On This Day in Football History – May 22: George Best Born, Juventus Win a Champions League Final & Milito Magic

It’s May, in case you’d forgotten. We should be gearing up for the Champions League final and Euro 2020 right now, but thanks to COVID-19 all of that has been put on ice.

So, what is a football fan to do in these frustrating times? Simple. Take a trip down memory lane of course. Nostalgia is the perfect tonic to your sporting withdrawal symptoms.

With that in mind, here are some football things for you to enjoy – which all happened on this day throughout history.


1946 – George Best is Born

George Best

On this day in 1946, George Best was born. One third of the United Trinity – who helped Manchester United become the first English club to lift the European Cup in 1968 – Best is one of the most fondly remembered players in the club’s history.

The Northern Irishman was an unstoppable dribbler. Equipped with an extensive arsenal of tricks, he feinted and flicked his way around defenders with ease.

Alcoholism would dim his genius during the latter part of his career and life but the memories he created for a generation of United supporters – and football fans in general – will last forever.


1987 – Arturo Vidal is Born

Real Madrid v FC Barcelona – La Liga Santander

Arturo Vidal has had some career. Very few players can boast about having a Serie A, Bundesliga and La Liga’s winners medal and even fewer can say they’ve also experienced similar success with their country as Vidal did at the 2015 Copa América.

Often misrepresented as solely an industrious midfield shuttler, the Chilean is one of the most complete players of his generation, complimenting his incredible work rate with a deceptive eye for goal and ample creativity.

Though his story is now approaching its final act, Vidal will be remembered fondly when he eventually retires. Happy birthday Arturo.


1996 – Juventus Actually Win a Champions League Final

CHAMPIONS LEAGUE 1995/96

No team in history has a worse record in European finals than Juventus. The Old Lady have been runners up no less than seven times, making their victory in 1996 even sweeter.

It was not the most comfortable win by any means with Marcello Lippi’s side needing penalties to dispatch of Louis van Gaal’s excellent Ajax side.

Juventus – lined up in a 4-3-3 formation including three out and out strikers – took the lead through Fabrizio Ravanelli, before Jari Litmanen scored his ninth Champions League goal of the season to level things up before the break.

The scores remained level for the rest of regulation and extra time with misses by Edgar Davids and Sonny Silooy in the resultant shootout gifting Juventus their second European Cup.


2010 – Inter End 45 Year Wait for European Glory

Inter Milan players celebrate with the t

Today marks a decade since Inter won their first Champions League since 1965, beating fellow finalists Bayern Munich 2-0 at the Santiago Bernabeu.

After miraculously defeating Pep Guardiola’s Barcelona in the semi final, I Nerazzurri dispatched of the Bundesliga champions courtesy of a brace from Diego Milito.

Milito’s first strike was route one at its absolute best with the Argentine nodding down Julio Cesar’s long ball to Goran Pandev who then slipped in his strike partner to fire home. His second on the other hand was a fine solo effort which capped off a man of the match performance.


2011 – A Dramatic Premier League Final Day

Wolverhampton Wanderers’ fans celebrate

Going into the final day of the 2010/2011 Premier League season, two relegation spots still had to be filled with no less than five teams still in danger of the drop.

Wigan and Blackpool were 19th and 18th respectively with Birmingham, Wolves and Blackburn all within touching distance of the dreaded drop zone. It was a ridiculously dramatic culmination to an entertaining season

Ian Holloway’s entertaining Blackpool side had the hardest game of the bunch against champions Manchester United but they very nearly overcame the odds. The Tangerines took a 2-1 lead courtesy of Gary Taylor-Fletcher before a United onslaught condemned them to relegation.

Elsewhere Blackburn squeezed a 3-2 victory against Wolves while Birmingham’s defeat to Tottenham saw them take the final relegation spot. Of course, highlights from the games where screened alongside each other later that evening on Match of the Day for maximum tension.


2016 – Barcelona Win Copa del Rey

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Back in 2016, Barcelona needed extra time to defeat Unai Emery’s Sevilla in a fiery Copa del Rey final.

The game witnessed no less than three red cards with Javier Mascherano, Ever Banega and Daniel Carrico all being given their marching orders for various indiscretions.

It would take until the seventh minute of additional for the game’s first goal with Jordi Alba latching onto Lionel Messi’s lofted pass and sneaking the ball past Sergio Rico. Neymar then put the game beyond in second half stoppage time, with Messi again providing the assist.


2016 – England Step Up Euro 2016 Preparations

England v Turkey – International Friendly

Four years ago, England took on Turkey in a warm up match for Euro 2016. With captain Wayne Rooney suffering with injury, Harry Kane and man of the moment Jamie Vardy played up front together – with both getting on the scoresheet in a 2-1 win in Manchester.

Kane got the Three Lions off to a perfect start by slotting away Delle Ali’s cute pass with just three minutes played – even though the Spurs man was about a yeard offside.

Hakan Calhanoglu then scored a scrappy equaliser before Vardy scored an either scrappier winner ten minutes from time. What a great result, we’re sure that Euro 2016 went just as well, right? Right?!


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The Most Memorable Matches Played at Inter & AC Milan’s Iconic San Siro

The curtain is slowly drawing on the iconic San Siro. Both Inter and AC Milan are making inroads on their way to building a new stadium, one that will see their long-time home almost entirely demolished in the process.

It will bring with it exciting new times for both clubs, but it will also be an emotional farewell to one of world football’s most famous venues.

Over the years Italy’s biggest ground has played host to a vast array of exciting and memorable matches, not always involving both clubs, and sometimes not involving either at all.

So as we near the end of San Siro’s legacy, let’s take a look back on some of the most memorable games played in this prestigious arena.


1949 – Inter 6-5 AC Milan

This is one of the most famous derby clashes between the two sides, as to this day it remains the highest scoring Derby della Madonnina fixture.

I Nerazzurri found themselves in a precarious position in the match as Milan ran riot to lead 4-1, and as underdogs prior to kick off, it seemed unlikely that any sort of comeback would materialise.

What they pulled off was something quite spectacular, though. A rip-roaring fightback saw Inter not only level the match, but claim the three points with an incredible 6-5 win inspired by Amedeo Amadei’s hat trick.


1970 – Feyenoord 2-1 Celtic

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At a point in history in which Dutch football was gaining prominence due to the fine national side and Ajax’s great team of the early 70s, it was fellow Dutch alumni who would secure the European Cup with a last-gasp victory over their Scottish opponents.

Tommy Gemmel bagged the opener for Celtic – who were looking to lift the trophy for the second time in three years – only for Rinus Israel to equalise shortly after. Neither side could be separated after 90 minutes, and with three minutes left of extra time it seemed penalties would be the deciding factor.

That was before prolific Swedish striker Ole Kindvall had his say, firing home late in the tie to break Celtic hearts and secure Feyenoord their first and only European Cup.


1989 – Inter 2-1 Napoli

Heading into this tie with just five rounds of fixtures left to play in the Serie A season, there was only one side left who could challenge Inter for the title: Diego Maradona’s Napoli.

Careca opened the scoring for the hosts with a thunderous 30-yard strike, but Napoli’s joy was cut short after the break when Nicola Berti’s shot took a wicked deflection off of Luca Fusi to nestle into the net and levels matters.

But Giovanni Trapattoni’s side were unstoppable that year. There is a reason that season is know as Inter dei record (Inter of records), because they simply couldn’t stop winning. This was to be their day, and Lothar Matthäus was to be the match winner with a superb 83rd minute free kick.

That goal handed the home side their 13th league title, in one of San Siro’s most memorable clashes.


1989 – AC Milan 5-0 Real Madrid

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Despite the magnificence of the Milan side that year, their path to the Champions League semi-finals hadn’t exactly been a smooth one. Sure, they thumped Levski Sofia in the first round, but had to battle their way through Red Star Belgrade and Werder Bremen in the following stages.

So when Madrid were next up it would prove to be their toughest clash of the competition yet. A hard-fought 1-1 draw at the Santiago Bernabeu put them in a great place to reach the final, but the manner in which they did secure victory was spectacular.

Carlo Ancelotti put the hosts ahead on 17 minutes, and then a rampant Rossoneri simply blew Los Blancos away. Frank Rijkaard and Ruud Gullit also struck before the break as Madrid were torn apart, with further goals coming in the second half courtesy of Marco van Basten and Roberto Donadoni.

One of the best nights in Milan’s European history was added to in the final, as they made light work of Steaua Bucure?ti aside with a comfortable 4-0 win.


2001 – Inter 0-6 AC Milan

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Another clash that is fondly remembered by one half of San Siro took place after the turn of the century, as I Rossoneri claimed their biggest win over their rivals with an outstanding display.

Neither side was enjoying a successful season, with both tied level on points ahead of kick off and languishing disappointingly in mid-table. The usual, high intensity football was still expected, but never in such a one-sided manner.

Milan claimed an unlikely 6-0 victory aided by Andriy Shevchenko’s brace, in what would become the largest margin of victory ever seen in the derby.


2001 – Bayern Munich 1-1 Valencia

A Champions League final where penalties took centre stage. Bayern were chasing their first European title for 25 years, while Valencia found themselves in back-to-back finals having lost out the year before to Real Madrid.

It was to be heartbreak once more for the Spanish side, as Oliver Kahn proved to be their undoing. Gaizka Mendieta and Stefan Effenberg traded regulation-time penalties to take the game to extra time, but neither side were to break the deadlock and the dreaded shootout was to follow.

Both sides had missed two of their first four spot kicks, but found themselves still level on 4-4 after six taken each. However, Mauricio Pellegrino (former Southampton boss, remember?) was to be denied by Kahn after Thomas Linke netted for Bayern, and the German side claimed their fourth European Cup.


2003 – Inter 1-1 AC Milan

Champions League semi-final and it’s also a derby? What more could you want?

A tense 0-0 draw in the first leg (in which Milan were the ‘home’ team), set up and even more tense second leg, with the ultimate prize of reaching the Champions League final making it all the more engrossing. It was the 255th derby between the two and arguably the most important ever.

Shevchenko had opened the scoring on the cusp of half-time by fending off Ivan Cordoba to clip his shot beyond Francesco Toldo. Christian Abbiati was in inspired form for the visitors, though, fending off everything Inter threw at them until Obafemi Martins struck with seven minutes remaining.

No late winner was to be found for Inter, as Milan celebrated jubilantly at their achievement. The final was mostly forgettable, but Milan secured the trophy with a penalty shootout win over Juventus.


2005 – Inter 0-3 AC Milan

This…this was crazy. When the pair were pitted against each other in the Champions League quarter-finals everyone expected fireworks, just not, well, literally.

Milan had the upper hand with a 2-0 first leg win, and after Shevchenko opened the scoring in the second leg and Esteban Cambiasso had a goal bizarrely disallowed, Inter fans had seen enough. Flares were thrown onto the pitch and missiles came pouring down, with one striking goalkeeper Dida in the head.

The referee halted proceedings before eventually abandoning the match, which resulted in Milan being handed a 3-0 win and Inter being slapped with a large fine and given a four-game European stadium ban. Mad times.


2009 – Inter 4-0 AC Milan

The Nerazzurri have had some fine teams over the years, but Jose Mourinho’s treble-winning side of the 2009/10 season is probably the best of the lot. They were an unstoppable force in every competition they played, with the first derby of the season making that crystal clear.

Milan were simply unable to keep up with the pace an intelligence of their rivals on the day, ending up as 4-0 losers – the damage being done by Thiago Motta, Diego Milito, Maicon and Dejan Stankovic.

Inter secured the league title without much worry, the Coppa Italia followed, and then the season was capped off with a 2-0 victory over Bayern in the Champions League final. Blimey, that was some team.


2010 – Inter 3-1 Barcelona

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Remember how I said that this Inter side were really good? Yeah, well if anyone actually needed any more assurances that Mourinho’s men were the real deal, their Champions League semi-final first leg win over Barcelona proved that.

The visitors did go in front, but a majestic Inter performance wasn’t to be prevented as they stormed back to victory with goals from Wesley Sneijder, Diego Milito and Maicon turning the game, and the tie, on its head.

A tactical battle between Pep Guardiola and Mourinho made the clash such an enticing watch, in what was a packed and raucous San Siro. A European classic.


2016 – Real Madrid 1-1 Atletico Madrid

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This was just the second time in the Champions League’s history that both finalists were from the same city. The last time? When these same two sides went head-to-head in the 2014 final. Well done to the city of Madrid.

Atletico were seeking revenge this time around after the last minute heartbreak they suffered two years prior, although 15 minutes in, it seemed as if their previous tormentor Sergio Ramos would be the villain once more. His close range finish appeared offside, but the goal stood.

Mere seconds into the second half and Atletico were handed a lifeline, as Pepe clumsily felled Fernando Torres in the box to hand Los Rojiblancos a penalty. Antoine Griezmann crashed his spot kick against the bar, and Madrid were spared. They weren’t spared ten minutes from time, though, as Yannick Carrasco would net after a lovely flowing move to cap a pulsating encounter.

Penalties would ultimately decide the match, with the unfortunate guilty party being Atletico defender Juanfran. Madrid had netted all four of their spot kicks leaving the pressure on the Spaniard, but he was denied by the post. So, as expected, Cristiano Ronaldo stepped up and, well…y’know, he doesn’t miss those.


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On This Day in Football History – 21 May: John Terry Slips, Manchester United Celebrate, Alan Pardew Dances & More

21 May is a great day to look back on not only some iconic football matches, but also a selection of culturally significant moments.

And by culturally significant moments we mean the release ofWorld in Motion and Alan Pardew’s dance moves.

So sit back, relax and feast your eyes on an equal serving of football and culture.


1983 – Brighton Almost Make FA Cup History

Brighton suffered relegation from the top flight at the end of the 1982/83 season, but softened the blow by reaching their first ever FA Cup final.

Had the Seagulls beaten Manchester United at Wembley, they would have become the first relegated side to win the FA Cup. And they came so close.

With the score 2-2, in the dying seconds of extra time Brighton’s Gordon Smith was put clean through on goal, but his effort was saved by United keeper Gary Bailey – a moment that still haunts Brighton fans to this day.

Remarkably, the teams met in a replay five days later and Smith redeemed himself by scoring a 95th minute winner. Only joking, this isn’t Jimmy Grimble. United won 4-0 and Brighton are still yet to win the FA Cup.


1990 – World in Motion Released

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Arguably the finest football song of all time (sorry Petr Cech) was released on 21 May 1990 ahead of England’s Italia 90 World Cup campaign.

Iconic 80s electro synth-pop band New Order combined with rapping sensation John Barnes to create World in Motion. It is absolutely no coincidence the Three Lions went on to turn in their greatest World Cup showing since 1966.


1997 – Last Two-Legged UEFA Cup Final

Since the competition’s inception in 1971/72, the UEFA Cup final had always been a two-legged affair.

This tradition came to an end in 1997, with Schalke and Inter meeting in the last two-legged final. The sides drew 1-1 at San Siro, with Schalke winning on penalties, before recording a 1-0 victory in the home leg to win the competition for the first time in the club’s history.


2002 – England Stutter Against South Korea in Pre-World Cup Friendly

In their penultimate friendly before the 2002 World Cup, the Three Lions could only muster a 1-1 draw with co-hosts South Korea.

Michael Owen had given England the lead, only for Sven-Goran Eriksson’s side to be pegged back by Park Ji-Sung.

England would go on to reach the World Cup last eight, while South Korea made it all the way to the semi finals. They must have had a better World Cup song than England. No offence, Ant and Dec.


2003 – Celtic Lose Thrilling UEFA Cup Final

Having knocked Liverpool out in the quarter finals, Celtic reached their first European final since 1970, and 80,000 Hoops fans travelled to Seville for the occasion.

The Scottish giants met Porto, coming from behind twice through Henrik Larsson to send the game to extra time.

However, Brazilian striker Derlei struck in the 115th minute to secure a 3-2 victory for Porto.


2005 – Arsenal Beat Manchester United in FA Cup Final

The 2005 FA Cup final marked the end of the intense rivalry between Sir Alex Ferguson and Arsene Wenger; Chelsea had just won the Premier League, Arsenal moved to the Emirates the following season and Roy Keane and Patrick Vieira left that summer. The rivalry hasn’t been quite as bitter and heightened since then.

Despite United’s dominance and Jose Antonio Reyes seeing red in extra time, the two sides played at a 0-0 draw at the Millennium Stadium, sending the FA Cup final to penalties for the first time in the competition’s history.

Paul Scholes was the man to miss from 12 yards for United, leaving Vieira to bury the winning spot kick for the Gunners.


2006 – Watford Beat Leeds in Playoff Final

Coca-Cola Championship Playoff Final: Leeds United v Watford

Leeds’ hiatus from the top flight could have been cut considerably shorter had things gone their way in the 2006 playoff final.

However, Watford recorded a comfortable 3-0 victory thanks to a Jay DeMerit header, a Neill Sullivan own goal and a Darius Henderson penalty.

The defeat had huge ramifications for Leeds, who were relegated from the Championship the following season and dealt a hefty points deduction for their debut League One season, leaving the 2001 Champions League semi finalists in the third tier for three years.


2008 – Manchester United Beat Chelsea in Champions League final

The 2008 Champions League saw an all English final for the first time in the competition’s history, and provided the noughties’ answer to the Gerrard slip.

United had led through a towering Cristiano Ronaldo header, and Frank Lampard levelled the scores on the stroke of half time. Didier Drogba was sent off for slapping Nemanja Vidic in extra time, before sheer chaos ensued in the penalty shootout.

Ronaldo missed his spot kick, giving Chelsea captain John Terry the opportunity to win the competition for his boyhood club. Unfortunately, this isn’t Jimmy Grimble; Terry slipped as he struck his penalty and it cannoned off the post. Nicolas Anelka (who really gets off the hook thanks to Terry) missed in sudden death, and United were crowned European champions for the third time.


2011 – Emmanuel Adebayor Hits Real Madrid Hat-Trick

Seeing Emmanuel Adebayor in a Real Madrid shirt was bizarre enough, but the weirdness was cranked up a further few notches when he scored an actual hat-trick for Los Blancos on the final day of 2010/11 season.

The former Arsenal and Manchester City striker hit a treble as Real recorded an emphatic 8-1 victory over Almeria.

Cristiano Ronaldo also grabbed a brace, taking him to 40 La Liga goals in a single season – a new record for the Spanish top tier.


2016 – Manchester United Win FA Cup Final & Alan Pardew Happens

Manchester United v Crystal Palace – The Emirates FA Cup Final

Some may remember 21 May 2016 as the day Manchester United won their 12th FA Cup, and their first for 12 years. Most people remember it as the day Alan Pardew inflicted his outrageous dance moves on the world.

When Jason Puncheon gave Palace a 78th minute lead, any neutrals backing the underdog swiftly switched allegiances upon seeing Pardew’s celebratory shuffle.

United fought back through Juan Mata, before Jesse Lingard hit the winner in extra time. And Pardew has not danced since.


2016 – Hibs Win Dramatic Scottish Cup Final

Rangers – still in the Championship in 2016 – had famously beaten Celtic in the semi finals to book their place in the Scottish Cup final against Hibernian.

Despite falling behind inside three minutes to an Anthony Stokes strike, the Gers looked on course to secure their first piece of silverware since their 2012 administration thanks to goals from Kenny Miller and Andrew Halliday.

But Stokes equalised ten minutes from time, before David Gray popped up with a 92nd minute winner, crowning Hibs Scottish Cup winners for the first time in 114 years. Cue incredible scenes of Hibs fans booming out Proclaimers anthem Sunshine on Leith in celebration.


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Inter Unwilling to Stump Up Asking Price for Chelsea’s Victor Moses

Inter are unwilling to pay the £10.75m required to bring Victor Moses to the club permanently, leaving the Chelsea wide man’s future uncertain.

Moses has not featured for Chelsea since September 2018, and was shipped out on loan to Fenerbahçe four months later.

His spell in Turkey was cut short, enabling him to reunite for former manager Antonio Conte at Inter in January. However, Moses has made just three Serie A appearances since his move to Italy.

The 29-year-old’s switch to Inter came with an option to buy at the end of the six month loan spell, but according to the Sun, Inter are not prepared to pay the full £10.75m to make his move permanent.

Due to the financial constraints of the coronavirus outbreak, Inter would only be willing to fork out £6m for the Nigerian international.

Moses has faced injury problems and has struggled to stay fit since moving to Italy, but Conte remains a big fan of the player and could enquire about the possibility of bringing him back on loan for the entirety of next season.

This would take Moses to the end of his Chelsea contract – which runs until 2021 – thus not allowing the club to cash in on their player.

The former Crystal Palace man enjoyed the greatest success of his Chelsea career during Conte’s tenure.

Moses was an integral part of the Italian’s 2016/17 Premier League winning side, coming into his own at wingback in Conte’s favoured 3-4-3 formation.

He featured 40 times in all competitions for Chelsea that season, but has since fallen out of favour at Stamford Bridge, and is not in the plans of former teammate Frank Lampard.

Moses was one of three players Inter plucked from the Premier League in the January transfer window, with Ashley Young and Christian Eriksen also moving to San Siro.

The Sun reports that Inter are keen to keep hold of Young, and with his contract up in June, the former Manchester United captain has agreed fresh terms with the club on a new one year deal.

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Serie A Officials Vote Against Playoffs to Decide Champions & Relegation – Season Must End by 31 August

Serie A officials have ruled out the possibility of completing the season via playoffs, insisting that all fixtures can be fulfilled – but the 2019/20 campaign must be completed by 31 August.

Italian football has been put on hold since the beginning of March, after the nation became Europe’s most affected country by the coronavirus. But many believe that calcio can now continue as the number of new cases and deaths drops each day.

US Sassuolo v Brescia Calcio – Serie A

Sky Sport Italia reports that the FIGC has voted against playoffs being used to settle the eventual winners, as well as the relegation places in Italy’s top three leagues – while Serie A, B and C must be finished by 20 August, with all football ending no later than ten days after.

This end date is crucial to the football governing body, as their intention is to begin the 2020/21 Serie A campaign on 1 September, according to Football Italia. The Italian football outlet also reports that it is becoming increasingly likely that football from Serie D and below will be cancelled, with no intention of completing the remaining fixtures.

The football landscape is constantly shifting in Italy as they look to find a fair and appropriate way to end the 2019/20 season. But many are aware that there is the unprecedented possibility of Juventus missing out on the title for the first time in nine years, as dark horses Lazio have mounted an incredible attack on their scudetto reign.

SS Lazio Training Session

Le Aquile currently sit one point behind I Bianconeri in the table, and Serie A viewers are desperate to see this season play out in an authentic and fitting manner – with plenty hoping for an upset in the title race.

So it would appear that calcio is nearing its return – or not, perhaps. The Italian Federation confirmed on Tuesday that no matches will take place before 14 June, leaving only a six-week period to complete the campaign.

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