IT IS the biggest party in world football on Saturday night. The venue? Paris. The topic? Revenge.
Ahead of Real Madrid’s semi-final second leg last month in the Champions League semi-finals, Mohamed Salah prayed they would beat Manchester City.
The Liverpool star got his wish – and now he’s out in search of blood.
Four years ago, almost to the day, Salah was brutally dragged to the ground by Sergio Ramos just half an hour into the 2018 Champions League final.
The Egyptian whiz kid suffered a dislocated shoulder and had to be substituted.
Real Madrid won 3-1 on a night best remembered by Loris Karius’ two howlers.
Los Blancos lifted their 13th European trophy tonight – and you can imagine the scowl that crept onto Salah’s face, silently plotting his revenge.
And he wasted time now voicing his intention after Real booked his place in the Stade de France final.
After the La Liga champions’ thrilling 6-5 aggregate win, Salah tweeted: “We have scores to settle.”
You’d think Real Madrid would be shaking in their boots.
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You can’t get excited about one of the deadliest forwards in the world and expect him to come out in full force.
But Salah isn’t the only one out for revenge as Real Madrid boss Carlo Ancelotti seeks revenge on the Reds.
Ancelotti – boss of Liverpool’s closest rivals Everton between 2019 and 2021 – has taken on the Merseyside giants THREE times in his career in European Cup finals.
As a player, the Italian watched from the stands as Bruce Grobbelaar’s shaky legs helped Liverpool win a penalty shoot-out against Roma in 1984.
Next, and perhaps most famously, coach Ancelotti watched his AC Milan side take a 3-0 lead at half-time in the 2005 final in Istanbul.
What happened next defied even the word “miracle” forever associated with the match.
Liverpool scored three quick goals in the second half to force extra time and penalties – with Jerzy Dudek the Reds’ hero.
Two years later, Ancelotti managed some semblance of revenge when Milan won the 2007 final in a nerve-wracking encounter in Athens.
“FOOTBALL ALWAYS OFFERS A CHANCE FOR REVENGE”
But the 1984 and 2005 defeats obviously still hurt, and Ancelotti said: “We have met many times in my Champions League career.
“The first time was in Rome in 1984. I didn’t play because I was injured.
“Then, in 2005 and 2007, and of course the rivalry was accentuated during the time I worked at Everton. Now we will face each other again.
“[My team for the 2005 final] was the best thing I’ve ever trained.
“Unfortunately, there’s this unpredictability in football that you can’t control. It’s hard to explain.
“Football always offers a chance for revenge…”
Ancelotti concluded: “Will Liverpool want revenge for the 2018 final defeat by Madrid?
“Real Madrid are also looking for revenge for losing a final against Liverpool [the 1981 final in] Paris.”
Los Blancos right-back Dani Carvajal continued to stoke the fire ahead of the clash by attempting to enter Salah’s head.
Carvajal – who played in the 2018 final win, inspired by Gareth Bale’s two goals – said: “Let’s hope losing a second Champions League final to Real Madrid isn’t a huge burden for Salah…”
Both sides have similar XIs to the one shown in Kyiv four years ago – and the memories clearly live on.
Liverpool are looking to lift a cup treble after their two domestic tournament victories – and will be itching to put their heartbreak on the final day of the Premier League.
But Real Madrid will want to make it a LaLiga Champions League double with their Supercopa de Espana gong.
Let’s not forget that Los Blancos are known to love European competition and are by far the most successful side in the tournament’s history.
On their day, however, Liverpool are arguably the best team in the world.
The 2018 final defeat was more of a blessing in disguise, forcing Jurgen Klopp to finally invest in a world-class goalkeeper in Alisson.
Karius, meanwhile, has weathered a string of horror loan spells and is now owned by Liverpool FIFTH CHOICE Goalkeeper.
But it’s not just about the goals, the Kop crew boast a vastly superior squad compared to the 2018 final – when they had the likes of Alberto Moreno, Ragnar Klavan and Dominic Solanke on their bench.
The Reds will be testing their chances on Saturday night.
And with Salah itching to get revenge, we can be almost certain there will be fireworks in Paris.