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Champions League Final Player of the Match Odds: Retiring Toni Kroos favourite

In his last club game before heading to the Euros with Germany and then retirement, Toni Kroos is 7/2 to win Player of the Match in the Champions League final.

Champions League Final Player of the Match

The midfielder has been superb once again this season, laying on a fabulous assist for Vinicius in the semi-final against Bayern Munich and will no doubt play a big part at Wembley on Saturday.

bet365’s Steve Freeth said: “Ordinarily you’d find Jude Bellingham and Vinicius Jr at the top of the market, but the curtain is coming down on Toni Kroos’s club career at Wembley and there’s no finer stage for the 34-year-old to put on a Player of the Match performance in such a huge game.”

The last four Champions League finals have all been won 1-0, and the one before that wasn’t the most exciting affair after Liverpool’s early penalty. As such, only two goalscorers have been named Player of the Match in the last five years – Rodri and Kingsley Coman – with Virgil van Dijk and N’Golo Kante shining in their Champions League wins before Thibaut Courtois’s heroics kept Liverpool at bay in 2022.

Courtois was the third goalkeeper this century to win the award after Oliver Kahn and Edwin van der Sar, and the first to do so without having to go through penalties.

It will come as no surprise to learn that no player on the losing side has been named the final’s best player this century, and the odds would suggest looking at Real Madrid, with Los Blancos 3/10 to lift the trophy and generally speaking, the Player of the Match will be awarded to someone finding themselves involved in the goals, as has been the case in 18 of the 24 finals since 2000.

Naturally it’s goalscorers who stand out, but creators have also found themselves being named Player of the Match in the final, as seen with Xavi, Angel Di Maria (if we’re counting his shot that fell to the head of Gareth Bale as an assist) and Andres Iniesta in 2009, 2014 and 2015 respectively.

No goalkeeper or defender has won the award in a game with more than two goals, so if you’re expecting a high-scoring affair at Wembley, you can likely write off a number of players.

Five players have scored braces in finals this century – Hernan Crespo, Filippo Inzaghi, Diego Milito, Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale – unsurprisingly, four were named Man of the Match, with only Crespo missing out after Liverpool’s miracle comeback in Istanbul.

There are plenty of other narratives to keep an eye on besides Kroos, of course. Marco Reus is also playing his final game for Dortmund, while Bellingham will face his former club, then of course there’s the 34-year-old Joselu, Real Madrid’s hero from the semi-final.

Bellingham is joint-second favourite at 4/1, though his form hasn’t quite been at the level as when he first joined, and Vinicius may be a wiser pick at the same price having scored 11 goals in his last 14 games, including two in the first leg against Bayern Munich, as well as crucial assists against Barcelona and Manchester City.

The exciting Donyell Malen is Dortmund’s shortest-priced player at 14/1. The Dutchman is Dortmund’s top scorer in the Bundesliga this season with 13 goals, but has only started 21 games having been recently beset by injuries, and has completed 90 minutes just seven times since mid-September.

If Edin Terzic’s side are to emerge victorious on Saturday night, they’ll likely need another stellar defensive performance, and 35-year-old Mats Hummels, recently omitted from Germany’s Euros squad despite having won Player of the Match in both legs of the semi-final against PSG, is 16/1 to make it three on the bounce in Europe.

Previous Champions League final Player of the Match winners

Year

Player

Result

1999/00

Steve McManaman

Real Madrid 3-0 Valencia

2000/01

Oliver Kahn

Bayern 1-1 Valencia

2001/02

Zinedine Zidane

Real Madrid 2-1 Bayer Leverkusen

2002/03

Paolo Maldini

Milan 0-0 Juventus

2003/04

Deco

Porto 3-0 Monaco

2004/05

Steven Gerrard

Liverpool 3-3 Milan

2005/06

Samuel Eto’o

Barcelona 2-1 Arsenal

2006/07

Filippo Inzaghi

Milan 2-1 Liverpool

2007/08

Edwin van der Sar

Man Utd 1-1 Chelsea

2008/09

Xavi

Barcelona 2-0 Man Utd

2009/10

Diego Milito

Inter 2-0 Bayern Munich

2010/11

Lionel Messi

Barcelona 3-1 Man Utd

2011/12

Didier Drogba

Chelsea 1-1 Bayern Munich

2012/13

Arjen Robben

Bayern Munich 2-1 Borussia Dortmund

2013/14

Angel Di Maria

Real Madrid 4-1 Atletico Madrid

2014/15

Andres Iniesta

Barcelona 3-1 Juventus

2015/16

Sergio Ramos

Real Madrid 1-1 Atletico Madrid

2016/17

Cristiano Ronaldo

Real Madrid 4-1 Juventus

2017/18

Gareth Bale

Real Madrid 3-1 Liverpool

2018/19

Virgil van Dijk

Liverpool 2-0 Tottenham

2019/20

Kingsley Coman

PSG 0-1 Bayern Munich

2020/21

N’Golo Kante

Man City 0-1 Chelsea

2021/22

Thibaut Courtois

Liverpool 0-1 Real Madrid

2022/23

Rodri

Man City 1-0 Inter

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