Top 5 cruel Champions League suspensions


"I miss you like the deserts miss the rain" or something like that will probably be how Chelsea manager Roberto Di Matteo will be feeling before the Champions League final with Bayern Munich on Saturday, with four first-team players out.

John Terry, Branislav Ivanovic, Raul Miereles and Ramires will all be sitting out, while the Bavarians are also missing some big names with David Alaba, Holger Badstuber and Luiz Gustavo having to don their suits instead of the kit.

But they aren't the first big names to look glumly on in the Champions League final. Here are five of the best.

5. Darren Fletcher (Manchester United)

It's not often the world agrees that Manchester United were hard done by, but after Fletcher was sent off for a last-man foul on Cesc Fabregas in the semi-final despite clearly playing the ball it was agreed justice had not been done. United appealed, UEFA rejected it and Dazza had to miss out. His team-mates did him proud though and beat Terry's Chelsea on penalties.

4. Pavel Nedved (Juventus)

The 2003 Champions League final between Juve and AC Milan is widely regarded as one of the worst ever, but it could have been different had Nedved been playing. The Czech winger was at his prime, but missed out after a tackle on Real's Steve McManaman in the semi. There followed 120 dour minutes of football before Milan won on penalties.

3. Dani Alves & Eric Abidal (Barcelona)

Losing one full-back is bad, but losing two is just careless. Or something. Barca were without both Alves and Abidal for the 2009 final with Manchester United but it didn't show as they cruised to a 2-0 win. Alves & Abidal had to watch from the stands but both got to play (and win) in a final two years later at Wembley.

2. Alessandro Costacurta (AC Milan & Italy)

This might go down as one of the unluckiest summers ever for a footballer as Billy Costacurta missed out on both the Champions League final AND a few months later the World Cup final in the USA. He missed a 4-0 thrashing of Barcelona by Milan, and then a heartbreaking World Cup defeat to Brazil on penalties. Phew!

1. Roy Keane & Paul Scholes (Manchester United)

Imagine being two of your club's star players and then missing out on THAT Champions League final in 1999. That's what happened to Keane and Scholes on account of yellow cards accumulated. Keane, though, put that to one side and brilliantly drove his United team to a thrilling sem-final comeback against Juventus, despite knowing he would miss the final. In that game, United famously scored twice in injury time to win 2-1 against Bayern Munich.