UEFA Champions League: Istanbul, the long-awaited final

Between Istanbul and the final of the Great Azan Cup, there is a contradictory love story. First there was the unforgettable match between Liverpool and Milan in 2005 (3-3), then two consecutive postponements in 2020 and 2021. So the slogan “The Road to Istanbul” will finally reach its destination at the end of the 2023 season, in its English baggage of Manchester City and the Italians of Inter Milan .

Xabi Alonso after scoring the 3-3 goal against AC Milan in the 2005 UEFA Champions League Final. © PA Wire / PA Images

2020 covid error

In 2018, the Ataturk Olympic Stadium was designated to host the 2020 UEFA Champions League Final, as the global COVID-19 pandemic brought the sport to a halt. Therefore, UEFA decided to select the eighth final behind closed doors on the land of Lisbon during the month of August. Thus, the Turkish capital is deprived of the final match, but it is only a postponement since it was postponed to the following year.

2021, fail again

In the spring of 2021, the COVID-19 crisis is still raging in Europe, and Istanbul once again drops out of the final. This time, it’s the poster between two English clubs, Chelsea and Manchester City, that poses a problem. Turkey is not on the UK’s green list, and its supporters cannot travel to the city of Istanbul without going into quarantine upon their return. Then UEFA decided to find a new replacement and Aleksander Ceferin announced: “Fans have had to suffer for over twelve months without the possibility of seeing their teams in the stadium. Denying them the opportunity to experience the final right away was not an option, and I am glad to see that a compromise was reached.Thus, Portugal, on the United Kingdom’s green list, has once again been chosen to host the final meeting of the 2020-2021 UEFA Champions League season.

Chelsea players joy after their Champions League final victory over Manchester City on May 29, 2021 at the Dragon Stadium in Porto © POOL / AFP

2023, this time is the occasion

Never two without three. Last month, the press raised the issue of a new transfer. English media spoke about this possibility because of the elections that took place in Turkey at the end of May. UEFA denied information that it was “very reluctant” to change the venue of the final at the time. Therefore, Istanbul is preparing this Saturday to receive the Champions League final (finally), and perhaps in the end, a new miracle.

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