5 Best… Champions League Finals
Anticipation is building ahead of Saturday’s mouth-watering Champion’s League final between Liverpool and Real Madrid.
With both teams renowned for their attacking prowess, the 2018 final promises to be one of the most open and entertaining finals in years.
But can it live up to these classic matches?
AC Milan 3-3 Liverpool, 2005
Quite simply the most breathtaking result in Champions League history as a dejected Liverpool side picked themselves off the floor at half-time in Istanbul to stage the comeback of all comebacks.
Down and out at 3-0 after 45 minutes, Reds boss Rafa Benitez rang the changes, bringing on Dietmar Hamann and switching to a 3-5-2 formation. It worked, as an astonishing six-minute salvo turned the tie in the Reds’ favour. They would hold their nerve in extra time and edge out a shellshocked Milan 3-2 on penalties.
Can they revive the spirit of Istanbul in 2018?
Man Utd 2-1 Bayern Munich, 1999
Another English side, another amazing turnaround, as Sir Alex Ferguson secured his first major European trophy in spectacular fashion.
Trailing 1-0 to Bayern with just seconds to spare, Teddy Sheringham poked home a dramatic equaliser on 91 minutes.
But Utd didn’t stop there. Spurred on by Bayern’s despair at having chucked away the victory, the English champions sniffed blood.
Real Madrid 4-1 Atletico Madrid (a.e.t), 2014
A far more absorbing contest than the final scoreline suggests, as the bitter cross-city rivals met one another in a European final for the first time.
Atleti performed heroically through the 90 minutes and looked good value for a shock 1-0 triumph over their more illustrious neighbours.
However, with the clock ticking down, Real desperately pushed on for an equaliser and were rewarded when captain Sergio Ramos nodded in from a Luka Modric corner.
Atleti’s intense, disciplined display was visibly broken by that equaliser, and an impressive late turn by Gareth Bale inspired Real to their famous ‘Decima’.
AC Milan 4-0 Barcelona, 1994
A real underdog story this one, where the emphatic result doesn’t quite tell the full tale. Barcelona walked out onto the Olympic Stadium pitch in Athens as overwhelming favourites, but AC Milan refused to play to the script.
With Milan beset by an injury crisis and fielding the far less experienced side, a Barca victory seemed a formality, but a ruthless display from the Rossoneri left the Spanish giants traumatised. Barca giant Johann Cruyff would later admit his side ‘did not play at all’.
Real Madrid 7-3 Eintracht Frankfurt, 1960
And finally, one from the glory days of the European Cup. A bygone era where defending was an afterthought and a 10-goal final par for the course.
Two of the club’s most iconic players shared goalscoring duties that day, with Alfredo di Stefano grabbing a hat-trick and Ferenc Puskás going one stage further in slotting home four.
What are your favourite Champions League moments?