There is no shortage of subtext for Sunday’s FIFA World Cup final (1998, anyone?) and here is another: barring injury, either Croatia skipper Luka Modrić or France defender Raphaël Varane will become only the ninth player to play on the winning team in the World Cup and UEFA Champions League finals in the same year.
European Cup-World Cup double winners
1974: Sepp Maier, Paul Breitner, Hans-Georg Schwarzenbeck, Franz Beckenbauer, Gerd Müller, Uli Hoeness (Bayern West Germany)
1998: Christian Karembeu (Real Madrid France)
2002: Roberto Carlos (Real Madrid Brazil)
To qualify, players must have featured in both winning finals, so Mateo Kovačić is not eligible because he was an unused substitute as Real Madrid defeated Liverpool in Kyiv seven weeks ago.
It’s an elite club which Sami Khedira so nearly joined four years ago, an injury in the warm-up preventing him from turning out for Germany in their FIFA World Cup final win against Argentina. He had won the UEFA Champions League less than two months earlier.
European Cup-EURO double winners
1964: Luis Suárez (Internazionale Spain)
1988: Hans van Breukelen, Ronald Koeman, Berry van Aerle, Gerald Vanenburg (PSV Eindhoven Netherlands)
2012: Fernando Torres, Juan Mata (Chelsea Spain)
2016: Cristiano Ronaldo, Pepe (Real Madrid Portugal)
A handful more endured bittersweet Khedira-like experiences. Wim Kieft lifted the 1988 European Cup with PSV but did not make it off the bench with the Netherlands in the 1988 UEFA European Championship final.
Real Madrid’s Nicolas Anelka met the same fate with France in 2000, while team-mate Christian Karembeu fared slightly worse – he was an unused squad member in the finals of both the 2000 UEFA Champions League and UEFA EURO 2000 (though he had been on the pitch to win both the UEFA Champions League and the 1998 World Cup two summers before).