Top-5 greatest Champions League finals (since 1992)
Since the most important European club competition is called Champions League (1992), there have been 18 finals.
Some of them were great, others not so great. But hey, it's the most important match of the year.
Here's my list of the best five Champions League finals to date.
5-Barcelona vs Arsenal 2-1 (2006)
Barcelona were heavy favorites coming into this final, but Arsenal (a side that was underperforming in the Premier League) gave them a run for their money.
Lehmann was sent off in the 18th minute and Barcelona dominated the match, but it was Sol Campbell who scored for Arsenal in the first half.
In the second half, Barcelona did everything in their power to turn the match on its head, but it seemed impossible to breach Arsenal's defensive wall.
Eto'o finally scored in the 76th minute. The victory goal would come from an unlikely source: Belletti, who had only been playing for ten minutes. Enough to be the hero of this final.
Barcelona deserved the trophy, since they were the best team in Europe during the 2006 season. As for Arsenal, they were a very worthy opponent and they showed in this match why they had got so far.
Man of the match: Ronaldinho
4-AC Milan vs Barcelona 4-0 (1994)
Possibly the biggest blowout ever in a Champions League final.
Barcelona were overwhelming favorites coming into the match, as Milan were missing a lot of key players (Papin, Laudrup, Costacurta, Van Basten, captain Baresi...).
But odds are meaningless in football: matches are won (and lost) in the field.
And, in the field, Milan simply destroyed Barcelona and deservedly won 1994 Champions League.
Massaro scored two in the first half. Savicevic and Desailly scored two more in the second half to clinch Milan's triumph. Barca never seemed to find their game on that day.
Man of the match: Danielle Massaro
Manchester United vs Chelsea 1-1 (2008) United won 6-5 on penalties
The John Terry final.
Chelsea's captain and arguably one of the best defenders of his generation had one of those career-defining moments when he missed the penalty that would have given Chelsea the title. That miss probably still haunts him every day of his life.
The match itself was fantastic. Ronaldo scored the opener for United but Lampard tied the match before half-time. Both teams had chances to win it before penalties, with Chelsea hititng the woodwork three times.
Ryan Giggs scored the winning penalty.
Both teams deserved the title, but United was luckier on the day.
Man of the match: Edwin Van der Sar
2-Manchester United vs Bayern Munich 2-1 (1999)
An epic final. At the 90th minute, Bayern were the champions.
But United mounted an improbable and unprecedented comeback in injury time. Sheringham and Solskjaer were the heroes.
The Nou Camp saw arguably the most breathtaking end in Champions League finals history.
Man of the match: Mario Basler
1-Liverpool vs AC Milan 3-3 (2005) Liverpool won 3-2 on penalties
The "Miracle of Istambul", as some call, is undoubtedly the best final ever of the Champions League.
Milan were heavy favorites an with 3-0 at half-time few could guess what would come next.
Out of nowhere, Liverpool staged a magnificent comeback, with 3 goals in 6 minutes. Gerrard, Smicer and Alonso scored. 6 magical minutes for The Reds.
True, Milan was a better team. True, Milan had more chances to win the match.
But Liverpool showed incredible heart and that goes a long way in a football match. A heroic performance by Jerzy Dudek also helped and Liverpool eventually won in the penalty shootout.
An unlikely champion (considering Liverpool struggled to advance to the knockout stage), but a deserved one. Like all champions, after all.
Man of the match: Jerzy Dudek