While Real Madrid won the first five European Cups and another when the competition was a decade old, even if those wins were expunged from the record they would still be top of the roll of honour – despite going without a title from 1966-98.
That drought-ending victory in 1998 came in Kelme kit but since then, they have won seven Champions Leagues wearing adidas, as many as any other club has managed at all.
The win against Valencia in 2000 saw both sides in change kits – the last time it has happened in the decider – and so the victory against Bayer Leverkusen two years later represents Los Merenges’ maiden victory in a white adidas strip and what a strip it was.
With the club celebrating their centenary, for domestic adidas provided a kit devoid of any embellishment apart from the club crest and the German firm’s logo – but, as was the case with Ajax at the time, a compromise was reached whereby the kit for Europe had the famous three-stripe markings.
Without wishing to make jokes about the Scottish climate, the 2002 decider is notable for the fact that all of the Madrid outfielders wore long sleeves – the last time that this has happened in the decider.
In their final league game the weekend beforehand, a loss to Deportivo La Coruña, Madrid had of course worn the domestc version of the kit and Leverkusen were also clad in an outfit different to what they would wear at Hampden Park.
Having been pipped to the Bundesliga by Borussia Dortmund, Leverkusen’s disappointment was compounded with defeat in the DFB-Pokal final against Schalke. In that game, both sides wore their new kits for the following season but Leverkusen were back in the kit they had been wearing since 2000. Whereas they had special commemorative text for the domestic final, there was none here.
It’s unlikely that they were prevented from using the new strip – Liverpool (1985), Sampdoria (1992), Borussia Dortmund (1997), Chelsea (2008) and Bayern Munich (2013 and 2020) have all done so for the showpiece occasion, while Milan have also worn kits that were not those registered at the start of the season.
Perhaps they felt the new kit was unlucky after the Schalke loss but, in any case, they were to experience defeat again. After Raúl put Madrid ahead, Lúcio equalised before Zinedine Zidane scored one of the great EC/CL final goals to give the Spanish side victory. Sponsors’ logos on shirts had been permitted in the final in 1995 and this was the first time since then that a team without one had won it.
Unfortunately for Leverkusen, having come so close to a treble only to end up empty-handed, they have not made it back to the final since. Madrid, on the other hand, have gone from strength to strength.