UEFA Champions League: 10 Best Goals Ever in Europe's Elite Club Competition

Chris PotterCorrespondent IMarch 1, 2011

UEFA Champions League: 10 Best Goals Ever in Europe's Elite Club Competition

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    Does Zinedine Zidane make it onto the list of the best 10 goals ever scored with his exquisite volley in the Champions League final  at Hampden Park in 2002?
    Does Zinedine Zidane make it onto the list of the best 10 goals ever scored with his exquisite volley in the Champions League final at Hampden Park in 2002?

    Next Tuesday, the 2011 UEFA Champions League kicks back into gear with a thrilling tie at Camp Nou as Barcelona seek to overturn a first-leg one-goal deficit against a team mockingly dubbed ''Barca Lite,'' Arsenal.

    In the first leg, however, the North Londoners overcame the disappointment of falling behind to Lionel Messi's well-worked goal to win 2-1, courtesy of a beautifully-crafted Andrei Arshavin strike towards the end of the match.

    While Arshavin's goal was special in a full-fat Barcelona kinda' way, does it have a place among the great goals scored in the elite club competition in world football, now in its 19th year as we know it?

    Unfortunately not.

    For there have many fine goals over the past two decades—goals of breathtaking individual skill, instinctive finishing and remarkable teamwork.

    In this video slideshow, I count down those which I consider to be the 10 best ever scored. Prepare to be surprised by one or two inclusions and omissions!

10: Kaka Slaloms His Way to a Memorable Goal

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    When?

    2005-06 competition.

    Team

    A.C. Milan

    Opponents

    Fenerbahce of Turkey

    Video

    0:52 into the clip.

    What?

    Ambrosini picks the ball up 10 yards inside his own and lays the ball onto an advancing Kaka. The Brazilian nonchalantly beats three Turkish defenders to cooly slot the ball into the near corner of the net.

    The commentator goes nuts as he reflects on a moment of simple football stunningly executed. A real textbook lesson in awareness and close control and on such a big stage.

9: Hugo Almeida Silences San Siro with Incredible Power

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    When?

    2005-06 competition.

    Team

    F.C. Porto

    Opponents

    Internazionale at the San Siro

    Video

    Blink and you'll miss it—0:09 and 0:10.

    What?

    Possibly the best free-kick ever witnessed in European football.

    Almeida lines up a set-piece from nearly 40 yards away from goal and hits a rasping left-foot shot that rockets into the top corner with such power that the pitchside microphones pick up the sound of the ball hitting the net.

8: Raul Profits from Sensational Redondo Skill to Stun Manchester United

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    When?

    1999-2000 competition.

    Team

    Real Madrid

    Opponents

    Manchester United at Old Trafford

    Video

    Keep a close eye on 0:10 for some outrageous skill.

    What?

    Redondo receives the ball on the left side of the halfway line, surges forward, backheels the ball past a stranded Henning Berg before looking up and picking a perfect ball out for Raul to slot into an empty net. 

7: Essien Smashes an Unstoppable Volley Past Barcelona

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    When?

    2008-09 competition.

    Team

    Chelsea

    Opponents

    F.C. Barcelona

    Video

    0:06 is the moment Michael Essien unleashes the power.

    What?

    The Ghanaian is known for his power and he proved it spectacularly nearly two years ago when he plucked a deflected pass out of the air to smash a wrong-footed shot into the top corner from 25 yards. Technical brilliance from the midfield powerhouse.

6: Zidane Hits the Headlines for the Right Reasons

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    When?

    2002 UEFA Champions League Final

    Team

    Real Madrid

    Opponents

    Bayer Leverkusen

    Video

    0:07—try to ignore the ridiculous foreign commentary afterwards!

    What?

    Although this goal is somewhat over-hyped, there are very few players who have the confidence, poise and technical ability to pull off a volley from 20 yards when the ball is coming down from such a height. That this was the winning goal in the final of the competition adds to the beauty of the moment.

5: Overmars and Barcelona Tear Liverpool to Pieces

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    When?

    2001-02 competition.

    Team

    F.C. Barcelona

    Opponents

    Liverpool

    Video

    6:47 in this clip is when the move starts.

    What?

    Barcelona demonstrate excellent passing skills with 26 strung together consecutively before the little general, Xavi Hernandez, measures an inch-perfect ball between Liverpool's defenders for Marc Overmars to round Jersey Dudek and score a wonderful goal.

4: Yuri Zhirkov Finally Gets Deserved Credit for Individual Brilliance

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    When?

    2006-07 competition.

    Team

    CSKA Moscow

    Opponents

    Hamburg

    Video

    All of it.

    What?

    A goal reminiscent of, but better than, Kaka's earlier solo effort for AC Milan.

    Russian left-winger Zhirkov seems to have run out of space when he has his first touch, but he quickly turns his first adversary, chips the ball over the next player, rushes in between two oncoming defenders and calmly finishes past the goalkeeper for a memorable effort. 

3: Is It a Bird, Is It a Plane? No, It's Mauro Bressan

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    When

    1999-2000 competition.

    Team

    A.F.C Fiorentina

    Opponents

    F.C. Barcelona

    Video 

    The bit after they play airball...

    What?

    A stunning long-range overhead kick from little-known Bressan helped Fiorentina to a 3-3 draw against the Spanish giants. A much better goal than Wayne Rooney's recent effort as it was such a long way out and so perfectly executed.

2: Bergkamp Dazzles the World with Close-Range Skill, Ljungberg Scores

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    When?

    2001-02 competition.

    Team

    Arsenal

    Opponents

    Juventus

    Video

    The move starts when the referee inadvertently gives Arsenal the ball after three seconds of this clip.

    What?

    Patrick Vieira releases Swede Ljungberg down the middle of the field on a counter-attack. He then finds forward Dennis Bergkamp to his right and the Dutchman twists and turns more than a contortion act before finding his teammate with a clever side-footed chip. Ljungberg finishes a great team move with a cute dink over the goalkeeper.

1: Giannakopoulos Wondergoal Opens Olympiacos CL Account

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    When?

    1998-99 competition.

    Team

    Olympiacos

    Opponents

    F.C. Porto

    Video

    Unfortunately grainy.

    What?

    The Greek champions break from their own penalty area on the left side of the field and a young Stelios Giannakopoulos latches onto a clever reverse centre to smash an unstoppable dipping volley from 40 yards over the keeper to score his club's first-ever goal in the competition. A truly special moment for the young Greek.