20 Greatest Moments in Champions League History
The Champions League is considered to be the elite European club competition.
A tournament between the best of the best, if you like.
Naturally, any competition that boasts such quality will provide entertainment of the highest order—be it through goals, tricks, emotional moments or shock upsets.
Here are the 20 greatest moments in Champions League history.
20. Lars Ricken Lob
After going 2-1 up against the Italian giants, Stephane Chapuisat was substituted for Dortmund youngster Lars Ricken.
Sixteen seconds and one touch later, 18-year-old Lars Ricken did this.
Unfortunately, it takes a minute or so on the video to get to the poignant moment.
19. Deportivo vs. Milan Fightback
In 2004, Deportivo La Coruna found themselves 4-1 down to AC Milan after the first leg of their quarterfinal matchup.
Most teams would have turned tail and given up against the mighty AC Milan, but not Deportivo.
In an amazing display of self belief, Deportivo won the second leg 4-0 and progressed to the semifinals 5-4 on aggregate.
18. Young Ajax Down Milan
The 1995 Champions League final saw Ajax take on an AC Milan side that had made this their third final in as many years.
Ajax average player age was just 23, yet Patrick Kluivert scored the only goal of the night to ensure that Ajax's team of kids matured into men.
17. Dejan Stankovic Volley from Halfway
Moments of technical brilliance can be just as impressive as a victory in the Champions League.
After all, it's supposed to be one of the highest levels of competition on the planet, isn't it?
Inter Milan's Dejan Stankovic reminded us and Shalke what technical ability he had in 2005.
16. Jose Mourinho Celebration
Jose Mourinho is considered by some—and himself—to be the best coach in the world, and one thing he certainly brings to the table is passion and entertainment.
Cue Mourinho sprinting half the length of the pitch to celebrate with his players.
15. Messi Bags 5
It's not very often a player scores three goals.
Occasionally, a player nets four.
Lionel Messi decided to enter the Champions League record books by slotting five for Barcelona in a 7-1 rout of Bayer Leverkusen.
To be honest, he could have had six.
14. Chelsea vs. Liverpool Goal Fest
13. Barcelona Total Football
I don't know how many total passes Barcelona made before scoring against Liverpool, but Merseyside's finest just couldn't get near the ball.
Barcelona gave Liverpool a footballing lesson with this goal.
12. Goalkeeper Scores
Standard Liege needed a goal in order to ensure they would make the Europa League competition after failing to impress in the 2009-10 Champions League group stages.
What would you do?
Send up the goalkeeper, of course!
This was in the fourth minute of added time.
11. The Original Ronaldo Manchester United Hearts
With Real Madrid leading 3-1 from the first leg of their 2002-03 quarterfinal tie with Manchester United, the Spanish team were clear favourites to progress.
Despite losing this second-leg tie, Ronaldo had already done the damage with some amazing individual strikes.
This serves as a reminder as to why he was considered the best of the best in his day.
10. Liverpool Force UEFA to Change the Rules
After Liverpool won the 2004-05 Champions League final, UEFA and the FA found themselves in a difficult situation.
Liverpool had finished fifth in the league behind fourth-placed Everton, and it was left to the FA to decide which Merseyside club should take the final Champions League spot for the 2005-06 campaign.
The FA chose Everton and it was left to UEFA to eventually invoke a change in the rules to allow Liverpool to also enter so they could defend their title.
It was the right decision all round and a victory for football.
9. Lionel Messi Solo Goal vs. Real Madrid
Everyone knows how good Lionel Messi is, and here he is proving it against arch-rivals Real Madrid in 2011.
The first goal he scores is pretty decent, but the second, which bypasses four Real Madrid defenders, is pretty special.
8. Carles Puyol Steps Aside for Eric Abidal
Who says chivalry is dead?
Eric Abidal had to undergo surgery on a tumor in his liver in 2011 in what was deemed a serious threat to his life as well as his career.
Abidal made an amazing comeback and was awarded the captain's armband in the 2011 final versus Manchester United.
Barcelona went on to win the game and Abidal was the first player to lift the trophy in front of the rapturous audience.
A truly great story of fighting spirit and a never-say-die attitude—literally.
7. Mauro Bressan vs. Barcelona
Want to score a wonder goal in the Champions League against one of the best teams on the planet?
Mauro Bressan did just that in the 1999-00 season against Barcelona.
6. Wynton Rufer, Anderlecht and the Werder Bremen Fighback
Michael Bradley/Getty Images
Werder Bremen took on Anderlecht in the 1994 group stages, with the former finding themselves 3-0 down after just 65 minutes.
Anderlecht then imploded and Bremen notched an incredible five goals in one of the most impressive fightbacks ever seen.
Wynton Rufer—pictured above—scored twice for Bremen.
5. Kaka vs. Manchester United
Occasionally, there comes along a performance from a player that just sticks in the mind for years to come.
Kaka almost single-handedly destroyed Manchester United in the 2006-07 Champions League semifinals.
He shouldn't have left Milan.
4. Steven Gerrard vs. Olympiakos
In 2004, Liverpool needed to beat Olympiakos by two clear goals in order to progress to the knockout stages of the Champions League.
Olympiakos' Rivaldo gave the Greek side the lead with a stunning free kick, only for Florent Sinama-Pongolle to equalise for the reds.
Neil Mellor have Kopites hope with an 81st minute strike before Steven Gerrard took the roof off Anfield with this stunning last-minute goal.
Andy Gray's commentary is the stuff of legend.
3. Manchester United Smash and Grab
Bayern Munich probably thought they had this Champions League final in the bag after holding on to a 1-0 lead for almost 86 minutes in the 1998-99 final.
On came Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Teddy Sheringham to upset the applecart, and they did just that with a two-goal salvo in injury time to break German hearts.
2. Zidane's Left-Foot Finish vs. Leverkusen
They say big games are for big players, and Zindedine Zidane was certainly that.
Cue this amazing goal in the 2001 Champions League final for Real Madrid vs. Bayer Leverkusen.
Apparently, Zidane's left is his weaker foot. You decide.
1. Liverpool Comeback in Istanbul
AC Milan were three goals to the good at halftime against Liverpool in the 2005 Champions League final, and some Liverpool fans had already left the stadium.
Cue a six-minute Liverpool salvo, magnificent double-save from Jerzy Dudek and a dramatic penalty shootout.
Liverpool won it, and in doing so, they created probably the most memorable final of all time.
Twenty great memories from practically thousands that could have been used.
The Champions League is a superb competition and I expect to see a Barcelona vs. Real Madrid final this year. You heard it here first.
Thanks for reading and be sure to check out 10 Most Hilarious Footballer Names of All Time.
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