By News Team
Last Updated: 20th August 2020
Every football player’s dream is to play in the Champions League but to reach the final and have the chance of winning the competition is something else.
Over the years, there have been plenty of mesmerising finals, but we have narrowed it down to five of our favourites.
Liverpool vs AC Milan – Istanbul, 2005
With AC Milan 3-0 up after 50 minutes, it seemed impossible for Liverpool to stage any sort of comeback but what followed could be the greatest comeback in football history.
Steven Gerrard headed in to cut the deficit to two goals before Vladimir Smicer’s strike found the bottom corner. Liverpool were within just one and the comeback was complete when Xabi Alonso followed up his missed penalty and found the net.
Jerzy Dudek made arguably one of the greatest Champions League saves of all time to deny Andriy Shevchenko in injury time before becoming the hero in the penalty shootout, saving from Shevchenko again, to crown Liverpool champions of Europe.
Real Madrid vs Atletico Madrid – Lisbon, 2014
A first-half goal from Diego Godin meant that Atletico Madrid were only two minutes away from being crowned champions of Europe for the first time in the club’s history, but that was until Real Madrid were awarded a corner with 90 seconds to go.
The corner reached Sergio Ramos, who rose the highest and slotted the ball into the bottom corner, sending the game into extra-time.
Goals from Marcelo, Gareth Bale and Cristiano Ronaldo in extra-time would blow Atletico away and see Real win their tenth European Cup. La Decima had been accomplished for the first time in history.
Barcelona vs Manchester United – London, 2011
The best team in England would meet the best team in Spain at Wembley for a magical Champions League final in 2011. Pedro gave Barcelona the lead before Lionel Messi doubled their advantage with a strike from 20 yards out.
Wayne Rooney’s goal gave United fans hope but that was taken away when David Villa’s beautiful curling shot flew past Edwin van der Sar to find the back of the net.
Just like in the 2009 final, Barcelona had defeated United and were crowned European champions. Sir Alex Ferguson went on to say a few years later that Pep Guardiola’s side was the greatest side Wembley had ever seen and was ever like to see.
Borussia Dortmund vs Juventus – Munich, 1997
Reigning champions Juventus would face a Borussia Dortmund side who were making their first ever appearance in a Champions League final in 1997 in Munich.
Karl-Heinz Riedle found the back of the net twice to give the Germans a comfortable half-time lead. Alessandro Del Piero got one back for Juventus and although the Italians were dominating and getting closer to an equaliser, Dortmund’s Lars Ricken sealed off the game with a magnificent chip just 16 seconds after coming on as a substitute.
The underdog story that was Borussia Dortmund had a beautiful ending.
Barcelona vs Arsenal – Paris, 2006
Arsenal had reached the 2006 final in style, winning their group to move into the knockout stages before progressing without conceding a single goal against Real Madrid, Juventus and Villarreal. Barcelona, however, would be a step too far.
The Gunners’ challenge was dealt a decisive blow when goalkeeper Jens Lehmann was sent off after just 18 minutes with the north London club down to 10 men. Despite their disadvantage, Arsenal took the lead shortly before half-time through a flying Sol Campbell header.
Arsene Wenger’s side battled through the second half, but it wasn’t to be their night. Andres Iniesta and Henrik Larsson were brought on to swing the game in Barcelona’s favour and Samuel Eto’o netted the equaliser with just 14 minutes remaining. Four minutes later and the comeback was complete as another substitute, Juliano Belletti, squeezed a strike in at the near post.