Euro 2020 Special
 

Recalling the Greatest UEFA Champions League Finals Ever

Manchester City and Chelsea are bound to meet in a mouth-watering UEFA Champions League Final at the recently confirmed Estadio do Dragao, Porto’s home stadium in Portugal on May 30. The all-English final will feature some of the best talents in world football fighting it out to lift the most desired trophy in European football.

This has all the ingredients of being a classic Final and could follow in the footsteps of the previous thrillers seen at this stage of the competition. In this piece, we’re looking at the top five most exciting UEFA Champions League Finals from the years gone by.

 

BAYERN MUNICH 0-2 INTER MILAN | 2010

Jose Mourinho led the Italian giant, Inter Milan to their first Champions League trophy since the 1960s. It was an excruciatingly long wait for the Inter fans as in that period they had been forced to watch their city rivals lift the same trophy on seven occasions. As well as breaking their 45-year drought, Mourinho also led the side to their very first treble, which to date stands as one of the biggest achievements in Italian football.

Diego Milito’s delightful double sealed Inter’s 2-0 victory and ensured that the Argentine forward’s name is etched in the history of Champions League football.

 

CHELSEA 1-1 BAYERN MUNICH (4-3 ON PENALTIES) | 2012

Chelsea overcame all the odds to reach the 2012 UEFA Champions League final under manager Roberto de Matteo. This final was being played at the home of Bayern Munich, Allianz Arena, and nobody gave the English team a chance before the final. Bayern Munich were looking to clinch their first Champions League in over a decade, after falling short against Mourinho’s Inter two years before.

The match began in a fashion that was predictable. The Blues were behind with just seven minutes of regular time left. Step forward Didier Drogba. The Ivory Coast striker equalised to take the game into extra time. Thereafter, he stepped up to take the final penalty in the shoot out and won Chelsea their first-ever Champions League trophy.

 

PORTO 3-0 MONACO | 2004

Jose Mourinho’s best achievement to date has to be when he guided Porto to the most unlikely of Champions League titles in 2004.

They had a strong run into the final, after beating Manchester United and Lyon in the knockout stages. The Portuguese side hammered the French unit, AS Monaco 3-0 in the final courtesy of goals from Carlos Alberto, Deco, and Dmitri Alenichev.

 

MANCHESTER UNITED 2-1 BAYERN MUNICH | 1999

This was on course to be one of the more forgettable finals until the clock ticked into stoppage time or ‘Fergie time’ as United fans now like to call it. The United side were without the likes of Roy Keane and Paul Scholes who were suspended from the final. They fell behind to a sixth-minute Mario Basler strike and the game seemed all done as Bayern were far superior to the English side till injury time.

Just as the fourth official signalled three minutes of stoppage time, United won a corner that looked like the last chance for salvation. Teddy Sheringham’s strike took the game into extra time before the current United manager, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s 93rd-minute winner ensured that the trophy would be heading to Manchester to complete a historic treble for the club.

 

AC MILAN 3-3 LIVERPOOL (2-3 ON PENALTIES) | 2005

Liverpool’s miraculous comeback victory against AC Milan is the single greatest UEFA Champions League Final of all time. The ‘Miracle of Istanbul’ as the Reds love to call it was the story of underdogs beating a team as good as the World XI.

The Reds were 3-0 down at halftime and people expected that great Milan side to go on to embarrass Liverpool further in the second half. But the Reds’ talismanic captain had some other plans and almost single-handedly dragged his team back to 3-3. Shevchenko went on to miss the decisive penalty in the shootout, handing Liverpool the most dramatic and unlikely of victories.

This will not only be remembered as the greatest UEFA Champions League Final of all time but also as perhaps the greatest individual performance in the final. Steven Gerrard’s second-half display was one of the most inspiring performances in the history of this wonderful competition as he went on to write his name in the folklore of Liverpool football club.

 

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