The transformation of Barcelona under Johan Cruyff took an important step forward on May 10, 31 years ago.
The Catalans won their first trophy since the great Cruyff’s return to his old club, beating Sampdoria to claim the Cup Winners’ Cup.
Liverpool became European champions for the second time on this day in 1978 as they defended the trophy by defeating Club Brugge.
More recently, May 10 has brought about historic achievements from Stephen Curry and Rafael Nadal.
1978 – Liverpool defend European Cup
Liverpool became the first English team to retain the European Cup in 1978 – and they did so at the national stadium, too.
A solitary goal from Kenny Dalglish in the second half secured a 1-0 victory over Club Brugge at Wembley in a game that was a far cry from the thrilling 4-3 aggregate win for Liverpool against the same opponents in the UEFA Cup final two years earlier.
The Reds will not have cared too much, though. It was their second European Cup triumph, following on from 1977’s 3-1 defeat of Borussia Monchengladbach, and they would go on to lift the trophy twice more in the next six years.
1989 – Barcelona win Cup Winners’ Cup to kick-start Cruyff legacy
Johan Cruyff was a legend as a Barcelona player, but he returned as coach during a time of real strife at his old club.
Within a year, he had secured his first trophy in charge, as the Catalans claimed a 2-0 victory over Sampdoria to lift the 1988-89 Cup Winners’ Cup.
Goals in each half from Julio Salinas and Luis Lopez Rekarte were enough to seal the win and kick-start the sustained success of Cruyff’s fabled ‘Dream Team’.
By the end of the 1993-94 season, Barca had won four LaLiga titles in a row, a Copa del Rey, three Supercopas de Espana, the UEFA Super Cup of 1992 and the European Cup of the same year, where they beat Sampdoria again.
2016 – Curry becomes first unanimous NBA MVP in history
Stephen Curry led the Golden State Warriors to a historic 73-9 in a regular season in which they seemed to break records at will, only to lose the Finals 4-3 to the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Still, there was little argument against Curry being named MVP for the second year in a row. In fact, it seems there was no argument at all.
He swept all 131 first-place votes to become the first unanimous winner of the award in history, with Kawhi Leonard of the San Antonio Spurs a distant second.
— NBA (@NBA) May 31, 2017
2018 – Nadal breaks McEnroe record for consecutive set wins on single surface
Rafael Nadal is quite good at tennis on clay courts, if you were not aware.
Two years ago, he reminded everyone just how imperious he can be on the red dirt (if 12 French Open singles triumphs since 2005 was not proof enough).
By beating Diego Schwartzman 6-3 6-4 at the Madrid Open, Nadal broke the record for winning consecutive sets on a single surface. He reached 50 set wins in a row on clay, surpassing the 49 on carpet set by John McEnroe in 1984.
Remarkably, the run ended in rather meek fashion in his next match, as Dominic Thiem won their quarter-final 7-5 6-3.
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