The Rundown

How important are suspensions?

The Rundown

View gallery

.

No fewer than seven players will miss next month's Champions League final between Chelsea and Bayern Munich through suspension.

Chelsea skipper John Terry was sent off against Barcelona for brainlessly kneeing Alexis Sanchez in the back, and he will be joined on the sidelines by three team-mates.

Branislav Ivanovic, Raul Meireles and Ramires - who scored the decisive goal with a wonderful chip - all picked up yellow cards that rule them out of the game via a totting-up process.

And on Wednesday, Bayern's David Alaba, Holger Badstuber and Luis Gustavo all received fateful bookings.

Here is a look at the possible line-ups for the final on May 19.

View gallery

.

The seven join an illustrious list of top players who have missed finals because of suspension - here are 10 of the most famous examples, and how their teams got on without them.

Michael Ballack - 2002 Champions League, 2002 World Cup
The German - a former Chelsea and Bayern star - had a double dose of despair in 2002, missing both the Champions League and World Cup finals within a matter of weeks. After inspiring Bayer Leverkusen to their first European final, Ballack watched on as they lost to Real Madrid at Hampden Park (they also finished second in the Bundesliga and lost the cup final, earning the nickname 'Neverkusen'). Then Ballack led Germany on an unlikely World Cup run, only to pick up a booking in the last four that ruled him out of the final. Germany lost 2-0 to Brazil.

Alessandro Costacurta - 1994 Champions League, 1994 World Cup
As part of possibly the greatest back four ever at AC Milan, Costacurta won seven Serie A titles and five European Cups. But there was heartache in 1994, when he was banned for the Champions League final (a famous 4-0 drubbing of Barcelona). Two months later, the same fate befell him at the World Cup, and he was a spectator as Italy lost the USA '94 final to Brazil on penalties.

Roy Keane and Paul Scholes - 1999 Champions League
Half of Manchester United's legendary midfield missed the 1999 Champions League final after an accumulation of yellow cards. The semi-final second leg against Juventus was Keane's finest hour - after picking up his fateful booking, Keane drove United to a thrillingly unlikely triumph, coming from two goals down to win 3-2. United just about got by without the pair in the final, beating Bayern Munich 2-1 with both goals coming in stoppage time.

Dani Alves and Eric Abidal - 2009 Champions League
Barcelona were shorn of both regular full-backs when they took on Manchester United in the 2009 Champions League final. Abidal had been sent off in Barca's controversial semi-final win against Chelsea, while Dani Alves picked up a yellow card. Having been propelled to the final in Rome thanks to Andres Iniesta's last-gasp goal at Stamford Bridge, Barca made light of the pair's absence with a comfortable 2-0 win.

Darren Fletcher - 2009 Champions League
Manchester United went into the same final without a key player following Fletcher's red card in the semi-final against Arsenal. With United cruising in the second leg, referee Roberto Rosetti sent the combative midfielder off for a challenge on Cesc Fabregas in which Fletcher clearly took the ball. A protest to UEFA fell on deaf ears, and Fletcher was ruled out - Alex Ferguson called it 'a tragedy' and United were well beaten in the final.

Andreas Moeller - 1996 European Championship
A powerful Germany attacking midfielder with curly hair and an arrogant streak; it is hard to believe the English didn't like Moeller when he came to Euro '96. The Dortmund man was booked against England in the last four, ruling him out of the final. But rather than dissolving into tears, he slammed home the winning penalty in the shoot-out and mocked England with a Gazza impression to celebrate. Germany won the final, of course.

Laurent Blanc - 1998 World Cup
The classy defender fell victim to a huge injustice in France's semi-final against Croatia when Slaven Bilic feigned injury after a coming-together with Blanc. Hoodwinked by Bilic's playacting and believing Blanc must have thrown an elbow, referee Jose Garcia Aranda sent the Frenchman off. Despite losing a quarter of their legendary 'Ligne Magique' back four, France thrashed Brazil 3-0 in the final with Franck Leboeuf in the side.

Pavel Nedved - 2003 Champions League
No wonder the 2003 Champions League final was such a snore, since it had been shorn of its best player. Juventus' Nedved was irrestistible in 2003, propelling the Bianconeri to the Serie A title. But a tackle on Real Madrid's Steve McManaman ruled him out of the final against AC Milan at Old Trafford - a match that finished goalless after 120 minutes, with Milan winning on penalties.

Antonio Maceda and Rafael Gordillo - 1984 European Championship
France's path to glory at Euro '84 was aided by suspensions to Spain defenders Maceda and Gordillo. The pair were both carded in a hard-fought semi-final against Denmark - Maceda scored Spain's only goal, and La Roja went on to win on penalties. But there was no such luck in the final, as a Luis Arconado goalkeeping error helped France to a 2-0 win.

Paul Gascoigne - 1990 World Cup
The most famous reaction to a suspension didn't even matter in the end. When Gazza flew in on Thomas Berthold, the resultant yellow card provoked floods of tears as the midfielder's dream of playing a World Cup final was shattered. In the event, so was the rest of the England team's, as they lost to West Germany on penalties. Gascoigne sat out the third-place play-off, which England lost to Italy.

View Comments