The UEFA Champions League has brought joy to soccer fans all across the world since its beginning in 1993.
It is without a doubt Europe’s largest club competition, and it has provided us with some incredible experiences along the way. This sport has it all, from team successes to individual bursts of brilliance. Young players undoubtedly fantasize about playing in a CL game and experiencing the excitement of a European night.
Even in the face of a global pandemic, the CL has continued to operate with the highest attention to the teams’ safety. This is the only club tournament in the world, aside from the Premier League, that has the financial resources to compete with leagues like the NFL and NBA.
Year after year, legends of the game such as Ronaldinho and Lionel Messi have been the league’s crown jewels.
Furthermore, the league has spawned numerous rivalries along the road. In the Champions League, scoring has a special meaning for players, and it shows when they take to the field. When a CL game is approaching, the mood and tension change dramatically.
As the final of the 2020-21 Champions League approaches, there is only one question that matters: who will win?
Manchester City are the slight favourites, according to OLBG’s tipsters, although Chelsea will be confident after beating them in the FA Cup Semi Final.
However, before we witness the PL titans square off, let’s take a look back at some of the most memorable CL final moments.
10- Carles Puyol’s unbelievable gesture towards Eric Abidal :
In the contemporary age, 2011 was most likely the start of Barcelona’s dominance. And the triumph over Manchester United in the Champions League final was the perfect example of that. Pep Guardiola was beginning to use a tiki-taka approach to the game, and it was seen on the field.
Puyol, on the other hand, made the season’s end even more memorable. Puyol, one of the most thoughtful players on the planet, went above and beyond what others could ever fathom. He handed his captain’s armband to Eric Abidal, who had recently returned from a horrifying battle with cancer, during the trophy presentation ceremony. That way, he’d be the first to raise the Cup with his favorite team.
Every professional footballer’s aim is to lift the CL trophy as a team captain. Puyol gave up on that with no second thoughts or qualms. This effectively conveys his affection for his colleagues as well as their admiration for him.
9- La Decima :
After winning the Champions League in 2002, everyone predicted that Real Madrid would dominate Europe.
With players like Zinedine Zidane, Roberto Carlos, and the rest of the galacticos, it wasn’t even a pipe dream.
However, continuous injuries and a lack of squad cohesiveness stopped Los Blancos from winning the Champions League for the first time in 12 years.
The scene was set in Lisbon, where city rivals Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid faced off in the final.
There was a definite sense of urgency in the air, as it was past time for a major team like Real to win the Champions League once more. They also possessed a well-balanced roster and Carlo Ancelotti, a quiet but resolute coach. Despite this, the club was unable to break Atleti’s tight defense for the entire 90 minutes.
Sergio Ramos, on the other hand, stepped up in injury time to head in an equalizer, setting the tone for the rest of extra time.
Real won the game 4-1 in extra time thanks to an outstanding effort from Gareth Bale and his teammates.
As a result, they were able to relieve a big weight off their shoulders by winning their 10th champions league and become the first team to achieve so.
For many Madridistas, it was a wonderful moment that will go down in history as one of the club’s greatest successes.
8- John Terry “slips” at the gateway of CL glory :
Chelsea and Manchester United were the most dominant teams in Europe in 2008. They happened to meet in the Champions League Final, which was a happy coincidence. While Chelsea was hoping to win their first Champions League, United was hoping to add another feather to their storied crown.
The final 90 minutes did not live up to the expectations. Despite the abundance of quality on display, both teams played conservatively and rarely asked each other questions. When it came down to penalties, though, the stadium erupted in excitement, and the atmosphere altered. The game might go either way, as everyone knew.
Twelve years ago today, Manchester United beat Chelsea on penalties to win the Champions League.
That John Terry slip …
— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) May 21, 2020
John Terry took the penalty kick that would send his squad into raptures. It was almost a given that he would slot it away with ease, as he was one of the calmest minds in the game. However, the light Moscow rain conspired against him, and he fell just as he was about to take the shot, sending the ball soaring past the crossbar.
United then snatched victory from the jaws of defeat by converting both of their penalties.
After his blunder, John Terry was visibly discouraged. The club’s whole squad and management were stunned by the events that unfolded, especially because they were only one goal away from victory.
Finally, this was another case of reality deviating from fiction.
7- Drogba brings home the CL that was long overdue :
From a period of mourning for Chelsea supporters, we move to a period of full happiness. Chelsea was not widely predicted to win the Champions League that year. This was due to a slew of injuries and the fact that all of its stars were nearing the end of their careers. They did, however, will themselves to a CL final under the tutelage of Roberto Di Matteo, who came in as an interim manager in the middle of the season.
Chelsea was seen as the underdogs throughout the tournament, even in the final. Even more so because they were set to play Bayern Munich at Allianz Arena, which was their home field. The Bavarian team appeared to be on its way to a comfortable victory. Didier Drogba, on the other hand, had other ideas.
He scored the equalizer with a looping header in the dying minutes of what was likely his final game for Chelsea, sending the match to extra time. Even after 120 minutes, neither team could be separated. When it came down to penalties, the squad chose Drogba to take the decisive kick. There was no misery in store for Chelsea supporters this time, as Didier Drogba calmly scored past Manuel Neuer to secure Chelsea’s first and only champions league title.
Chelsea has another chance to win the UCL this year, having qualified for the final after defeating Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid.
6- Porto’s improbable Champions League run of 2004:
Nobody anticipated Porto to win the trophy in a match between Europe’s greatest clubs in 2004.
The Portuguese club has traditionally been seen as a minor player on the world scene.
However, a young Jose Mourinho’s brilliance and a few extraordinary players were enough to weave one of the most unlikely underdog stories in Champions League history.
They faced opponents that were bigger than them in every sense of the term during their journey.
However, it is an extraordinary achievement that they were able to stay in the fight and win.
Because the club lacked the financial means to recruit top talent from around the world, the majority of the players were academy graduates.
When the players started getting picked up by bigger clubs, it was clear that the 2004 side had a lot of talent.
Porto, like Ajax today, became a feeder club, with players like Deco and Ricardo Carvalho going on to play for Barcelona and Chelsea.
But that doesn’t take away from what they demonstrated on the largest stage: gigantic conglomerates and ridiculous cash flow will never be able to capture the soul of football because there will always be another Porto sliding under the radar.
5- Lionel Messi’s iconic header :
Barcelona’s 2008-09 team is often regarded as one of the best club teams in football history, and justifiably so.
That team was victorious in every game they played.
The Barcelona team, which had a perfect blend of technical genius and emotion, was quick to exploit opponents’ mistakes and capitalize within seconds.
They met Sir Alex Ferguson’s Manchester United in the Champions League final, which included Cristiano Ronaldo and Rio Ferdinand. They were, however, no match for Lionel Messi’s brilliance. Messi jumped high in the air and headed home to the right of a helpless Van Der Saar after the pass was looped to him from the flanks.
It was tough to equal the aerial prowess of Rio Ferdinand and John O’Shea, but Messi had no intention of doing so. He only had to cleverly arrange himself into a gap between the two center halves. United tried everything they could to halt Messi and Villa’s powerful attack, but they still came out on top.
That header has become an indelible aspect of Lionel Messi’s legendary status as one of the best players on the planet.
4 – Manchester United’s fantastic comeback in the dying minutes :
The final of the 1999 Champions League was building up to be one of those dreary spectacles that leave spectators wanting more. United were unable to create enough attacks to trouble the German giants throughout the course of 90 minutes. It was clear that one side was clearly superior to the other.
Manchester United, on the other hand, staged a comeback that will go down in football history as one of the strangest game endings ever.
In the 91st minute of the game, United was awarded a corner. David Beckham, a young man, limped to the corner flag, fully aware that the tie was slipping from his grip. The ball rattled around for a long after he took the corner before Sheringham tapped it home. The Camp Nou audience exploded with joy when it learned that the game would be brought to life. What happened after that is history.
United was awarded another corner, this time in the final seconds of injury time. Beckham appeared to be in a better mood while taking the corner; he took it early and the ball found the foot of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, who roofed it over Oliver Kahn. And then, in the blink of an eye, one of the greatest comebacks in European football history was finished. Lothar Matthaus revealed in a recent interview about the game that there was no indication Manchester United would score even one goal, let alone two in the span of three minutes.
3- Gareth Bale’s astonishing bicycle kick against Liverpool :
For a variety of reasons, the 2018 Champions League final will be remembered. Real Madrid wins their third Champions League in a row thanks to Karius’ gaffes. None of those reasons, though, will ever be as unforgettable as Gareth Bale’s valor. Bale was introduced in the 61st minute to give the contest, which was tied at 1-1, more attacking energy. What he did after coming on will live on in the imaginations of football fans for the rest of their lives.
Bale was on the receiving end of a Marcelo cross just three minutes after getting onto the pitch. It was a positive message, given just within the perimeter. Bale turned his back on the goal and did the unthinkable. He attempted a bicycle kick and connected well enough to send the ball looping into the net’s back. The Kyiv audience was startled, and the pack erupted in a wild ovation.
Real gained confidence after the goal and went on to win the title for the second time. Gareth Bale’s Real Madrid career has been damaged by a falling out with the coach and a lack of playing time, but with this famous goal, he has cemented his place among the club’s greats.
2- “Oh Hello, Here we go” the most iconic comeback of Champions League Final history :
One of Liverpool’s best matches, the 2005 Champions League final versus AC Milan, took place in Istanbul, and fans remember it fondly. The Milan team, which boasted talents such as Andrea Pirlo and Kaka, were the clear favorites heading into the final. Milan demonstrated why they were regarded as one of Europe’s most potent sides in the first 45 minutes. As they proceeded down the tunnel for halftime, they had blitzed through Liverpool’s defense three times, leading the tie 3-0.
The rest of the match has gone down in history as one of the most exciting Champions League finals in recent memory. Liverpool came out firing, launching an all-out assault on the opposition and seizing any loose balls.
Thousands of Red fans were in a frenzy when captain Steven Gerrard scored the game’s first goal.
Following that, it was only a matter of will and drive to bring them level in the final phases of the game.
Liverpool had battled back beautifully after being dead and buried in the first half, and the momentum was now in their favor.
However, without Jerzy Dudek, the triumph would not have been conceivable. In extra time, the Polish showstopper was outstanding between the pipes, making a handful of incredible saves. In the end, the draw was decided in extra time, and Dudek was the hero once more, saving key penalties to seal the triumph.
Many young sportsmen were encouraged by that contest to never give up hope.
Later, Liverpool icon Steven Gerrard said that it was one of the most memorable nights of his illustrious football career.
1- Zinedine Zidane’s swirling volley in the 2002 Champions League final :
The commencement of the Galactico era in Real Madrid’s history peaked in 2002. Roberto Carlos, Zinedine Zidane, and other legends of the game joined together to form one super team.
As a result, a squad like that had to give Champions League triumph to the people who had invested in them.
From the first whistle, Real Madrid appeared to be the superior team vs Bayer Leverkusen. On the pitch, there was a lot of talent, and the team had a lot of individual brilliance. Despite Real being the better team, the game was still tied at 0-0 at the end of the first half. Roberto Carlos ran down the touchline and floated a hopeful cross towards the box in a final attack. Although there were few white shirts in the penalty area, Zinedine Zidane was standing exactly where the ball should have landed.
He fired a terrific volley that drifted directly into the top corner of the net as he went unnoticed. The opposing goalkeeper was astonished, and he didn’t even move until the ball had struck the back of the net. Everyone knew Zidane was technically gifted, but completing such a difficult skill in the heat of a CL final was another matter together.
Because it was the game’s solitary goal, the Real faithful’s enthusiasm for Zidane exploded after the champions league victory. At a time when there was little to no internet, a video of that miracle strike went global.
Zidane’s goal cemented his status as a Real Madrid and Champions League icon if he wasn’t already one.