When 22 small children walk out hand-in-hand with their idols Saturday evening in Lisbon, and the greatest/worst song ever composed plays for the final time this season, the Estádio da Luz will welcome the 59th playing of Europe's most iconic club football (soccer) tournament.
It's Madrid vs. Madrid. Real contra Atlético. Ronaldo and Bale against Costa and Turan? Well, injury woes for both squads aside, the Lisbon night should offer great soccer spectacle. Here's a preview of the records sure to be broken, and some up for grabs.
(And, sorry, an American writing here, so we'll be calling it soccer for the rest of the post!)
Much has already been made of this being the first-ever Champions League final featuring opponents from the same city. So there's that, which you maybe already knew. Of course, that lends this particular iteration of the Madrid derby to the record for the shortest distance between two Champions League finals opponents. The clubs' home grounds sit just a 7-km (4.35 mi) walk from each other in the Spanish capital. Liverpool-Everton in 2016 anybody?
Also of geographic note, Spain is the country with the most all-domestic Champions League finals. This year follows Real Madrid vs. Valencia in 2000. Italy, England, and Germany have all accomplished the feat once.
Each side enters the Luz with some Champions League history on its coattails - Real for its rampant success and Atlético for its lack thereof.
Los Blancos already own the record for the most wins of (9) and appearances in (12) the Champions League final, the first in 1956 (above). They hope appearance No. 13 will prove lucky for title No. 10. If so, their manager Carlo Ancelotti will make history of his own. The Italian would tie the record three Champions League crowns won with Liverpool's Bob Paisley, who helmed victors in 1977-78 and 1981.
Atlético, meanwhile, can consider itself just happy to be back at the dance. Appearing in its second final in 40 years, Atlético's streak for the longest duration between Champions League finals appearances is now over. It lost to Bayern Munich in 1974.
ALL EYES ON CR7
No matter where or when he plays, Cristiano Ronaldo draws the attention of anyone watching. The question for Saturday, though, is if. Saddled by a recent thigh injury, Ronaldo claims he'll be 100 percent for the final and, if he is, will have a chance to add to an ongoing personal record onslaught.
Like Don Quixote chasing windmills, Ronaldo has already notched the records for most goals scored in a Champions League season with 16 in the current campaign, and is fresh off the most Champions League goals scored in a calendar year with 15 in 2013. He sits at 7 scored so far in 2014, well on pace to perhaps break his own record this year, starting with a good showing Saturday.
And should Ronaldo go jamón ibérico on Saturday and score four goals, he would also tie Real legend Raúl for most career Champions League goals at 71. And if you think that's out of the realm of possibility, watch above for what the Portuguese locomotive can do in a deciding game.
So who ya got? The party will either pop off outside the Bernabéu or Vicente Calderón when all is said and done. We'll be watching.
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