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Kovacic sets remarkable record after winning Champions League for fourth time


Chelsea are champions of Europe again after Thomas Tuchel masterminded an unforgettable triumph over Manchester City.

Tuchel’s side outwitted Pep Guardiola’s City in Porto to complete a remarkable resurrection at Stamford Bridge.

The Blues sealed their second Champions League triumph after a resolute defensive effort at the Estadio do Dragao.

Kai Havertz’s composed finish gave the Blues the lead in the 42nd minute after Mason Mount’s defence splitting pass.

And the Blues held on to deny City their first Champions League win.

German boss Tuchel has inspired a remarkable turnaround since the mid-season slump that triggered owner Roman Abramovich to sack club great Frank Lampard.



Kovacic came on as a substitute for Chelsea in the Champions League final
Kovacic came on as a substitute for Chelsea in the Champions League final

Tuchel has managed to generate consistent top level performances from several stars who looked forlorn under Lampard before his dismissal.

Chelsea’s European success can act as a springboard for more under their tactful coach.

But one Blues player not short of glory on the European stage already is Croatian star Mateo Kovacic.

Kovacic sealed a remarkable fourth Champions League winners’ medal in Porto after coming on as an 80th minute substitute.

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The midfielder’s 17minute cameo after replacing Mount was the first time he has actually featured in a Champions League final, however.

Kovacic was involved in Real Madrid squads that lifted the European crowns for three consecutive years between 2015 and 2018.

He did not make the squad for the 2015/16 final against Atletico Madrid.

He was an unused substitute in Cardiff for the victory over Juventus in 2017 and didn’t get on the pitch against Liverpool in Kiev a year later.

But Kovacic can remember playing a role in Chelsea’s final victory as he added further to an enviable medal collection aged just 27.



Kai Havertz scored the winning goal for Chelsea in the Champions League final
Kai Havertz scored the winning goal for Chelsea in the Champions League final

It means the Croatian finally set a new record as he broke his Champions League final duck, after coming onto the pitch to make an appearance en route to collecting another winner’s medal.

Tuchel revelled in the determination and fight of his players in his post-match interview.

“To share it with everybody is incredible,” he told BT Sport.

What a fight, we made it 1-0 but I don’t know what to feel actually.”

“Today, they were deserving to win this. We wanted to be the stone in the shoe, the stone in the clockwork of Man City.

“We encouraged everyone to step out, go for duels one-on-one. We were great and had some dangerous counter-attacks, had some opportunities.

“The second-half was a real fight.”

Mount provided the key assist for Havertz’s decisive goal and was emotional at full-time after helping his boyhood club reach Europe’s pinnacle.

“I can’t put it into words, it’s impossible,” he added.

“I’ve played in two finals for Chelsea and we lost them both, FA Cups, so the way that hurt after the game, I’ve dreamt as a kid of making the final and winning a trophy – that’s what I’m all about, that’s what this club is all about, I know it in and out.

“I’ve been here as a kid, and now, to go all the way in the Champions League.

“We’ve played some tough teams and now we’re in a final and we won.

“At this moment in time, we’re the best team in the world, so you can’t take that away from us.”





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