The Nine Players to Complete the European Cup and European Championships Double
The first European Cup was held in 1955 and the European Championships followed five years later, yet only nine players have ever won both tournaments in the same year. However, today, Italy’s Jorginho or Mason Mount, Recce James or Ben Chilwell of England have the opportunity to add their names to the list.
To qualify as a ‘double winner’ players have to have featured in both finals hence Emerson will not achieve this feat even if Italy win at Wembley as he was an unused substitute in the Champions League final as Chelsea beat Manchester City.
A similar fate befell PSV’s Wim Kieft who was part of the 1988 European Cup-winning side but did not feature in that year’s European Championship final for the Netherlands and Nicolas Anelka who won a European title with Real Madrid in 2000 but did not make it off the bench for France as they claimed the European Championship.
The first time the double was achieved was in 1964 and Luis Suarez became a history-maker as he first won the European Cup with Inter Milan and claimed the European Championship with Spain. In the round of 32, their debut tie in the competition pitted them against Everton who, after a goalless first leg, were seen off 1-0 in the second leg at San Siro with Brazilian right-winger achieving the honour of being Inter’s first scorer in club football’s premier competition.
A convincing 4-1 aggregate win over Monaco followed with Suarez netting the final goal in injury-time before the Nerazzurri repeated the feat against Partizan Belgrade in the quarter-finals. Two vital away goals saw Helenio Herrera’s men claim an important draw in Dortmund in the last four before second-half goals from Sandro Mazzola and Jair at home saw the Italians remarkably reach the final at the first attempt.
Real Madrid, winners of five consecutive European Cups from 1956, stood in their way but goals shortly before half-time by Mazzola, and on the hour mark by Aurelio Milani gave Inter a surprise two-goal lead. Felo pulled one back for the Spaniards with 20 minutes left but Mazzola struck again to seal the first part of Suarez’s impressive double.
In its infancy, the European Championships was originally known as the European Nations Cup and just four teams took part in the finals tournament. Spain hosted the competition, four years after disqualification from the inaugural event due to their refusal to travel to Moscow.
They marked their debut by edging past Hungary in extra time after a goal with six minutes left from Hungary winger Bene forced the extra half-hour, cancelling out Jesus Maria Pereda’s strike but a 112th-minute strike from Amancio saw Jose Villalonga’s side into the final.
Here, they would meet the defending champions of the Soviet Union but again Suarez’s team would upset the odds. In a remarkable start, Suarez crossed for Pereda to give Spain a shock lead after six minutes in the Santiago Bernabeu, where the goalscorer had previously played for Real Madrid before a controversial move to rivals Barcelona.
Galimzyan Khusainov leveled almost immediately and it seemed destined for the extra period but with six minutes remaining, Suarez clipped a pass out wide, Pereda crossed and Marcelino Martinez produced a brilliant header to earn Spain their first major trophy. No player could match Suarez’s feat until 1988 when the Dutch quartet of Hans van Breukelen, Ronald Koeman, Berry van Aerle, Gerald Vanenburg won both titles with PSV Eindhoven and the Netherlands.
In an outstanding season for PSV as they won the Eredivisie and the KNVB Cup, a first European Cup was claimed with a win over Benfica. A topsy-turvy opening round saw them ease to a 3-0 win against Galatasary, Koeman netting the second, but they found themselves two goals down at the interval in the second leg before hanging on to earn a trip to Rapid Vienna.
Having conceded early in the second period, late strikes from van Aerle and Johannes Gillhaus gave them an important away triumph and they sealed the deal with a 2-0 second leg win. In contrast to a comfortable second round win, PSV’s quarter-final and semi-final played out in tight fashion.
On both occasions, against Bordeaux and Real Madrid, the Dutch side fell behind in the first leg before a vital equaliser proved enough to progress on away goals after a goalless second leg. This meant, despite winning just three of their eight games, Guus Hiddink’s side would play in a maiden European Cup final. The final was another tight affair with the Dutch quartet all starting against Benfica, twice winners of the competition.
An encounter low on quality, the two sides could not be separated after 120 minutes so penalties would decide the final for the third time in five years and after Koeman and Vanenburg converted successfully, Hans van Breukelen saved from Antonio Veloso to complete a historic treble. In the European Championships, after losing their opening match against the Soviet Union, successive wins against England and the Republic of Ireland saw their progression to the knockout round.
The semi-finals saw them face hosts West Germany and they fell behind to a second-half Lothar Matthaus penalty before Koeman converted himself from 12 yards within ten minutes to restore parity. A late goal from Marco van Basten sent the Netherlands into their first European Championships final.
Just like Suarez’s Spain, Soviet Union were the opponents but a first-half strike from Ruud Gullit gave them the lead before van Basten’s famous volley secured the double for the PSV teammates. There were 24 years until anyone else completed the European double until Fernando Torres and Juan Mata claimed titles with Chelsea and Spain in 2012.
It was a disappointing league campaign for Chelsea as they finished sixth, their lowest placing since 2001-02, in a disruptive year which saw Andre Villas-Boas sacked just nine months in and replaced by Roberto di Matteo. A former player at the Bridge, the Italian at least righted the ship in Europe and completed a historic run that saw the club win their first Champions League.
Home wins over Bayern Leverkusen, with Mata scoring an injury-time second, and Genk where Torres netted a brace, alongside draws at Valencia and in the return match in Belgium, helped AVB’s men make a strong start to their group. The knockout round brought a 3-1 defeat to Napoli and, coupled with poor domestic form, signaled the end for the up-and-coming Portuguese manager with his Italian replacement a popular choice.
Mere weeks after taking over, he led them to a famous victory over the Neapolitans with a 4-1 extra-time victory in west London securing a 5-4 aggregate win. An improved away performance at Benfica in the quarter-finals saw them claim an important single goal victory before completing the job at home, setting up a last-four meeting with defending champions Barcelona.
They impressively claimed a 1-0 victory over Pep Guardiola’s famed side, vitally keeping a clean sheet saw them with a real opportunity to reach a first final since 2008. However, in the cauldron of the Camp Nou, Barca overturned the deficit with Sergio Busquets and Andreas Iniesta striking just before half-time in a period which saw Blues captain John Terry sent off.
Ramires, though, scored a precious away goal in first-half injury-time and after seeing Lionel Messi slam a penalty against the bar, the visitors held on heroically and saw Torres seal a famous victory, spriting clear and rounding Victor Valdes in injury-time. The daunting task of facing Bayern Munich in their own Allianz Arena stadium awaited them in the final and after a German onslaught, it seemed like Chelsea would fall short again on the biggest European stage when Thomas Muller opened the scoring with eight minutes left.
However, Chelsea’s man for the big occasion, Didier Drogba forced extra-time with two minutes remaining, a bullet near-post header flashing past Manuel Neuer. Hero turned villain in the extra period though as Drogba fouled Franck Ribery in the penalty area but Petr Cech produced an impressive save to deny Arjen Robben.
As in Moscow, when they faced Manchester United, Roman Abramovich’s European dream would again be decided by penalties and it looked ominous when Mata failed to convert Chelsea’s first. However, David Luiz, Frank Lampard and Ashley Cole all scored with Ivic Olic missing for the hosts and when Bastian Schweinsteiger hit the post, it was fittingly left to Drogba to calmly slot past Neuer and seal the biggest trophy in Chelsea’s 107-year history.
Just four years later, and Real Madrid pair Cristiano Ronaldo and Pepe repeated the Spaniards’ feat when they unsurprisingly claimed the Champions League with Los Blancos and surprisingly won Euro 2016 with Portugal. They progressed from the Champions League group stage with ease, dropping just two points, against Paris Saint-Germain as Ronaldo grabbed a hat-trick against Shakhtar Donetsk, braces at Malmo and at home against the Ukrainians before netting four in the reverse fixture against the Swedes.
Pepe only featured off the bench in the home game against Shakhtar but started the game in Ukraine and helped Madrid keep a clean sheet in the final group games against Malmo. By the time the round of 16 tie against Roma came around, Rafael Benitez had been sacked and replaced by club legend Zinedine Zidane. In his first European tie, they won convincingly 4-0 on aggregate with Ronaldo netting the opener in both matches, as Pepe helped keep a seventh clean sheet in the second leg.
The pair also started the first leg of their quarter-final against Wolfsburg when they suffered a shock 2-0 defeat but a Ronaldo hat-trick, breaking Lionel Messi’s record for the most Champions League goals scored in a single season with 16, and another clean sheet saw the Spanish side complete an impressive comeback.
In the last four, they faced Manchester City without Ronaldo who withdrew shortly before kickoff with a thigh injury and they could not break the English side down with Joe Hart producing a brilliant save to deny Pepe late on. Real Madrid’s brilliant home form however saw them through as a Fernando own goal was enough for a 1-0 aggregate win and kept up their run of six successive clean sheets at the Bernabeu in Europe.
The final would be a repeat of 2014 as they were up against rivals Atletico and a Sergio Rames header gave them an early lead but in the second half, Pepe fouled Fernando Torres in the area but saw Antoine Griezmann smash the spot-kick against the crossbar.
However, a late Yannick Carrasco goal forced extra time and eventually penalties and after Juanfran missed for Atleti, it was left to Madrid’s talisman Ronaldo to slot home and give the Merengues a record-extending 11th European Cup. Buoyed by their club success, the duo headed off on international duty with Portugal as mainstays of Fernando Santos’ side but were frustrated in an opening draw with surprise package Iceland.
In the second group game, Ronaldo missed a late penalty as he became his country’s most capped player with 128, but he redeemed himself in the final game against Hungary, scoring twice as Portugal came from a goal down three times to grab a valuable point.
This draw was enough to see them advance to the knockout stages as one of the best third-placed teams and after a Ronaldo shot was only parried in extra-time, Ricardo Quaresma headed in the rebound to give Santos’ men a 1-0 win over Croatia.
The quarter-finals saw Portugal again play 120 minutes, against Poland as Renato Sanches canceled out Robert Lewandowski’s early strike but they could not be separated before penalties. In a change of tactic compared to the Champions League final, Ronaldo took first for Portugal and typically scored before a Rui Patricio save saw Quaresma make it a perfect five and set up a semi-final meeting with Wales.
A comfortable 2-0 win for Portugal with Ronaldo opening the scoring and creating the second for Nani, gave them their first and only win in 90 minutes at the tournament with Pepe missing the match due to a muscle problem.
Their second European Championship final, after losing in 2004 to Greece, saw them produce the shock result as they stunned hosts France. Typically for their tournament, Portugal again faced extra-time, with Pepe back for the decider but their captain and all-time record scorer Ronaldo was forced off with an injury after 25 minutes.
With their talisman effectively conducting operations from the sidelines, Pepe superbly marshaled the defence to a fourth clean sheet of the tournament and an unlikely victory was sealed when Eder fired home after 109 grueling minutes. For a third straight Championships, the double will be claimed and it will be seen whether football really is coming home.
By: Sam Harris / @sam_harris96
Featured Image: @GabFoligno / Alessandro Sabattini / Getty Images / Mike Egerton – EMPICS / PA Images / Icon Sport