Woah! I thought this would be relatively easy, as I listed off all the fantastic goals scored in the Champions League over the last 18 years. Then a few mates started throwing in a few suggestions and then you start to remember all the goals over the years, from last season to the last decade.
I’ve seen so many fantastic goals trying to create a top ten short list that my eyes feel like they are going to fall out of my face, but at least I am hugely inspired for playing football later tonight. Anyway, I know that the following top ten is not going to please everyone, if you want to comment on what goals you think should’ve made the list, then feel free. However, just because it did not get into my list, does not mean I didn’t acknowledge it, I did but I wanted to try and keep this top ten as varied as possible.
What do I mean? Well, what makes a great goal? Is it the moment, like Steven Gerrard’s strike against Olympiakos for Liverpool (that nearly made the list) or the stage of the competition, like a last minute goal in the final (Sheringham and Solskjaer). Or, is it just a fantastic piece of skill and individual play, like Thierry Henry’s control and finish against Sparta (again, it nearly made the list).
Taking it all into consideration, the following list hopefully has it all. From headers to over head kicks, to goals in the Final, to brilliant team work. Plus, the long range strike, whether from a set-piece or during play, sometimes they can get over hyped but there have been some sensational goals. I’m surprised myself that David Beckham’s free-kick against Barcelona in 1998 didn’t make it, or Hugo Almeida’s rocket of a free kick (thanks Joe), but personally I thought Juninho deserved to get in.
I did consider making an honourable mention list to those great goals that did not make the Top Ten, but it’d be too long. Players from the early nineties set the standard like Jari Litmanen for Ajax and Jean-Pierre Papin for Milan plus Gabriel Batistuta for Fiorentina, and to George Weah and Georgi Hagi…ok I’ll quit while I am ahead.
It was not just the big names in football that scored great goals, remember Arsenal’s left back, Sylvinho? He scored a great individual goal in the competition. Enough of my introduction, it’s time for you to check out my top ten Champions League goals of all time….and don’t forget to follow me on Twitter for football chatter – @verbal_football
10 – Andy Cole for Man Utd vs Barcelona 1998 group stage – One of the goals that graced the one of the two 3-3 draws in the 1998/1999 games in the Champions League. This goal came at the Nou Camp and it showed excellent play by strike partners Dwight Yorke and Andy Cole, which out of all the great goals in the competition I’ve seen, this was quite a rare and should be appreciated.
9 – Rivaldo for Barcelona vs Manchester United 1998 group stage – Keeping with the same game, Rivaldo’s brilliant overhead kick has to be included. The United keeper, Peter Schmeichel wasn’t expecting it and the United defence didn’t react, a piece of brilliance by the Brazilian.
8 – Dejan Savicevic for Milan vs Barcelona 1993/1994 Final – The audacious lob over the Barcelona keeper made it 3-0 to the underdogs AC Milan, managed by Fabio Capello. Perhaps I was persuaded for this goal to make the list for it came in the Final, but it’s definitely worthy for the main event.
7 – Lionel Messi for Barcelona vs Man Utd 2008/2009 Final – Ok, not Lionel Messi’s best goal in the Champions League but considering that it was the Final and it was a header by the little Argentinean trequartista, when does Lionel Messi score headers? Plus, it was a pin-point cross from Xavi and Messi did fantastic to jump and direct the ball into the opposite corner of the goal.
6 – Cristiano Ronaldo for Man Utd vs Porto 2009 knock out stages – Not scored in a final, like the previous two entries but Ronaldo’s thunderous shot from 40 yards deserves to be included. I was close to including his free-kick at Arsenal instead but there were questions over poor goal keeping being the reason. However, this goal against Porto for United was unstoppable.
5 – Juninho free-kick for Lyon vs Real Madrid 2005/2006 group stage – There have been some fantastic free-kicks scored in the Champions League over the years but the Brazilian, Juninho for Lyon is one of the best. I particularly preferred this goal because of the angle, power, distance and the fact it beat a world class keeper like Iker Casillas.
4 – Kaka for AC Milan vs Manchester United 2006/2007 semi-finals – Another Brazilian who makes the top ten. This goal by Kaka is a personal favourite because of the individualism involved. He had no right to score, with three United defenders surrounding him, but his skill, determination and composure made it and let Milan go on to win their 7th European Cup.
3 – Mauro Bressan for Firoentina vs Barcelona (1999/2000) group stage – It had to be included, Trevor Sinclair set the standard for overhead kicks outside the area but the Italian, Mauro Bressan took it to a whole new level in the Champions League with this goal against Barcelona. Amazing.
2 – Overmars goal for Barca vs Liverpool (2001/02) group stage – I’ve heard 25 to 30 passes, a through ball and a goal. Perhaps not as impressive as a strike from 30 yards but to me this is one of the best goals scored in the competition. The Barcelona team showed patience, composure and their passing ability in abundance before Overmars ran through to finish off the team move.
1 – Zinedine Zidane goal for Real Madrid vs Bayer Leverkusen (CL Final 2002) – It had to be! This goal is usually number 1 in these lists and I tried very hard to justify another goal making it to the number 1 spot but I simply couldn’t. Whilst Roberto Carlos’ cross is often criticised as a “miss-hit” in the build up to this goal, Zidane was able to repossession himself and volley into perfectly pass the keeper. Worthy of a final and to top this list of the best Champions League goals.
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