The 2012/13 UEFA Champions League final will be held at Wembley Stadium on 25 May as Europe's premier club competition visits the 'Home of Football' for a record seventh time. This will be the second showpiece since the venue was rebuilt and, if history is anything to go by, football fans everywhere can look forward to another special occasion. UEFA.com takes a glance back at the previous finals to have lit up the famous London landmark.
6 June 2011
FC Barcelona 3-1 Manchester United FC
(Pedro Rodríguez 27, Messi 54, Villa 69; Rooney 34)
Barcelona and Manchester United had both won their first European Cups at the old Wembley, but Sir Alex Ferguson's side could not resist Josep Guardiola's all-conquering team in the first decider staged at the redeveloped ground. United responded positively to Pedro Rodríguez's 27th-minute opener, Wayne Rooney levelling within seven minutes, yet had no answer once Messi restored the Barcelona lead early in the second period, with his 12th goal of the campaign matching Ruud van Nistelrooy's record set with United in 2002/03. (Messi would better that haul with 14 strikes the following season.) David Villa added a clinching third, before Éric Abidal – newly recovered from a liver tumour – stepped up to collect the trophy.
20 May 1992
UC Sampdoria 0-1 FC Barcelona (aet)
The last final to take place beneath the old stadium's twin towers was also the last before the dawn of the UEFA Champions League era, but it provided a memorable first for Barça as they claimed their maiden European crown. Boasting a blend of local talents such as Guardiola and big-name overseas players including Michael Laudrup and Hristo Stoichkov, the Catalan club nonetheless needed extra time to see off their Italian rivals, who looked to Attilio Lombardo, Roberto Mancini and Gianluca Vialli to carry their threat. Dutch international Ronald Koeman finally broke the deadlock in the 112th minute with a trademark free-kick past Gianluca Pagliuca.
10 May 1978
Liverpool FC 1-0 Club Brugge KV
After landing the European Cup for the first time the previous season, Liverpool became the first English team to successfully defend the title against surprise package Club Brugge. The Belgian side had dispatched the likes of Club Atlético de Madrid and Juventus en route to the showpiece but they enjoyed few chances in a one-sided encounter, which was decided by Kenny Dalglish's clipped finish over Birger Jensen on 64 minutes. The Scotland forward had been brought in to replace Kevin Keegan the preceding summer and could not have asked for a finer way to cap an excellent inaugural campaign with the Merseyside outfit.
2 June 1971
AFC Ajax 2-0 Panathinaikos FC
(Van Dijk 5, Haan 87)
Hot on the heels of Feyenoord, Ajax became the second team from the Netherlands to reach the European summit and it would prove the first of three consecutive titles for Johan Cruyff and company. Perfecting the total football philosophy of coach Rinus Michels – in his last term at the Amsterdam club before moving to Barcelona – Ajax overcame Ferenc Puskás's Panathinaikos thanks to a pair of goals 82 minutes apart. Dick van Dijk put the Dutch side ahead in the early exchanges, before Arie Haan sealed the result close to full time.
29 May 1968
Manchester United FC 4-1 SL Benfica (aet)
(Charlton 53 99, Best 92, Kidd 94; Graça 79)
Ten years on from the Munich air disaster, United earned their place in the history books as the first English club to lift the European Cup. Matt Busby's men had failed to win a single away match along the way, so it must have come as some comfort to be pitted against Benfica on relatively familiar soil, even if it took them until Bobby Charlton's 53rd-minute header to open the scoring. Jaime Graça brought the Portuguese team level with 11 minutes remaining, however, and Benfica came close to victory when Eusébio forced Alex Stepney into a late save, a moment they surely regretted when George Best and Brian Kidd struck within the first four minutes of extra time. The last word then fell to Munich survivor Charlton.
22 May 1963
AC Milan 2-1 SL Benfica
(Altafini 58 69; Eusébio 19)
Wembley had proved an unlucky venue for Benfica five years earlier as well, when the Lisbon outfit missed out on a third consecutive continental crown to a Milan side determined to bring the trophy to Italy for the first time. The Rossoneri came to London boasting the likes of Gianni Rivera, Cesare Maldini and Giovanni Trapattoni, yet the match bore the stamp of Brazilian striker José Altafini, who found the net on 58 and 69 minutes after Eusébio had raised Benfica hopes with a 19th-minute breakthrough. Altafini's double took his tally in the competition to 14 for the season, US Luxembourg having seen him put eight past them in the opening round.
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