Manchester United take on Ajax in Stockholm this evening in what is arguably the club’s biggest match since the Sir Alex Ferguson era.
The Red Devils have never won the Europa League, formerly known as the UEFA Cup, and victory in Europe’s second-tier club competition will ensure Jose Mourinho’s side are playing Champions League football next season.
It’s not been a particularly impressive debut campaign for Mourinho at Old Trafford despite victory over Southampton in the EFL Cup final back in February - United finished the season sixth in the Premier League table - but a win tonight would mean supporters end the 2016-17 campaign with smiles on their faces.
Mourinho’s side head into the final as the bookmakers’ favourites, despite their unconvincing recent form.
And if they do end up lifting the trophy, they’ll end up setting a record that their fierce domestic rivals Liverpool can never break.
Not that they need any further incentive to win tonight’s match, but this would make victory taste a little sweeter.
The record United can set that Liverpool can never equal
Per the Mirror, if United win the Europa League they’ll become only the fifth club in the history of European football to win all three of the continent’s major trophies.
So, that’s the Champions League/European Cup, the Europa League/UEFA Cup and the now defunct Cup Winners’ Cup.
United won the 1991 Cup Winners’ Cup thanks to a 2-1 victory over Barcelona in Rotterdam - Mark Hughes’ winning goal from an acute angle is one of the most famous in the club’s history - but Liverpool never landed their hands on the trophy during its 39-year existence.
Only four clubs have done it
Only four other clubs have won all three major European trophies: Bayern Munich, Chelsea, Juventus and Ajax.
The closest Liverpool came to winning the Cup Winners’ Cup was in 1966, when they were beaten 2-1 by Borussia Dortmund in the final at Hampden Park.
Will United win the Europa League final tonight? Have your say by leaving a comment below.
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