Top 5 UEFA Champions League finals in history

In anticipation of the spectacle between Liverpool and Real Madrid, here are the best Champions League finals in history.

Top five UCL finals of all time

The iconic Stade De France will host the 2022 UEFA Champions League final between European giants, Real Madrid and Liverpool.

This will be the 30th final since Europe’s premier club competition was rebranded into the UEFA Champions League all the way back in 1992.

That means there have been 29 previous UEFA Champions League finals, many of which have been fantastic games of football and remain memorable to this day.

Let us take a trip down memory lane and rank the top five UEFA Champions League finals since 1992 in descending order of enjoyability and memorability.

The 2006 final between Spanish giants FC Barcelona and English club Arsenal was a cracking game of football at Stade De France, coincidentally the venue for this year’s final as well.

Arsene Wenger’s Arsenal had come into their first-ever Champions League final hopeful for a win but suffered a setback early on when goalkeeper Jens Lehmann got sent off after just 18 minutes.

Reserve goalkeeper Manuel Almunia was brought on in place of a distraught Robert Pires and even though Arsenal took the lead through Sol Campbell’s bullet header in the 37th minute, Almunia would be influential in the final.

Despite being a man down and a goal up, Arsenal continued to create the best chances, most of which were spurned by star striker Thierry Henry who was uncharacteristically wasteful on the night.

Barcelona punished Arsenal’s wastefulness with two late goals, Samuel Eto’o and Juliano Belletti both beat Almunia at his near post in the 76th and 81st minutes respectively to break Gunners’ hearts worldwide.

Just over 20 years ago, Real Madrid defeated Bayer Leverkusen at Hampden Park in Glasgow, Scotland in a game that is mostly remembered for its winning goal.

Los Blancos took an early lead when Raul Gonzalez latched on to a ridiculous long throw by Roberto Carlos to slide the ball past Leverkusen goalkeeper Hans-Jorg Butt who in all honesty should have done better.

Brazilian centre-back Lucio levelled proceedings with a bullet header for Leverkusen in the 14th minute but just before half-time Madrid retook the lead in legendary fashion.

Roberto Carlos aimlessly hoofed the ball into the air but luckily for him, Zinedine Zidane was standing in acres of space on the edge of the box to connect and produce that incredible left-footed volley into the top corner which Butt probably could have saved too.

Leverkusen created multiple chances to equalise in the second half but were continually thwarted by a fresh-faced Iker Casillas who had come off the bench to seal a ninth UCL title for Real Madrid.

Real Madrid would have to wait 12 years to win the Champions League again, and the search for the historic ‘La Decima’ would end against Atletico Madrid at the Estadio Da Luz in Lisbon, Portugal.

Diego Godin headed Atleti in front after 36 minutes and what followed was some of the most impressive lockdown defending in a bid to win their first-ever UCL trophy.

Sergio Ramos broke their resolve and hearts along with it as he equalised in the 93rd-minute with a header to force extra time.

Real Madrid then scored three goals in extra-time through Gareth Bale, Marcelo and Cristiano Ronaldo to secure the elusive 10th title.

The all-English final between Manchester United and Chelsea at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow, Russia was a tightly-contested affair as most finals are but also a great game of football.

Cristiano Ronaldo headed United in front in the 26th minute but Frank Lampard struck back for Chelsea with a neat finish on the stroke of halftime.

Both teams continued to create chances but no more goals were scored and the game went to extra-time where Didier Drogba was sent off for a scuffle with Nemanja Vidic which many believe to be the turning point in the game.

Penalty shootouts followed and Chelsea were one kick away from winning their first-ever UCL trophy and with Sir Alex Ferguson visibly trembling, John Terry famously slipped and missed.

Manchester United went on to win in sudden death after Edwin Van Der Sar saved Nicolas Anelka’s tame effort to secure the UEFA Champions League trophy.

As far as Champions League finals go, there can only be one winner, that night in Istanbul, movies have been made about it, Liverpool fans won’t stop talking about it…and why would they?

AC Milan raced into a 3-0 lead at halftime thanks to a 1st-minute goal by Maldini and a brace by Hernan Crespo and they could have even had more.

But whatever Rafa Benitez did at half-time worked wonders as Liverpool came out a different team, scoring three goals of theirs and equalising just 15 minutes into the second half.

The game remained tight for the final 30 minutes of regulation and further into extra time till it got to penalty shootouts where Liverpool won 3-2.

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