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Final whistle goes to Micheľ

Slovakia's Ľuboš Micheľ will referee Wednesday's UEFA Champions League final between Manchester United FC and Chelsea FC at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow.

Ľuboš Micheľ will officiate the UEFA Champions League final
Ľuboš Micheľ will officiate the UEFA Champions League final ©Getty Images

Birthday surprise
Micheľ, who celebrated his 40th birthday last Friday, will be assisted by countrymen Roman Slysko (34) and Martin Balko (36) with another Slovakian, Vladimir Hrinak, acting as the fourth official. Born in Stropkov, Micheľ made his refereeing debut at a lower league match between FK Duplin and FK Strocin in 1987. By 1993, he had graduated to the Slovakian top division and, in November of that year, made his international debut in a UEFA European Under-21 Championship game between England and San Marino.

Many assignments
Micheľ was at the Sydney Olympics in 2000 and handled the Brazil v Argentina final of the 2005 FIFA Confederations Cup, where United's Carlos Tévez was a 72nd-minute substitute. He was the first Slovakian referee since independence to officiate at a FIFA World Cup match, the 2002 fixture between Paraguay and South Africa, while at the 2006 finals he oversaw the Portugal v Mexico game in which Chelsea's Paulo Ferreira and Ricardo Carvalho played, while United's Cristiano Ronaldo was on the bench. He was also in charge for Brazil's game against Ghana, where Michael Essien was an unused substitute, and the Argentina v Germany game, which featured Michael Ballack and Tévez.

UEFA Cup final
Micheľ was the referee for the 2003 UEFA Cup final between FC Porto and Celtic FC while at UEFA EURO 2004™, he handled the Greece v Spain, Switzerland v France and Sweden v Netherlands games. He made his UEFA Champions League debut in 1998 and is the best-placed among active referees to become the second, after Denmark's Kim Milton Nielsen, to reach the milestone of 50 appearances in the competition. He was the referee of the Liverpool FC v Chelsea semi-final in 2005.