football pyramid' European Super League: Man Utd co-chairman Glazer talks up 'increased financial support for wider football pyramid'

    Manchester United co-chairman and vice-chairman of the European Super League (ESL) Joel Glazer said the breakaway competition will provide "increased financial support for the wider football pyramid".

    Six English clubs, three Italian sides and three Spanish teams have joined forces to create a tournament to rival the Champions League, which has long been in the offing, despite significant opposition from UEFA and the respective leagues.

    The Premier League's "big six" – Manchester United, Manchester City, Liverpool, Chelsea, Arsenal and Tottenham – are the teams to have signed up alongside LaLiga champions Real Madrid, Barcelona, Atletico Madrid, Serie A holders Juventus, Milan and their city rivals Inter.

    The Glazer family have long been scrutinised since purchasing United in 2005, and Joel – who also serves as chairman of NFL Super Bowl champions the Tampa Bay Buccaneers – addressed Sunday's announcement.

    "By bringing together the world's greatest clubs and players to play each other throughout the season, the Super League will open a new chapter for European football, ensuring world-class competition and facilities, and increased financial support for the wider football pyramid," he said in a statement.

    UEFA was joined by the top five European leagues and the English Football Association (FA) in opposing the plans, while FIFA also expressed its "disapproval" of the new competition.

    Former United captain Gary Neville called for harsh punishment of the Premier League sides involved, including relegation.

    Rio Ferdinand, who played alongside Neville at Old Trafford, was also scathing of the Premier League clubs.

    Asked if the teams should face immediate sanctions, Ferdinand told BT Sport: "100 per cent. I think this breakaway group of teams, this is a war on football. It's a disgrace. It's embarrassing. And it goes against everything football is about.

    "It's a closed shop for these bigwigs and it's completely and utterly only about one thing and that's money. The rich getting richer and the others not even being considered. There's no consideration for the history, for the people in the different parts of the pyramid below the top, top teams that they’re trying to separate from.

    "It's a disgrace, I can't believe it.  How have they got the audacity to do it in the climate we're in at the moment with the pandemic around the world? People struggling in the streets, people struggling all around the world, and these lot are sitting there in their own little pub or room somewhere, speaking and talking and colluding about this little idea they've had and then come out and break it like this.

    "It's a disgrace and I think the element of being anti-competitive goes against everything football is about. Relegation, promotion, being rewarded for winning, being punished for not winning: these are things that add to the value of our game that we love.

    "It shows me that these people have no idea what football is about. It's purely a business transaction, that's it. There's no thought for anyone else in the pyramid, there's no consideration at all. I can't believe it.

    "The people that actually support this game and make it what it is – we've been here all this time without fans, with them this game doesn't feel the same. And they're the people that this is going to hurt more than anyone, and the grassroots. The people that make this game special are not being considered, it's the people at the top end of the game who are making decisions without thinking about anything other than their pockets."

    On United, Ferdinand added: "I'm embarrassed. There's been so many things thrown at the owners over the past few years, but this situation now – to be a part of that group that want to break away and leave everybody for dead – that's an embarrassment.

    "I can't believe it. I'm sorry, I'm a Man United fan, I love the club, but I can't stand by and support something like that at all."

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