The Greatest Champions League Final Moments

Ed Wyman@@edwymanCorrespondent IMay 9, 2011

The Greatest Champions League Final Moments

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    ISTANBUL, TURKEY - MAY 25:  Liverpool players celebrate with the trophy following the victory in the UEFA Champions League final between Liverpool and AC Milan on May 25, 2005 at the Ataturk Olympic Stadium in Istanbul, Turkey.  (Photo by Getty Images/Get
    Getty Images/Getty Images

    Since the UEFA Champions League final, in its current form, was first contested in 1993, there have been some truly unforgettable moments.

    As the final of the 2011 edition of the most prestigious European club competition draws ever closer, there could be no better time to look at what the players of Manchester United and Barcelona have to look up to, the type of moments they could create.

    So, here are some of the top moments from the UEFA Champions League finals over the last 18 years. 

Jose Mourinho Inter Milan vs. Bayern Munich

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    MADRID, SPAIN - MAY 22:  Head coach Jose Mourinho (L) and Marco Materazzi of Inter Milan celebrate their team's victory at the end of the UEFA Champions League Final match between FC Bayern Muenchen and Inter Milan at the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu on May
    Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

    Maybe it's just because it is the most recent one, but there seemed to be something special about last season's post-match Champions League final celebration. Perhaps it was because Mourinho was being widely linked with a move away from Inter, or perhaps it was because it completed a treble.

    Whatever the reason, it felt like a truly incredible celebration as Inter completed the first Italian treble. As Mourinho hugged all his players' and paraded his son around on his head, you got to see a side of Mourinho you don't often get to.

Patrick Kluivert Ajax vs. A.C. Milan 1995

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    Patrick Kluivert received a pass from Frank Rijkaard on the edge of the box in the 85th minute. He beat a defender before a tackle from a second defender looked to have taken the ball away from him. However, the Dutch striker managed to stick a leg out and slot the ball past Sebastiano Rossi into the bottom corner, thus scoring the only goal of the match as Ajax beat Milan 1-0.

    The joy on 18-year-old Kluivert's face as his teammates mobbed him created a truly unforgettable moment. It was a goal that turned Kluivert into a star, going on to play for AC Milan and Barcelona, scoring 120 goals for the Catalans.  

Lars Ricken Borrusia Dortmund vs. Juventus 1997

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    Oct 1998:  Lars Ricken of Borussia Dortmund in action during a match against Bayern Munich in Munich, Germany.   \ Mandatory Credit: Gary M Prior/Allsport
    Gary M. Prior/Getty Images

    Lars Ricken had been on the pitch 16 seconds when he scored the goal that sealed Borussia Dortmund's first, and so far only, Champions League crown. With his first touch of the ball, Ricken lobbed the goalkeeper from 20 yards out, becoming the youngest and fastest scorer of a goal in a Champions League final.

    Ricken's career would be blighted by injury, forcing him to miss the 1998 World Cup and Euro 2000. He spent the whole of his 15 year career at Dortmund appearing 301 times and scoring 49 goals. None of those will be better remembered than his brilliant long range finish against Juventus.

John Terry Manchester United vs. Chelsea 2008

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    Regardless of personal feelings towards him, you had to feel sorry for John Terry after the 2008 Champions League final. After a back and forth tussle, the game finished 1-1 after 90 minutes. An exciting period of extra time failed to produce any more goals, leading to a penalty shoot-out.

    Ronaldo's penalty miss meant that if Terry scored, Chelsea won. Terry's foot slipped on the wet ground, his penalty hit the outside of the post as van der Saar dived the wrong way and United went on to win the 2008 Champions League.

    The picture of Terry crying in the wake of his penalty miss may well be the image he is best remembered by, a tragedy for a player who has been so vital to Chelsea and England for many years. It perfectly encapsulated the importance of the Champions League and the importance of every single step in professional football.

Dejan Savicevic AC Milan vs. Barcelona 1994

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    Barcelona came into the 1994 as heavy favourites. They had won the league title and were in great form, while Milan were in the midst of an injury crisis. Star striker Marco van Basten had been injured for the whole season, new boy Guiluigi Lentini was injured, Costacurti and Baresi were suspended while players such as Laudrup had to be left out due to regulations about foreign players.

    However, Fabio Capello's side put on a clinic that is one of the greatest footballing displays by a club of all time. Dejan Savicevic's beautiful lobbed goal from the edge of the box capped off a completely unforeseen 4-0 triumph. A truly fantastic goal to cap off a truly fantastic game. 

Zinedine Zidane Real Madrid vs. Bayern Leverkusan 2002

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    Real Madrid were favourites going into the final, their ninth, but it took a moment of pure quality from French legend Zinedine Zidane to separate the two sides.

    Roberto Carlos sent a loopy cross from the wing to the top of the box. As the ball dropped almost vertically, Zidane hit the perfect left-footed volley from waist hight. The ball curled past the keeper, never rising above the cross bar to nestle into the top corner.

    It was one of the greatest Champions League goals and was enough to secure Real Madrid their ninth, and most recent, Champions League title. Zizou became a Real Madrid great, appearing 155 times for the most successful club in Spanish footballing history.  

Ole Gunnar Solskjær Manchester United vs. Bayern Munich 1999

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    Bayern Munich went 1-0 up after six minutes, and promptly held on to the lead until the 91st minute when Teddy Sheringham, who had been substituted on mid-way through the second-half, diverted a Ryan Giggs shot into the bottom corner of the goal.

    Then, just a minute later, Ole Gunnar Solskjær, subbed on in the 81st minute, shot into the roof of the net to complete a shocking turn around. His sliding celebration imitated that of Mario Basler when he had scored Bayern's goal in the first half. 

    Bayern's ribbons had already been attached to the trophy when United's first goal went in, flares had been set off around the ground by German fans, and the Bayern Players thought they had won. They hadn't banked on goals by two substitute strikers.  

Jerzy Dudek Liverpool vs. AC Milan 2005

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    ISTANBUL, TURKEY - MAY 25:  Liverpool goalkeeper Jerzy Dudek of Poland saves the decisive penalty from AC Milan forward Andriy Shevchenko of Ukraine during a penalty shoot out during the European Champions League final between Liverpool and AC Milan on Ma
    Alex Livesey/Getty Images

    Perhaps the greatest comeback of all time, this match has come to be known as "The Miracle of Istanbul."

    AC Milan found themselves 3-0 up at half-time, and were cruising to a comfortable win and a seventh title. A crazy six minutes saw Liverpool score three times and force extra time.

    Jerzy Dudek's incredible point blank save in extra time was memorable and important enough, but he surpassed it in the penalty shoot out. His incredible bouncing and twisting, combined with some brilliant saves, including the decisive penalty from Shevchenko, completed an incredible comeback and gave Liverpool their fifth European Cup.