There have been some absolute humdingers scored by footballing greats on the biggest stage over the years – from Zidane, Messi and Rooney to, erm, Smicer. Here are (according to us at least) the best moments ever seen in a Champions League Final.
Have we included your favourite?
Hernan Crespo – AC Milan Vs. Liverpool, 2005
This isn’t about Hernan Crespo’s death-defyingly deft dink. Hell, this isn’t even about Crespo at all. Ricky Kaká, in the form of his life, turns on a six pence to embarrasses Steven Gerrard (not for the first time in this match) and thread an inch-perfect pass to bypass five Liverpool defenders and roll to the feet of the Rossoneri’s clinical number 11.
Alright, the dink was pretty sexy too.
Filippo Inzaghi – AC Milan Vs Liverpool, 2007
Another Milan goal against Liverpool – this time from 2007 – and another that’s more about the Kaká assist than it is the deadly finish. Pippo Inzaghi beats the offside trap (his biggest foe) to icily convert Kaká’s perfectly-weighted slide rule pass.
Vladimir Smicer – Liverpool Vs. AC Milan, 2005
A goal by Vladimir Smicer made all the more impressive by the fact that it was scored by Vladimir Smicer. The cheerful Czech wrapped his foot around a powerful daisy cutter to bedazzle Dida in the Milan goal. After this goal, Scouse fans in Istanbul were in no doubt – the comeback was definitely on.
Lars Ricken – Dortmund Vs. Juventus, 1997
It’s every boy’s dream to score the winner for their local team in a Champions League final. Born and bred Dortmund boy Lars Ricken did that with his first touch, 16 seconds after coming on as a substitute against Juventus. First touches don’t get better than that.
Steve McManaman – Real Madrid Vs. Valencia, 2000
Lovable, floppy-haired Steve McManaman was man of the match in Real Madrid’s 3-0 victory over their Spanish rivals Valencia. This sweetly-timed scissor volley was part of the reason why. El Macca, we salute you.
Dejan Savićević – AC Milan Vs. Barcelona, 1994
21 years ago Barcelona were the heavy favourites in a Champions League final against Italian opposition. Sound familiar? However, things didn’t go to plan. The Catalans were shellacked 4–0 by Fabio Capello’s Milan – including this outrageous lob by Dejan Savićević (3m in).
Needless to say, Barca will be hoping for a very different story this year.
Wayne Rooney – Manchester United Vs. Barcelona 2002
Against the all-conquering Barca side of 2011, United’s best chance of success depended on sitting deep and hoping for some inspiration from the talismanic Wayne Rooney. He duly delivered – but the Catalans were still too strong, winning 3-1.
Zinedine Zidane – Real Madrid Vs. Bayer Leverkusen 2002
The volley to end all volleys and the goal to end all goals.
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