The UEFA Champions League trophy is up for grabs this Saturday as Real Madrid look to become the first team to defend their title against a tactically adept and disciplined Juventus side. Down the years, this competition has given us some unforgettable memories. Hence, Followyoursport takes a look at the best 5 UEFA Champions League finals the world has witnessed in this millennium (in no particular order).
1. Bayer Leverkusen 1-2 Real Madrid
Real Madrid went into the final as the favorites, looking for a third Champions League title in 5 years. Meanwhile, Bayer had also had a good season, but could only finish as runners-up in the Bundesliga and the DFB Pokal, and were hence determined to avoid another second-placed finish.
The match turned out to be a close one, as Leverkusen actually pulled above their weight and created more chances than Real Madrid during the course of the match. Cometh the Hour, Cometh the Man – Zinedine Zidane scored a peach of a goal from just inside the box. A beautifully struck volley from the world’s most expensive player at that time won the final for the Spanish giants.
2. Monaco 0-3 Porto
The 2003-04 Champions League final saw the emergence of Jose Mourinho and his perfectly executed tactics on the biggest possible stage in European football. Monaco were the favourites to win the title, bettering the likes of Real Madrid and Chelsea to secure their place in the final. They did look the more threatening team in the game, but Porto’s strong defence and deadly counter attacks made the scoreline a tad bit embarrassing for a Champions League final.
Monaco couldn’t muster one shot on target.
3. Real Madrid 4-1 Atletico Madrid
A local derby in a Champions League final? What else can one want?
The season 2013-14 was a special one for Atletico Madrid as they won the La Liga after 18 years whereas Real Madrid craved of their first Champions League title in 12 years.
The match was tightly contested and Atletico Madrid led the game until 92nd minute thanks to a Diego Godin goal after an error from Iker Casillas. However, in the 93rd minute, Sergio Ramos thumped a header home and it all went downhill for Atletico then. Real Madrid scored 3 in the second half of extra time and it was a case of ‘so close, yet so far away’ for Atletico Madrid.
4. Chelsea 1-1 United (5-6 on penalties to United)
These English heavyweights had played each other 150 times before this game, but never in a European competition. Manchester United had won the league and Chelsea were eager to get their revenge by winning the Champions League.
Ronaldo and Lampard were on the scoresheet for their respective sides and the game finished all square till 90 minutes. It remained the same in extra time, but the game was not short of action. Lampard hit the underside of the bar, while John Terry had to make a goal line clearance off Giggs’ attempt. A spat between the players of both the teams saw Didier Drogba become only the second player in the history to see a red card in a European final.
The game then moved on to penalties, and after Cristiano Ronaldo missed a penalty, John Terry had a chance to win the Champions League for Chelsea if he could slot home his penalty. But, it was not to be for Chelsea, as he missed his penalty and so did Anelka afterwards, which handed Manchester United their 3rd Champions League title.
5. Liverpool 3-3 AC Milan (3-2 on penalties to Liverpool)
Arguably the greatest comebacks in the history of Champions League football. No list of ‘Best Champions League finals’ can be complete without this game.
This game is something which is difficult to express in words, and hence the video below would do a better job at taking you through ‘The Miracle of Istanbul’. Go on, the next 8 and a half minutes should be successful to give you goosebumps atleast once (for a Liverpool fan this number can be anything).
No words for this. A story only football can write.