Champions League: How the football world looked when RB Leipzig were formed in 2009

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RB Leipzig face Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions League semi-finals on Tuesday evening, just 11 years after they were formed.

The Bundesliga club were founded on 19 May, 2009, and sealed promotion to the German fourth division the following year.

They then reached the third division in 2013, the second division in 2014, before reaching the Bundesliga in 2016.

RB Leipzig’s meteoric rise has continued ever since. They qualified for the Champions League in 2017 and have finished third in the Bundesliga in the past two seasons.

They are now aiming to reach the Champions League final and if Julian Nagelsmann’s side do beat PSG in Lisbon, it would be a remarkable achievement.

Ahead of Tuesday’s semi-final we thought we’d cast our minds back to 2009 and remember how the football world looked when RB Leipzig were formed. It’s fair to say *a lot* has changed since then.

Julian Nagelsmann was 21 years old

Julian Nagelsmann was two months shy of his 22nd birthday when RB Leipzig were formed. Little did he know back then that just over a decade later he’d be leading them in a Champions League semi-final.

Now 33, Nagelsmann is hoping to become the youngest coach in history to reach a Champions League final.

Pep Guardiola was dominating with Barcelona (and still had hair)

Pep Guardiola had just finished his first and most successful season in charge of Barcelona.

The Catalan coach almost immediately transformed Barça into one of the best teams in football history.


Jose Mourinho won his first Serie A title with Inter Milan

Jose Mourinho, arguably the world’s most revered coach in the late 2000s, won the Serie A title in his first season with Inter Milan.

The Portuguese tactician then inspired the Nerazzurri to a historic treble the following year.


Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi faced off in the Champions League final

Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi were already regarded by most football fans are the world’s two best footballers in 2009.

They went head-to-head in the Champions League final that year, with Messi coming up trumps on that occasion, scoring a header in Barcelona’s 2-0 victory.

Messi also sealed the Fans’ Man of the Match award for his performance in Rome.


Ronaldo then left Manchester United for Real Madrid

Several weeks after the 2009 Champions League final, Ronaldo sealed a dream move to Real Madrid, who forked out a record-breaking £80 million to sign the 2008 Ballon d’Or winner.

The Portuguese forward would cement his status as an all-time legend at the Bernabeu, scoring an extraordinary 450 goals in 438 games.


Neymar had only just made his debut for Santos, aged 17

A baby-faced Neymar made his professional debut for Santos in March 2009, aged 17, in a 2-1 win over Oeste.

The Brazilian wonderkid remained in his home country until 2013, when Barcelona managed to secure his services.


David Beckham played for AC Milan on loan

David Beckham, still one of football’s biggest stars in 2009, floated between LA Galaxy and AC Milan (on loan) during the late 2000s.


The Zlatan Ibrahimovic-Samuel Eto’o swap deal happened

Barcelona’s response to Real Madrid signing Ronaldo was to bring Zlatan Ibrahimovic to Camp Nou.

Guardiola allowed Samuel Eto’o to move to Inter as part of the deal, but the Barcelona head coach ended up regretting his decision to bring Zlatan to his club.

The pair fell out spectacularly and even now, a decade later, there’s no love lost between the two men.


Tom Henning Ovrebo’s infamous refereeing display during Chelsea v Barcelona

Similarly, Chelsea fans still haven’t forgiven Tom Henning Ovrebo for his notorious refereeing display at Stamford Bridge in the 2009 Champions League semi-finals.

Chelsea had several penalty shouts dismissed by the Norwegian match official, who received death threats in the aftermath of the match.

"In the space of two hours, I went from being a fairly respected referee to becoming the biggest fool in international football,” Ovrebo said years later. "They put us in police escort until we could get a plane and return home.”


Fernando Torres was still one of the world’s best strikers

Fernando Torres was at his peak with Liverpool in the late 2000s, scoring goals for fun in the Premier League.

Things began to go rapidly downhill for the Spaniard in the 2010s, particularly after he joined Chelsea in 2011.


Tottenham had Gareth Bale and Luka Modric

Little did people realise in 2009 that Spurs had two of the world’s best players in their ranks.

Bale went on to become a global star at Real Madrid, while Modric won the Ballon d’Or in 2018 and is still plying his trade at the Bernabeu today.


Mason Greenwood was seven years old

Mason Greenwood, one of world football’s most exciting young talents, had only joined Manchester United’s academy two years earlier at the tender age of six.


Ronaldo headed to his final club, Corinthians

Brazilian legend Ronaldo was past his best by 2009 but still managed to score 35 goals in 69 appearances for Corinthians before hanging up his boots in 2011.

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