Football is one of the world’s most popular and influential sports, played by millions of people universally who share a strong passion for the game and providing many with a lifestyle and career.
Many memorable goals have helped evolve the UEFA Champions League into the worldwide spectacle is it today.
The competition beings the biggest teams in Europe to face-off in an exhibit that has produced some of the greatest goals of all time.
From Cristiano Ronaldo’s bicycle kick to Ole Gunnars Solskjaer’s late winner in Barcelona, these are my picks for the top ten greatest goals in UEFA Champions League history.
10. Samuel Eto’o against Panathinaikos – Barcelona, 2005
A clinical finisher and one of the most inventive strikers of all time. In 2005 Samuel Eto’o executed one of the most eye-catching finishes in recent history. Receiving the ball with space ahead, Eto’o decided to test the keeper by wonderfully curving the ball with a first-touch finish, unveiling his bag of tricks in the process.
9. Mesut Ozil against Ludogorets – Arsenal, 2016
Undoubtedly one of the greatest individual goals ever. Mesut Ozil displayed why he is considered one of the best improvisers in modern football. Receiving a through ball forward, Ozil artistically crafted his way past two defenders after embarrassing the goalkeeper with a wonder touch. An amazing solo effort.
8. Saul against Bayern Munich – Atletico Madrid, 2016
At 21 years of age Saul secured a memorable Champions League goal that guided Atletico Madrid to a semi-final first-leg win over Bayern Munich. His side would proceed to the final after winning the tie 2-2 on away goals. Once Saul gained possession in midfield he managed to craft his way past three Munich defenders before getting the ball on to his stronger left foot and converting past German stopper Manuel Neuer.
7. Messi against Manchester United – Barcelona, 2009 final
At the 70th minute of the 2008-09 final in Rome Lionel Messi ensured victory for the Catalans in a 2-0 win over Manchester United. After being given space in the midfield pass master Xavi delivered a cross inside of the box to a flying Lionel Messi, who managed to convert while moving backwards. When asked which has been the six-time Ballon d’Or winners favourite goal, Messi named this header, saying, “I always say that I consider the importance of this goal, more than for its beauty so mine would be the first I cored in a Champions League final for the importance it had.”
6. Ronaldo against Arsenal – Manchester United, 2009 semi-final
In the 2008-09 semi-finals against bitter rivals Arsenal Ronaldo lined up a set piece from 40 yards which would go down in history as one of the greatest free kicks of all time. He scored two goals in this game, guiding Manchester United to the finals in which Lionel Messi’s Barcelona prevailed in Rome.
5. Drogba against Bayern Munich – Chelsea, 2012 final
Numerous poor decisions by referee Tom Henning Ovrebo led to Chelsea’s semi-final exit in the tournament’s 2009 segment. Outraged, Didier Drogba lost control at the game’s conclusion, expressing profanity at cameras and the media alike. Drogba would have his revenge on the Champions League in the 2012 final when he converted a wonderful headed effort to equalise in the 88th minute. He would then go on to convert the winning penalty in the shootout that gifted the South Londoners their first-ever Champions League triumph.
4. Ronaldo against Roma – Manchester United, 2008 quarter-finals
On the United counterattack the ball fell wide right to Paul Scholes. Unbelievably, still outside of what can be captured by the camera, Ronaldo came flying in to head the ball at its highest point, hanging in the air to score off of a Scholes assist. It was a heroic effort which left the winger in a vulnerable position.
3. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer against Bayern Munich – Manchester United, 1999 final
Trailing to an early goal, Manchester United managed to pull off the impossible at the Camp Nou in the 1999 final. After Teddy Sherringham managed to equalise in injury time, OSG magically stretched out to guide home the winner and complete one of the greatest comebacks in Champions League history, crowning United Champions League winners in the final seconds.
2. Ronaldo against Juventus – Real Madrid, 2018 quarter-final
When the opposing fans are at home and stop to applaud the genius of a goal you know it’s one of the greatest there is. Breaking the internet and leaving the entire stadium dumbstruck, Cristiano Ronaldo was able to elevate his body seven and a half feet in the air to execute one of the greatest bicycle kicks of all time.
1. Messi against Bayern Munich – Barcelona, 2015 semi-final
The magic of Messi prevailed again in 2015 as his solo effort helped guide Barcelona to the finals with a goal against a star-studded Bayern Munich. One of the slickest goals ever, this cheeky chip makes you question why there is even a debate about who is the greatest of all time. After receiving the ball wide right, Messi attacked Jerome Boating head-on, chopping the ball to his right side, which left the German centre half on his backside. Messi then continued into the area finally to lift the ball elegantly over Manuel Neuer.
Let us know what you think of my top ten UEFA Champions League goals. What would you change on my list!