The 2020/21 Champions League final, which will be played at Estádio do Dragão, in Porto, on May 29, will be the 12th decisive battle of a European football competition taking place in Portugal.
The Estádio do Dragão, in Porto, was chosen for the final of the top European club competition, to the detriment of Istanbul, after Turkey was considered a country of high risk concerning infections by the new coronavirus by the United Kingdom, country of origin of the two finalist clubs, Chelsea and Manchester City.
After Wembley, in London, was considered as a possible option, UEFA ultimately decided that it will be the Estádio do Dragão that will host the final.
This will be the second consecutive time that Portugal welcomes the Champions League decision, after the Estádio da Luz, in Lisbon, was the stage of the 2019/20 final, won by Bayern Munich against Paris Saint -Germain, 1-0, on August 23, 2020.
The return to Portugal of the "most important European football competition" is also "an acknowledgement of the excellent sports infrastructure that is the Estádio do Dragão", said the Secretary of State for Youth and Sport, João Paulo Rebelo. After congratulating the city of Porto, the official made a point of stressing that this "is also a recognition of the country and of its organizing capacity, and of the power we have had to fight the pandemic. Portugal is seen as a safe destination and in which significant sporting events can take place with all success".
The history of the competition in Portugal
On May 29, 2021, Portugal will receive, for the fourth time, the decisive match of the most important European club competition.
Last season, the COVID-19 pandemic caused the stoppage of almost all championships and European competitions, leading UEFA to go for an unprecedented "final eight" as a way to conclude the 2019/20 Champions League, with the quarter-finals, semi-finals and final played in just one hand. Lisbon was the city chosen to host the matches of this unusual final stage, at both the Estádio da Luz and Estádio José Alvalade.
Seven years prior, Real Madrid - then with Cristiano Ronaldo, Pepe and Fábio Coentrão on the team - beat Atlético de Madrid 4-1 after extra time, also at the Estádio da Luz.
The main European club event had already been decided in Portugal back in 1966/67, when Celtic won the so-called European Champion Clubs' Cup, with a 2-1 triumph over Inter Milan, at the Jamor National Stadium, in Oeiras.
Football likes Portugal. A lot
Other football competitions took advantage of Portugal's amazing sporting infrastructures. This was the case with Euro 2004 and the stadiums built for the competition in which Portugal reached the final, of which the decisive struggle took place in the Estádio da Luz on July 4.
On that day, the Portuguese national team, led by the Brazilian Luiz Felipe Scolari, was defeated by Greece 1-0, with a goal by Charisteas. Portugal then missed the European title that it would eventually win 12 years later, in France in 2016.
About a year earlier, on May 18, 2015, the Estádio José Alvalade hosted the 2004/05 UEFA Cup final, in which Sporting - the home team - lost 3-1 to CSKA Moscow.
Another Euro 2004 venue, Estádio do Bessa, in Porto, hosted the 2006 UEFA European Under-21 Championship final on June 4, when the Netherlands won the title by defeating Ukraine 3-0.
The former Estádio da Luz also hosted the defunct Cup Winners' Cup final in the 1991/92 season, a game in which Werder Bremen defeated Monaco 2-0; and the second leg of the 1982/83 UEFA Cup final, with Anderlecht becoming champion after drawing 1-1 with Benfica (Belgian 1-0 victory in Brussels).
In 2019, the Portuguese team added their second European senior title, winning the first League of Nations edition, whose "final four" was played in Guimarães and Porto, with the national team defeating the Netherlands (1-0) at the Estádio do Dragão.
In the youth ranks, Portugal also received two finals. It won both, the first in 1961, when it won the European Under-18 Championship, beating Poland 4-0, at the old Estádio da Luz, in Lisbon; and the second in 2003, at the Estádio do Fontelo, in Viseu, where it defeated Spain 2-1, in the decisive match of the UEFA European Under-17 Championship.
It's your turn to play sports in Portugal
You and your team can also benefit from the great conditions Portugal has to offer to athletes of all sports. Move Sports excels at organizing all sorts of sporting events, tournaments, training camps and sports tours for both young and senior athletes, complying with all health and safety measures one expects this day and age. Come to Portugal and discover one of the safest destinations in Europe. Contact us for more information on bespoke plans or register your team for one of our upcoming tournaments.