Saturday, 28 May 2022 10:28

Jurgen Klopp's genius team-talk that backfired after wearing Cristiano Ronaldo boxers

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp will attempt to psych his team up to win the Champions League final tonight when the Reds face Real Madrid in Paris.

The German boss has long been known for his motivational skills and impeccable man-management, and that was as apparent as ever before the 2018 Champions League final. On that occasion, Liverpool faced off against Madrid in Kyiv as the Reds hunted their sixth major European honour. The Reds had missed out on the Premier League title in dramatic fashion and had to pick themselves up to face off Madrid.

In an attempt to ease his players' nerves before the game, Klopp decided to tuck his top into his Cristiano Ronaldo-branded boxer shorts before delivering his pre-game speech.

The stunt worked to an extent, as midfielder Georginio Wijnaldum explained how the dressing room reacted to spotting his underwear choice. The Dutchman told The Athletic : We saw he was wearing the boxer shorts of Cristiano Ronaldo.

"He did the meeting with his shirt stuffed inside his ‘CR7’ boxers. The whole changing room was on the floor laughing their heads off. That really broke the ice. Usually in those situations, everyone is serious and concentrated. But he was relaxed and made this joke.

“He’s done hundreds of jokes likes that. If you see that your manager is really confident and relaxed, it will have an effect on players. He is a father figure in those things for the players. With his jokes and his body language, he takes the pressure off players.”

James Milner explained that Klopp's stunt proves the type of manager he is, saying: “He thinks deeply about what he’s going to say before a game – and the CR7 thing broke the ice.

“This was just before we went to the ground for the final and we had our usual 15-minute meeting. He just lifted his top and had Cristiano’s boxer shorts on.

“Everyone started laughing – as you would before a Champions League final against one of the best players in the world and your manager’s wearing his boxer shorts. He just relaxed everyone. That’s why he’s such a good manager.”

While the stunt clearly managed to get his players to relax, things didn't go too well out on the pitch. Madrid ran out 3-1 winners after a pair of blunders from Lloris Karius.

That match did, however, turn out to be the last Ronaldo would play for Los Blancos. After failing to make the scoresheet, he gave an interview in the immediate aftermath and hinted he would leave the club.

He ended up moving to Juventus for £88million, ending his nine-year stint at Madrid which saw him become the club's all-time leading goalscorer. Madrid haven't been successful in Europe since, but it was Liverpool who made the showpiece final the year after.

Klopp and his side regrouped after the disappointment against Madrid and ended up winning their sixth European Cup in the Wanda Metropolitano by beating Tottenham Hotspur 2-0. The German also revealed shortly after Wijnaldum's quotes emerged that he hadn't worn the underwear since that night in Ukraine.

He admitted he wasn't planning on buying the Ronaldo branded pants, but that it was instead a happy accident. Klopp said: "That's true...some years ago when I was buying underpants, I simply grabbed the Ronaldo shelf.

"I still have them, but I have not worn them since the finals. During the final I deliberately wore it and during the session deliberately pulled them very far up to under the nipples. That was funny, looked funny."

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