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Champions League final: Vote for the best

Photos of previous Champions League finals
So many great Champions League finals but which one was the best?

Manchester City face Inter Milan in the Champions League final on Saturday as they look to complete the Treble.

Could it join the list of great showpieces in the competition? The last three finals have all ended 1-0 so it is time for a classic, surely.

BBC Sport has picked 10 of the most iconic finals to date – which has meant some classic games did not make the cut. Read through them all and pick which one you think was best at the bottom.

Gareth Bale's acrobatic effort flies into the Liverpool net
Gareth Bale is the only player to come on as a substitute and score twice in a European Cup or Champions League final

The Karius/Bale final

Real Madrid 3-1 Liverpool (2018, Kyiv)

Whether you remember this game as the Loris Karius or Gareth Bale final probably depends on whether you are a glass half full or half empty person – or whether you support Liverpool or Real Madrid.

Liverpool keeper Karius, who never played for the club again, threw the ball directly off Karim Benzema and was helpless as it rolled in for the opening goal.

Sadio Mane equalised but Bale came off the bench and, two minutes later, scored a stunning bicycle kick. And there was still time for a second Bale goal and Karius error as the German fumbled in the Wales forward’s long-range shot.

Barcelona celebrate
Barcelona claimed their third Champions League in six years when they beat Juventus

Brilliant Barca complete treble

Juventus 1-3 Barcelona (2015, Berlin)

A great Barcelona performance against Juventus in the Spanish giants’ most recent Champions League win.

Ivan Rakitic put Barca ahead after a fine passing move before Alvaro Morata scrambled home an equaliser.

Luis Suarez put the Nou Camp side back in front after Gianluigi Buffon failed to hold Lionel Messi’s shot and Neymar added a third with the last kick of the match.

That sealed the treble in Luis Enrique’s first season in charge.

Sergio Ramos
This defeat started a four-year run of Real Madrid knocking Atletico Madrid out of the Champions League or beating them in the final

Atletico heartbreak in first derby final

Real Madrid 4-1 Atletico Madrid after extra time (2014, Lisbon)

Atletico were seconds away from a truly great season. A week after Diego Godin’s goal against Barcelona won them the La Liga title, the defender’s goal against city rivals Real Madrid looked set to seal the Champions League too.

But Sergio Ramos’ stoppage-time header sent the final to extra time, with Gareth Bale, Marcelo and Cristiano Ronaldo scoring in the final 10 minutes to give Real their 10th European Cup.

Didier Drogba
Didier Drogba’s goal against Bayern was his ninth goal in nine cup finals for Chelsea

The Drogba final

Chelsea 1-1 Bayern Munich; Chelsea won 4-3 on penalties (2012, Munich)

It is hard to imagine a more perfect farewell to a club than Didier Drogba’s for Chelsea in the 2012 Champions League final.

‘Hosts’ Bayern Munich looked set for victory through Thomas Muller’s goal before Drogba’s 88th-minute header forced extra time.

Drogba – with his last kick before leaving the Blues – scored the winning penalty in the shootout.

Let’s not mention the penalty he conceded in extra time which Bayern missed. Or the fact he came back to Chelsea two years later.

Lionel Messi celebrates goal against Manchester United
Lionel Messi’s two Champions League final goals have both come against Manchester United

Barca give Man Utd ‘a hiding’

Barcelona 3-1 Manchester United (2011, London)

During Barcelona’s peak under Pep Guardiola they beat Manchester United twice in Champions League finals, in 2009 and again in 2011.

Legendary United boss Sir Alex Ferguson said after the 2011 final: “No-one has given us a hiding like that.”

Barcelona delivered a Wembley masterclass, with Lionel Messi in inspired form.

Pedro gave Barca the lead, with Wayne Rooney equalising before goals from Messi and David Villa.

Liverpool keeper Jerzy Dudek saves Andriy Shevchenko's penalty to clinch a 3-2 shoot-out victory for the Reds
Liverpool keeper Jerzy Dudek conceded more first-half goals in the 2005 Champions League final than he did penalties in the shootout

The ‘miracle of Istanbul’

Liverpool 3-3 AC Milan; Liverpool won 3-2 on penalties (2005, Istanbul)

You know a game is special when it has a proper name. The phrase ‘the miracle of Istanbul’ is more familiar than calling this the 2005 Champions League final.

Liverpool seemed down and out when they trailed 3-0 at the break to Paolo Maldini’s first-minute effort and Hernan Crespo’s double.

But the Reds were a new team after bringing on Dietmar Hamann for Steve Finnan at half-time – as Steven Gerrard, Vladimir Smicer and Xabi Alonso scored in a seven-minute spell before the hour mark.

Jerzy Dudek saved penalties from Andrea Pirlo and Andriy Shevchenko in a 3-2 shootout win to seal a famous triumph.

Zinedine Zidane scoring for Real Madrid against Bayer Leverkusen in 2002
Zidane’s volley was named “the most beautiful” goal in Champions League history by France Football

That Zidane goal

Bayer Leverkusen 1-2 Real Madrid (2002, Glasgow)

Hampden Park did not necessarily host the best final, but it was the scene of the best Champions League final goal (until Bale’s bicycle kick anyway).

Raul gave Real Madrid the lead before Lucio levelled for Bayer Leverkusen in their only Champions League final.

But Zidane watched the ball drop from the Glasgow air before spinning and firing a perfect volley past Hans-Jorg Butt from the edge of the box.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer
Manchester United became the first team to win the Champions League despite not winning their domestic league the previous year

Man Utd leave it late

Manchester United 2-1 Bayern Munich (1999, Barcelona)

Still the most dramatic finale any Champions League final has seen.

Manchester United trailed for 85 minutes following Mario Basler’s early goal – and still won thanks to two stoppage-time goals from substitutes.

Teddy Sheringham slotted home a 91st-minute equaliser from close range, before he flicked a corner into the path of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer two minutes later to seal the Treble.

No English team have won the Treble before or since, although that could change on Saturday.

Ajax's 1995 Champions League winning side
Ten of the 13 players to play for Ajax in the 1995 final went on to play for at least one British club

Youthful Ajax catch the eye

Ajax 1-0 AC Milan (1995, Vienna)

Not the best final but iconic because it contained one of Europe’s greatest young teams.

Ajax – with an average of 23 – were unbeaten in the Dutch league all season and won the Champions League final against AC Milan thanks to a late goal from teenage substitute Patrick Kluivert.

Louis van Gaal’s starting XI in the final had nine Dutch players, including seven youth-team products, with most of them going on to be household names.

AC Milan lift Champions League
Both AC Milan and Barcelona left a Laudrup brother out of their squad in the 1994 final

The biggest final win to date

AC Milan 4-0 Barcelona (1994, Athens)

One of the best, if not the greatest, Champions League final performances in only the second year after the European Cup was rebranded.

AC Milan’s 4-0 win over Barcelona – who had been the favourites – remains the biggest margin of victory in a Champions League final, and the joint biggest in any European Cup showpiece.

Daniele Massaro gave Fabio Capello’s Milan a 2-0 half-time lead, with Dejan Savicevic and Marcel Desailly scoring after the break.

Which one of these do you think is the best Champions League final? Pick ‘Other’ if you don’t think it’s any of these. We had to leave some good ones out, like Manchester United’s win over Chelsea and Borussia Dortmund’s victory over Juventus.

If you are viewing this page on the BBC News app please click here to vote.external-link

A version of this was first published in 2020 – but none of the finals since have been good enough to enter the debate

Sourced From BBC

EltasZone Sportswriters, Sports Analysts, Opinion columnists, editorials and op-eds. Analysis from The Zone Team
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