Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City and Thomas Tuchel’s Chelsea are in Porto as tension builds towards Saturday’s all-English Champions League final showdown in the Portuguese city which was named as a last-minute host for the match.
It is the third final of Europe’s elite club competition to be played between two Premier League sides, and the second in just three seasons, underlining the strength of the cash-rich English game.
And these are the two clubs whose own transformations in the last two decades under mega-rich foreign owners have done the most to change forever the landscape of the Premier League.
Not so long ago, the idea of Chelsea and City meeting in the biggest club game of all would have been laughable. Their only previous encounter in a final came in 1986 in the short-lived Full Members Cup, when Chelsea won 5-4 at Wembley.
That was before the Premier League and modern Champions League existed, before Roman Abramovich bought Chelsea in 2003 and before the Abu Dhabi takeover of City in 2008. Between them, they have now won seven of the last 10 Premier League titles.
The west London club had a head-start in terms of becoming big-spenders and as a club they have the experience of this stage in Europe before, having beaten Bayern Munich on penalties on their own turf in the 2012 final.
They have also won the Europa League twice since then.
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