OMG!! It’s almost time! Just a few more hours until the most epic UEFA Final kickoff! Can you feel the excitement in the air? Can you feel the sweaty soccer boots on your feet? No? Me neither. I don’t do soccer. But I do funny, crazy and interesting. And that pretty much sums up these 5 UEFA facts. So grab your beer, your non-existent soccer jersey and your chips and let’s get going!
(And if you happen to live and breathe soccer, I bet you didn’t know these things either…)
1. The English are hooligans
Ok, well, granted…we all knew that! But UEFA history just proved what we always suspected. The English teams were banned from participating in the Champions League from 1986 all the way through until 1991. A massive fight between the ruddy Liverpuddlian (yes, that’s a word) fans and the Juventus fans broke out in the Heysel Stadium just before the kick off, resulting in 39 deaths and 600 injured fans. All English clubs were banned from UEFA games for 5 years and Liverpool was banned from ALL European competition for 6 long years. What do we learn from this? Unless you’re Vinnie Jones, being a hooligan just doesn’t pay!
2. Old people can’t play
If you had dreamed of storming the field, thundering applause raining down on you as your trot around the stadium, tripping and faking the odd injury, then I may have to crush your dreams. Sorry. The average retirement age for international soccer players is somewhere between 34 and 36. The oldest ever UEFA player is Marco Ballotta, who played up until the ripe old age of, brace yourself, 43! So if you’re thinking “hey, I can still be a referee, their jobs are pretty awesome too”, then you might have a chance! The official retirement age for UEFA referees is 45. Not half bad… retired at 45 and travelling the world?
3. You can win a fake trophy
I know, right! How exciting! A fake trophy, *whoop, whoop!* The replica trophy is so prestigious because UEFA never gives away the real trophy, so at least the winning teams can pretend to have the real thing 😉 This rule has been in play since 2009, before that, any team that won the title three times in a row or five times in total, got to keep the real deal. Real Madrid, Ajax, Bayern München, Milan, Barcelona and the rowdy bunch, aka Liverpool all still have an original in their trophy cupboards.
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4. Trophies can’t be made overnight
In fact, they can’t be made over two nights either! If you’re moonlighting as a trophy-maker and have been commissioned to make the sixth UEFA Champions League, and take the average night to be 8 hours, you’ll be working 43 nights. No sleeping though! Trophy-maker Stadelmann said that it took him 340 working hours to finish the current UEFA trophy, and he was under immense pressure to get it done before his wedding and boat trip to LA. See, moonlighting as a trophy-maker is a viable source of income if you don’t cut it as a soccer champ!
5. Spain pretty much owns the UEFA Champions League
No, really… check this out:
- The current title holder: Real Madrid
- In the final this year: Real Madrid (and Juventus)
- Club with most titles won: Real Madrid (11 titles)
- Nation with most titles won: Spain (16 titles)
- Player with most appearances: Iker Casillas, Span (164 appearances)
- First team to ever win the title: Real Madrid (1956)
Let’s see if Real Madrid can retain their title and their fame in tomorrow’s game against Juventus!