Liverpool and Real Madrid locked horns in the Champions League final on Saturday, the Los Blancos ended the encounter with their 14th UCL trophy, we recall Jurgen Klopp tried to motivate his side in 2018 when the two sides met in the showpiece event by donning a pair of Cristiano Ronaldo branded underwear.
Klopp’s light-hearted stunt came back in 2018, when Liverpool and Real were also competing for Europe’s grandest prize in Kyiv. Unfortunately for the Reds, Klopp’s pants stunt backfired, with Los Blancos running out 3-1 winners thanks to a pair of goalkeeping howlers from Loris Karius and a wonder-goal from Gareth Bale.
The Reds are bidding for revenge against the Spanish giants this time around – but Klopp’s bizarre pre-match routine has resurfaced just days before Saturday’s seismic showdown.
Former Reds midfielder Gini Wijnaldum had previously shared the story of Klopp’s unusual pre-match attire. At the time, Ronaldo was still Real Madrid’s main man.
Wijnaldum told The Athletic: “We saw he was wearing the boxer shorts of Cristiano Ronaldo. That really broke the ice. Usually in those situations, everyone is serious and concentrated. But he was relaxed and made this joke.
“He’s done hundreds of jokes likes that. If you see that your manager is really confident and relaxed, it will have an effect on players. He is a father figure in those things for the players. With his jokes and his body language, he takes the pressure off players.”
It remains to be seen if Klopp has any other bizarre pre-match plans, the German has talked down claims that the Reds are heading to Paris on a ‘revenge mission’ after their 2018 defeat.
He told UEFA media: “We played them; we lost. What kind of reaction would you want to show for yourself? The fun part of it is, we played against Madrid in Kyiv [in 2018], we won it in Madrid [in 2019]; it was a different stadium and now we play Madrid again. So, obviously, when we are in a Champions League final, Madrid is always somehow involved.
“There’s the feeling that we want to put things right, definitely, but it cannot be the main thought. If we go there like, ‘Revenge! Payback!’ all these kinds of things, it doesn’t work like that. That’s not us. We came here to the final in a different way. So, we have to play our way and that’s what we have to try.”