Xabi Alonso and the 22 Players to Be Suspended for a Champions League Final
The list of players who have missed Champions League finals through suspension includes some of the biggest names in world football from the past two decades.
When he takes his place in the stands to watch Real Madrid take on Atletico Madrid in Lisbon later this month, Xabi Alonso will grow that list to 22—the result of an accumulation of bookings that culminated in Tuesday's foul on Bayern Munich midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger.
The following slideshow will take a chronological look at suspensions going into the biggest match on the European football calendar during the Champions League era, beginning with the 1994 final between AC Milan and Barcelona.
1994: AC Milan vs. Barcelona: Alessandro Costacurta (AC Milan)
The second final of the Champions League era took place in Athens and featured powerhouses AC Milan and Barcelona.
But the Rossoneri had to make do without the services of central defender Alessandro Costacurta, who had seen his chances of lining up at the Olympic Stadium dashed during the semi-final round against Monaco.
Nevertheless, teammates Paolo Maldini and Filippo Galli held the fort against the Catalans, and Milan cruised to a 4-0 victory.
1994: AC Milan vs. Barcelona: Franco Baresi (AC Milan)
Not only did Milan have to face Barcelona without Costacurta, but they were also without captain Franco Baresi when they faced the Catalan giants in Athens.
Baresi, who spent his entire professional career at the San Siro, had already won a pair of European Cups with Milan by 1994, and he’d retire three years later as one of Italy's most respected defensive players.
1996: Ajax vs. Juventus: Michael Reiziger (Ajax)
Carrying a 1-0 advantage into the second leg of their Champions League semi-final against holders Ajax, Panathinaikos played a physical first half against the Dutch side in the return contest and managed to get Michael Reiziger booked in the 40th minute.
Reiziger, a defender who would finish his international career with 72 caps for the Netherlands, had to watch the Rome final against Juventus from the stands, and after a 1-1 draw, the Bianconeri prevailed on penalties.
1999: Manchester United vs. Bayern Munich: Paul Scholes (Manchester United)
The second leg of Manchester United’s 1999 semi-final against Juventus took a toll on the Red Devils' playing staff.
Shortly after coming on as a substitute midway through the second half, United midfielder Paul Scholes was shown a yellow card—ruling him out for the Champions League Final against Bayern Munich.
1999: Manchester United vs. Bayern Munich: Roy Keane (Manchester United)
Roy Keane played nearly an hour against Juventus knowing he'd be missing out on the 1999 Champions League Final.
He also opened the scoring against the Bianconeri at the Stadio delle Alpi, but in the final against Bayern Munich it was a central midfield of Nicky Butt and David Beckham, who had moved inside from the right, that would celebrate a memorable 2-1 win over Bayern Munich.
2000: Real Madrid vs. Valencia: Amedeo Carboni (Valencia)
Amedeo Carboni's relationship with the Champions League Final is a bad one.
In 2000 the left-back missed out on the showpiece match against La Liga rivals Real Madrid and was replaced by Gerardo. Madrid won 3-0.
A year later, with Valencia back in the final, Carboni committed the foul that allowed Bayern Munich's Stefan Effenberg to equalise from the spot; he then missed from 12 yards during the penalty shootout as Bayern prevailed.
2002: Real Madrid vs. Bayer Leverkusen: Ze Roberto (Bayer Leverkusen)
There was a time when Ze Roberto was considered to be among the best defensive midfielders in the world.
But in 2002, the Brazilian was booked for an off-the-ball incident in the second leg of a Champions League semi-final against Manchester United and wound up missing the Glasgow final.
Madrid won 2-1 thanks to a Zinedine Zidane winner, and just a few weeks later Ze Roberto and Leverkusen teammate Michael Ballack joined Bayern Munich.
2003: AC Milan vs. Juventus: Pavel Nedved (Juventus)
Juventus midfielder Pavel Nedved won the Ballon d'Or for his exploits in 2003, but that spring he watched helplessly as the Bianconeri were defeated in the Champions League Final by AC Milan on penalties.
The Czech Republic international had been booked for a foul on Steve McManaman with just eight minutes remaining in Juve's semi-final second leg against Real Madrid.
2009: Barcelona vs. Manchester United: Eric Abidal (Barcelona)
Incredibly, six years passed between Nedved's Champions League Final suspension and that incurred by Barcelona defender Eric Abidal.
Shortly after the hour mark of the Catalans' semi-final second leg away to Chelsea, the Frenchman was shown a straight red card for a dangerous foul on Nicolas Anelka.
But despite the numerical disadvantage, Barcelona managed to sneak into the 2009 final thanks to a late, late goal from Andres Iniesta.
2009: Barcelona vs. Manchester United: Dani Alves (Barcelona)
Dani Alves also ruled himself out of the 2009 final in the same match at Stamford Bridge—the result of a foul on Ashley Cole on the half-hour mark.
Nevertheless, Barcelona would plug their defensive holes with Yaya Toure (who allowed Carles Puyol to move to right-back) and Sylvinho, and thanks to some magic from Samuel Eto'o and Lionel Messi, they beat Manchester United 2-0 in Rome.
2009: Barcelona vs. Manchester United: Darren Fletcher (Manchester United)
Manchester United had their own personnel problems going into the 2009 final against Barcelona.
With 15 minutes remaining in what would be a 3-1 win over Arsenal in the second leg of their semi-final, Darren Fletcher was judged to have fouled Cesc Fabregas inside the United box and was subsequently issued a straight red card.
United went into the final without their best defensive midfielder, and not surprisingly they were cut to ribbons in the centre of the park by Barcelona.
2010: Inter Milan vs. Bayern Munich: Thiago Motta (Inter Milan)
Inter Milan took a 3-1 aggregate advantage into the second leg of their 2010 semi-final against Barcelona, but less than half an hour after kick-off at Camp Nou, they were reduced to 10 men after Thiago Motta’s ejection for a straight-arm foul on Sergio Busquets.
Incredibly, Jose Mourinho's Nerazzurri conceded just a single goal in the Catalan capital, and in the Madrid final against Bayern Munich, Javier Zanetti and Esteban Cambiasso held down the fort in central midfield as Inter beat Bayern Munich 2-0.
2010: Inter Milan vs. Bayern Munich: Franck Ribery (Bayern Munich)
The other absentee in that 2010 final was Bayern Munich attacker Franck Ribery.
The France international had been shown a straight red card for a foul on Lisandro Lopez during the semi-final round against Lyon, and in Madrid the Bavarian giants were forced to deploy Hamit Altintop on the left-hand side of the attack.
2011: Barcelona vs. Manchester United: Jose Pinto (Barcelona)
The 14th player to miss a Champions League Final through suspension had absolutely no impact on the result.
Shortly before the break in Barcelona's semi-final first leg against Real Madrid in 2011, substitute goalkeeper Jose Pinto was shown a straight red card following a touchline melee involving both sets of players.
Barcelona No. 1 Victor Valdes was always going to start the final, anyway, and he and his teammates claimed their second European Cup in three years following a 3-1 win over Manchester United at Wembley.
2012: Chelsea vs. Bayern Munich: John Terry (Chelsea)
Incredibly, seven of the 22 footballers to miss out on Champions League Finals through suspension found themselves in the stands during the 2012 showdown between Chelsea and Bayern Munich at Allianz Arena.
Chelsea captain John Terry was the first to learn his devastating fate when he was shown a straight red card for his off-the-ball challenge on Alexis Sanchez during the second leg of the Blues' semi-final encounter against Barcelona.
2012: Chelsea vs. Bayern Munich: Ramires (Chelsea)
Just seven minutes after Terry was sent off at Camp Nou, Chelsea defender Ramires was shown a yellow card following Andres Iniesta's goal for Barcelona.
But the match just kept getting stranger and stranger, and on the stroke of half-time the Brazilian pulled Chelsea back into the tie with an unlikely goal.
2012: Chelsea vs. Bayern Munich: Branislav Ivanovic (Chelsea)
Three minutes after the restart at Camp Nou, Chelsea defender Branislav Ivanovic went into the referee's book as Lionel Messi prepared to take a penalty following Didier Drogba's foul.
Perhaps the confusion got to the Argentine because he ended up hitting the woodwork from 12 yards.
2012: Chelsea vs. Bayern Munich: Raul Meireles (Chelsea)
A warrior over the two legs against Barcelona, Raul Meireles was ruled out of the Champions League Final when he fouled Javier Mascherano in the 89th minute at Camp Nou.
At the time Chelsea were still poised to go out of the competition, but Fernando Torres' goal in the second minutes of stoppage time changed all that.
2012: Chelsea vs. Bayern Munich: David Alaba (Bayern Munich)
David Alaba's handball just five minutes into Bayern Munich's semi-final second leg away to Real Madrid ensured he’s miss a potential final against Chelsea.
2012: Chelsea vs. Bayern Munich: Luiz Gustavo (Bayern Munich)
Bayern Munich's midfield was dealt a Champions League Final blow when Luiz Gustavo picked up a booking in the 102nd minute against Real Madrid.
The Brazil international had been penalised for a foul on Pepe, but he'd hold his nerve through the remainder of extra time as the two sides went to penalties.
2012: Chelsea vs. Bayern Munich: Holger Badstuber (Bayern Munich)
Bayern's defence was dealt an additional blow when Holger Badstuber picked up a yellow card with just a minute remaining in the first half of extra time against Real Madrid.
But he'd end up celebrating a semi-final victory after the Bavarian giants' victory over Los Blancos on penalties to set up a final against Chelsea.
2014: Real Madrid vs. Atletico Madrid: Xabi Alonso (Real Madrid)
Xabi Alonso will miss the May 24 derby between Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid that will also serve as the 2014 Champions League Final.
The Real Madrid midfielder was booked for a foul on Bastian Schweinsteiger in the 66th minute of Los Blancos' semi-final second leg against Bayern Munich—a match they won 4-0.
He will now be replaced by either Isco or Asier Illarramendi.
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