Football fans know well that the Champions League Final is the most awaited event during the season and the most famous match among the football clubs worldwide. It is easy to see its importance because the best teams in Europe, challenge and often the protagonists of this football fight are the stars of international football. Most likely we will succeed this year to see one of the most beautiful Champions League finals ever played. The teams vying to get to the decisive game are very aggressive and seem willing to fight to the end.
Barcelona 0-4 AC Milan, 1994 Final
Barcelona were favourites to win their second UEFA Champions League in three years, having just won La Liga for the fourth year in a row. Milan’s preparation before the final was in disarray: legendary striker Marco van Basten was still out with a long-term injury, and £13 million young sensation Gianluigi Lentini (then the world’s most expensive footballer) was also injured; sweeper and captain, Franco Baresi was suspended, as was defender Alessandro Costacurta; and UEFA regulations at the time was that limited teams to fielding a maximum of three non-nationals meant that coach Fabio Capello was forced to leave out Florin Răducioiu, Jean-Pierre Papin and Brian Laudrup. On Barcelona’s side, the rule saw Johan Cruyff choosing not to pick Michael Laudrup in his squad for the final. Laudrup was to leave Barcelona at the end of the season for their arch-rivals, Real Madrid. Milan dominated early, thanks to two goals by Massaro in the first half and goals from Savićević and Desailly in the second half. A very unexpected result and overflowing obtained after the splendid performance of the entire Italian team.
Bayern Munich 1-2 Manchester United, 1999 Final
Certainly one of the greatest Champions League final ever played was between Manchester United and Bayern Munich at the Camp Nou in Barcelona 26 May 1999. The Red Devils had just won the double victory in England with success in the Premier League and the FA Cup, and the Alex Ferguson’s team looked all set to win the infamous “treble” season, thanks to the wonderful couple of goals York & Cole and a young David Beckham. The goal of the German, Mario Basler was just 6 minutes after the opening whistle froze the blood of the Manchester players and its fans. For 90 minutes, the Bayern took the lead in the match, when in a few seconds, before Sheringham and Solskjær then overturned the result in a daring favor of Manchester.
AC Milan 3-3 Liverpool (Liverpool win 3-2 on penalties), 2005 Final
The match between AC Milan and Liverpool can be classifies as one of the most exciting finals ever played in Champions League, also known as ‘the miracle of Istanbul’. The Rossoneri led by Carlo Ancelotti were the super favorites according to the odds and closed the first half leading 3-0 thanks to goals from Maldini and two goals from Crespo. But the Reds agguantavano an unexpected draws in the second half led by captain Gerrard and goals from Xabi Alonso and Šmicer. In the penalty shootout, the unforgettable goalkeeper Jerzy Dudek bewitched and Pirlo and Shevchenko gave Liverpool’s fifth Champions League in its history.
Borussia Dortmund 3-1 Juventus, 1997 Final
A nightmare game for Juventus and its fans will remember forever. Juventus, coached by Marcello Lippi, was considered the best team in the world, relying on players like Vieri, Boksic, Zidane, Del Piero, Deschamps. Dortmund’s apparently irrelevant squad even featured five players Juventus had discarded. Paulo Sosa, Jurgen Kohler, Andreas Moller and Stefan Reuter started against their old club, injured Julio Cesar was an interested spectator. But after a couple of uncharacteristic defensive wobbles, Juventus went into the interval behind after Karl-Heinze Riedle’s brace. In the second half a peachy back heel from sub Del Piero gave the Italians hope, but local boy Lars Ricken latched on to an exquisite Moller through ball and scored a glorious long distance lob seconds after replacing exhausted Stephane Chaupisat. The underdogs in garish yellow and black held on for the final twenty minutes to win 3-1. The amazing heel goal by Del Piero was completely useless, but will remain one of the finest ever scored by Italian champion.
Real Madrid 4-1 Atletico Madrid, 2014 Final
It was the fifth tournament final to feature two teams from the same association, the second all-Spanish final and the first between teams from the same city. In that year, Atletico Madrid’s Diego Simeone was a real battleship in defense fielded the solid wall Godin-Luis-Felipe Miranda-Courtois, plus David Villa and Diego Costa playing in attack. The match was immediately in favor of Colchoneros, thanks to a header by Diego Godin own (and a big lapse of Iker Caisllas). When everything seemed to turn for better for Atletico, Ancelotti’s men, who until then had lived up to expectations of their fans, reopen the match: Sergio Ramos equalized and brings Blancos at the extra-time. Here Real boosted with goals by Gareth Bale, Marcelo and Cristiano Ronaldo then won the fateful “decima” in its history.
Barcelona 2-0 Manchester United, 2009 Final
Third win in absolute for Barcelona in the Champions League in the same year of its historic “treble”. Manchester faced Pep Guardiola‘s team as defending champion. This was the only time in which Leo Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo have been addressed in a Champions League final. Although Manchester boasted an excellent defensive organization with the legendary goalkeeper Van der Sar, Ferdinand, Evra, Vidic in coverage, they could not do anything to stop blaugrana armed which side including Eto’o (scored the first goal in 10 minutes), Henry, Iniesta, Xavi. And Messi signed the definitive goal victory by scoring a headed goal, unusual for its staff and thus winning a duel with the evanescent Cristiano Ronaldo.
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