This season’s Champions League final in Paris will be played between two clubs who share 19 European cups between them; Real Madrid and Liverpool.
One former player who is familiar with both clubs is Steve McManaman, who will be covering the blockbuster final match for BT Sport.
Betway sat down with McManaman ahead of the final and to discuss his time at Madrid during a time where everywhere he looked, there were superstars, or better known as ‘Galacticos’, across the dressing room.
“A lot of the players disliked the Galactico name,” explained McManaman.
“Luis (Figo) and Zizou (Zinedine Zidane) were the so-called Galacticos and Luis was great, Zizou was completely different because when he arrived he didn’t know Spanish. So he was actually quite quiet in the dressing room – quite a humble gentleman considering he was possibly the greatest player on the planet at that point.”
After spending nine seasons with his boyhood club Liverpool, McManaman made a famous switch to the capital of Spain in 1999. Soon after, the midfielder was scoring in the Champions League final for Madrid in a 3-0 victory over Valencia.
McManaman went on to become the first English player to win the Champions League twice with triumph in 2002 after a famous Zidane volley won Madrid their 9th European cup at the time.
McManaman went into detail on his transfer to Madrid and the feeling of scoring in a Champions League final.
“I finished my last game for Liverpool at Anfield, and 24 hours later my mother passed away, she’d been very ill for a while,” said McManaman.
“Six weeks later I left for Madrid. So my father couldn’t watch me every single game. There was pressure to do well to a certain extent.
“But the goal came out of nothing. A long throw-in, I think, got cleared in the air. I hit it really nicely, the goalkeeper was a little unsighted and it flew in. I turned and ran towards where my dad was and sort of celebrated towards them.”
Now getting to cover a second Madrid vs Liverpool Champions League final in four years (previously facing one other in 2018) for BT Sport, McManaman whilst wanting the best fortune for both clubs, wouldn’t mind either of his former clubs winning another Champions League crown.