We like our quirky features here on The Leeds Press so with the Champions League knockout stages entering full swing, we’ve features six former Leeds United stars who have played in the final of European club football’s showpiece event.
Ferdinand was a key member of the Leeds United squad that suffered heart-breaking defeat in the 2001 Champions League semi-final. However, after making the controversial switch to rivals Manchester United in 2002, he would go onto win the trophy in 2008 as Manchester United defeated Chelsea in the final. His United side would play in two more finals in 2009 and 2011.
Bravo only had a short stint at Elland Road, joining the club on loan from Real Madrid in 2003 because he simply couldn’t force Roberto Carlos out of the Madrid side as the two battled for the left-back slot. The Spaniard only made 5 league appearances for Leeds, but he did join the club as a Champions League winner. Bravo won the trophy in 2002, defeating Bayer Leverkusen in the final.
Another left-back on the list now, though Danny Rose is an interesting case. Rose spent his entire youth career at Leeds, graduating from their academy. However, he failed to make a single appearance for the club before making the switch to Tottenham Hotspur in 2007 for around £1 million. He started the 2019 final against Liverpool, where Tottenham lost 2-0 due to a Mohamed Salah penalty and a late Divock Origi goal.
Leeds fans don’t think too fondly of Harry Kewell these days, but he still played for the club and he still played in a Champions League final, so he still makes this list. Kewell started the 2005 final for Liverpool against AC Milan, and became part of one of the greatest sporting comebacks in history as Liverpool fought back from 3-0 down to defeat the Italian giants.
Making his debut at just 16 years old, Milner made 48 league appearances for Leeds before financial troubles forced the club into selling him to Newcastle in 2004. Milner was at Liverpool for their 2018 final defeat to Real Madrid and the 2019 victory over Tottenham Hotspur, meaning he has first-hand experience of the highs and lows of the Champions League.
Pennant made 36 appearances in Leeds United’s relegation season in 2004 on loan from Arsenal before joining Birmingham City the following season. He was a runner up in the 2007 final for Liverpool as they fell to AC Milan, payback for that night in Istanbul.