Chelsea wins the Champions League : All the best reactions, quotes, stats, and interestng facts from the final

30.5.2021.  
Chelsea wins the Champions League : All the best reactions, quotes, stats, and interestng facts from the final

In what was one of the more attacking-minded finals of any football competition in recent memory, Chelsea defeated Manchester City 1:0 (1:0) with a goal from their young wonderboy Kai Havertz.


With the biggest club game of the year done, it's far from being dusted. As many interesting facts, stats, quotes, and reactions have come after the match. Including the ones regarding the gifted sneakers Thomas Tuchel received, N'Golo Kante defying physics, and Pep Guardiola sticking to his questionable selection.


Champions League 2020/2021 final - Pep Guardiola’s team selection


Starting with the former, the nearly consensus best manager in the game, Pep Guardiola was the but of the most jokes even since the game started. Especially after the tide has turned to the Blues.


The Manchester City boss came out with no propper striker, which was expected. But Raheem Sterling starting was not. The England winger got the nod ahead of Gabriel Jesus and possibly the club legend Sergio Aguero despite playing just eight minutes in the semi-finals, and two in the quarter-finals. Sterling didn't get a full 90 minutes even in the two games of the first knockout stage. While he displayed a lack of composure in big games last season against Lyon when he missed a sitter.


A further surprise was that Guardiola started neither Rodri nor Fernandinho. Even though the Spaniard played 53 games this season for City and the Brazilian captain 36. Ilkay Gundogan was the only defensive-minded midfielder in the squad with the goal being to keep the ball at all cost.


Another questionable decision is to play makeshift left-back Oleksandr Zinchenko when Joao Cancelo and the €57,500,000 paid Benjamin Mendy.


"I did the best in the selection. Against Lyon [in 2020] like it was against PSG, Dortmund, I tried the selection the best to win the game. The players know it, I think Ilkay Gundogan played good, we were exceptional. Gundogan played many years in this position. To have speed, to find the small players, the quality, the brilliant players, inside, in the middle and between the lines. This was the decision," said Guardiola.

Even though many media sources claimed this final was the battle of the richest. A money bought-ticket, Chelsea can skew those claims a bit more than City. Since Guardiola arrived at City in 2016, the club has recorded a net spending of €620,000,000 higher than any side with Manchester United next with €66,000,000 million less. While Chelsea is eight with €333,000,000 spent less.


Although it has to be said that Pep Guardiola lost his first ever cup final with Manchester City, winning the previous seven. It was his only second loss in a final at any club, after one loss to Real Madrid in the Copa del Rey final in the 2010/2011 season with Barcelona.


Former Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand believes Guardiola tinkered too much with team selection.


"He changed the way he had played all season. He has always had Rodri or Fernandinho in there but he changed it. We know tactically he tinkers, he might have seen a weakness in there but Thomas Tuchel nullified any threat. We saw Riyad Mahrez and Raheem Sterling played really wide, they've not really done that this season and maybe that is something City did wrong."


Chelsea win the Champions League 2020/2021

While one manager is getting criticized the other one is getting lauded. Deservedly so. Since arriving at Chelsea, Thomas Tuchel played against Guardiola three times, twice against Zinedine Zidane and Diego Simeone, and once against each of Jurgen Klopp, Jose Mourinho, and Carlo Ancelotti this season. He recorded nine wins, no defeats, and conceded only two goals.


His energy spurred the team on in the rare moments when it seemed as City might take the reigns.


Tuchel on the other hand didn't change much for the game, although he did keep Mason Mount and Kai Havertz more central when City had the ball, forcing them outwards.


"We expected Fernandinho in the line-up, to start. He chose a very offensive line-up, a very tactical line-up. It's very hard to steal and recover the ball. Everything else we more or less expected," said Tuchel


Tuchel recorded a hat-trick for German managers as Klopp won in 2019, Hansi Flick last year, and he in 2021. Tuchel won the big trophy after losing to Flick last year when he was at Paris Saint-Germain. While it's known that the German and his former club didn’t separate under the best conditions, Tuchel did enjoy seemingly rubbing the sack back into the executives of the Saints.


In the dressing room celebrations, Tuchel was seen amped as ever, lifting his sneakers with the rest of the team like it was a trophy.


"I had these shoes in Paris and I made a promise that we will wear these shoes when we reach the Champions League final. They were a present from the president at PSG and I promised my staff I would wear them in the final and I did not wear them so we lost and I wore them today and they worked."



German Tuchel was only given an 18-month contract when he joined the club in January and met owner Roman Abramovich for the first time in person after the game. While also stating he might be due a new contract automatically according to his manager.


"I spoke to the owner right now on the pitch. I think it was the best moment for a first meeting. Or the worst as from now on it can only get worse! We will speak tomorrow, we will speak later. We are in contact, but not personally. We are in constant contact and he knows what’s going on from me indirectly and now it is nice to meet him," said Tuchel.


Chelsea took the record for the least goals conceded in a team that won the Champions League, getting only four in 13 games. With a part of the plaudits going to Frank Lampard certainly.


A part goes to the first African goalkeeper to win the CL, Edouard Mendy, as he kept nine clean sheets in 12 CL matches this season – no goalkeeper has kept more in a single campaign in the competition.


Yet the chosen and consensus man of the match was N'Golo Kante.


He has gained 10 possessions tonight, succeeded in all of his take ons, while never making a single foul. Oh, he also won the most aerial duels for Chelsea, four, while being the shortest man on the pitch.


Other players of Chelsea deserve plaudits too, Mason Mount for the assist made for the goal, extinguishing the critics once and for all. Reece James being a wall and making seven successful tackles. With Kai Havertz's name written in the game with golden letters, as the scorer of the Champions League final aged 21, in his debut season.


"I've waited 15 years for this moment and now it's here," said the match winner.


Manchester has been at the losing end of both continental finals with United and City losing. But in London, the blue side of it is celebrating their second triumph in the competition since the 2012 win over Bayern Munich. At that time, Mason Mount was already at the club for seven years.



Champions League final 2020/2021 Interesting facts


Mateo Kovacic has won his fourth Champions League trophy after getting three with Real Madrid. Yet he has played only 17 minutes in all of those finals combined.


Although his countrymen have a reason to boast as nine last Champions League winners had a Croatian in their side. Be it Luka Modric, Ivan Rakitic, Dejan Lovren, Ivan Perisic, or Mario Mandzukic who started the trend.


Top scorer of the 2020/2021 Champions League season

Even though his Borussia Dortmund was eliminated in the quarter-finals and even though he only played eight games in the competition, Erling Haaland got the Champions League top scorer award for the 2020/2021 season! The Norweigan wonder scored 10 goals in this iteration of his favourite competition, six in the group stages against Lazio, Zenit Saint Petersburg, and Club Brugge. While getting braces in both games against Sevilla in the first stage of knockouts.


He is, of course, the youngest ever Champions League top scorer ever aged 20. Kylian Mbappe was second with eight goals. Haaland scored a goal every 70th minute while the two years older PSG player got one every 112 minutes spent on the pitch on average.


For comparisons, only in his fifth season with Manchester United did the current top scorer in the competition's history, Cristiano Ronaldo, get the season top scorer award. Back in the 2007/2008 season he scored eight goals and got the first of his total six individual accolades of this type.


Top assist maker of the 2020/2021 Champions League season


Despite his side getting surprisingly eliminated early on in the knockout stages against Porto, Juventus' Juan Cuadrado will have something to savour this season for. He won the accolade of the best assist maker in the 2020/2021 Champions League season. Getting six assists, three against Ferencvaros, and one each against Dynamo Kyiv and Barcelona in the group stages, with one coming against the Portuguese side.




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