Real Madrid and Bayer Leverkusen fans in Glasgow for the 2002 Champions League final
Perfect. One of the best in history. Biblical. Makes me cry.
Just a few of the thousands of comments scrawled by those reliving the footage of one of football’s greats scoring one of the most spectacular goals in Champions League final history.
Zinedine Zidane’s volley at Hampden arrowed high into the Bayer Leverkusen net in the 2002 Champions League final. In truth, the descriptions above barely do it justice.
On the 18th anniversary of that winner for Real Madrid, BBC Scotland looks back on 10 of the greatest final goals of the Champions League era. Tell us your favourites in the comments section below.
Zinedine Zidane – Real Madrid v Bayer Leverkusen (2002)
Where else to start?
The stage was beautifully set at Hampden Park. Bayer Leverkusen’s Lucio had cancelled out Real Madrid talisman Raul’s opener, leaving the scores level heading into the final minute of the first half.
With Vicente del Bosque and Klaus Toppmoller finalising their interval teamtalks in their heads, Roberto Carlos executed a one-two with Santiago Solari down the left and hooked a high cross towards Zidane, loitering on the edge of the box.
As the ball dropped towards the man widely considered the best in the world at the time, everything seemed to go in slow motion. Three Leverkusen players eventually recognised the danger, but by then it was too late. Zidane pirouetted and unleashed a ferocious volley past Hans-Jorg Butt and into the roof of the net.
“It’s definitely something that comes off once in a lifetime, and it happened to me on the day of the Champions League final,” French World Cup-winner Zidane said.
An angle of Zinedine Zidane’s winner that illustrates the bend on his Hampden volley
Dejan Savicevic – Milan v Barcelona (1994)
Eager to avenge their loss to Marseille in the previous year’s final, Milan raced into a two-goal lead against Johan Cruyff’s Barcelona thanks to a first-half double from Daniele Massaro.
The next goal looked set to be crucial and, after Miguel Angel Nadal made a mess of dealing with Demetrio Albertini’s long-ball two minutes into the second half, Dejan Savicevic settled the tie.
The Yugoslavia international latched on to the bouncing ball just outside the right-corner of the 18-yard box, spotted Andoni Zubizaretta slightly off his line, and side-footed a perfect lob over him and into the net.
Lars Ricken – Borussia Dortmund v Juventus (1997)
Borussia Dortmund went into the 1997 final as underdogs, but found themselves 2-0 up at half-time thanks to Karl-Heinz Riedle.
Alessandro del Piero came off the bench for Juventus at half-time and scored a stunning flick to get them back into the game – then Lars Ricken replaced Stephane Chapuisat in the 70th minute. Within 60 seconds, the young German had lifted a phenomenal 30-yard lob over Angelo Peruzzi to seal the win.
“I noticed that Peruzzi was often standing too far from his goal and I came on with that in my mind,” Ricken said. “Even the TV commentators were shouting to chip him.”
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer – Man United v Bayern Munich (1999)
This is without a doubt the least aesthetically pleasing goal on the list – but in terms of significance, it is up there with the most important.
Having trailed to Mario Basler’s early free-kick, Teddy Sheringham’s equaliser gave Sir Alex Ferguson’s Manchester United hope of completing a remarkable Treble in extra time or after a penalty shootout.
But, with 93 minutes on the clock, David Beckham’s corner was met by a Sheringham flick-on, and fellow substitute Ole Gunnar Solskjaer instinctively stuck out a foot to turn the ball in.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Teddy Sheringham were the goal heroes in Barcelona
Steve McManaman – Real Madrid v Valencia (2000)
Not only was Steve McManaman the first Englishman to score for Real Madrid in the Champions League, he was also the first to win the competition with a non-English side.
Led by Del Bosque, a star-studded Real faced Valencia in Paris hoping to earn a second title in three years.
Fernando Morientes gave them the lead with a header just before half-time, but it would be McManaman who scored the goal of the game. Roberto Carlos’ long throw was headed to the edge of the 18-yard box by Miroslav Dukic, but McManaman returned a scissor-kick volley towards goal which gave Valencia goalkeeper Santiago Canizares no chance.
“Your career is all about winning things,” McManaman said. “It is important for me to look back and say I won the Champions League and I scored in the final. That is something pretty special.”
Steve McManaman said winning the Champions League twice was ‘pretty special’
Hernan Crespo – AC Milan v Liverpool (2005)
The 2005 Champions League final is remembered for Liverpool’s stunning penalty shootout victory after being three goals down, but AC Milan’s first-half performance was a joy to behold.
Brazilian playmaker Kaka was imperious, and set up a terrific goal for Hernan Crespo. On the stroke of half-time, Kaka’s feint after receiving the ball from Andrea Pirlo took him away from Steven Gerrard. But, rather than hold on to the ball, his next touch was a glorious nudge into the path of Crespo, who had peeled off the shoulder of the last man.
The Argentina striker held his nerve when keeper Jerzy Dudek charged out, dinking the ball over the Poland international to deliver what should have been a hammer blow to Liverpool’s Champions League hopes. I wonder what happened next..?
Hernan Crespo’s stunning finish was part of a massive false dawn for AC Milan in Istanbul
David Villa – Barcelona v Manchester United (2011)
There was no shortage of contenders for a Barcelona entry to this list. Samuel Eto’o and Juliano Belletti struck as Frank Rijkaard’s side overcame Arsenal in 2006, while Eto’o’s opener in Rome against Manchester United and Lionel Messi’s superb looping header in the same game also came close.
But it was the final goal at Wembley in 2011 that is most deserving of the adulation. A dominant display by Pep Guardiola’s men had them 2-1 up – Pedro and Messi striking either side of a well-worked Wayne Rooney goal.
Barcelona were in the driving seat, but an equaliser was not out of the question for Ferguson’s side until Messi slalomed towards the United box and was upended by Michael Carrick. United dallied on the ball, allowing Sergio Busquets to claim it and feed Spain striker David Villa, who curled a delicious effort past the outstretched Edwin van der Sar.
Didier Drogba – Chelsea v Bayern Munich (2012)
Chelsea’s run to the 2012 final was as turbulent as they come. A win in the final group-stage match against Valencia took them through to the knockout rounds, where a remarkable turnaround earned them a 5-4 win against Napoli. Victory over Benfica in the last eight set up a stunning, against-all-odds win over Barcelona in the semi-finals.
But in the final, their fortune looked like it was beginning to fade as Thomas Muller headed in after 83 minutes, after Petr Cech had kept Roberto di Matteo’s side in the tie.
However, five minutes later, Juan Mata’s corner was met by Didier Drogba. His header had no right to beat Manuel Neuer at his near post, but the power generated by the Ivorian was such that the German goalkeeper could not keep it out, despite getting a hand to it.
The game went to penalties, and the rest is history…
Didier Drogba powers his header beyond Manuel Neuer
Mario Mandzukic – Juventus v Real Madrid (2017)
Had Juventus gone on to win this game, rather than suffering a 4-1 defeat, this may have gone down as the greatest.
Already trailing Real Madrid to a Cristiano Ronaldo effort, Leonardo Bonucci switched the ball from right to left, where Alex Sandro volleyed into the box. Without the ball touching the ground, Gonzalo Higuain took a touch and played it to Mario Mandzukic.
With his back to goal, the Croat chested it down and arced a stunning overhead kick over Keylor Navas.
Gareth Bale – Real Madrid v Liverpool (2018)
Now, this one may just go down as one of the greatest goals of all time. Gareth Bale had already scored a decisive goal in one Champions League final four years earlier, but was left on the bench as Real Madrid faced Liverpool in Kiev.
The Welshman came on for Isco with the score at 1-1, after Sadio Mane had cancelled out Karim Benzema’s bizarre opener. Less than three minutes later, Bale found himself unmarked in the box.
Marcelo’s cross was behind him, so he shifted and flung himself into the air, connecting with an outrageous left-footed bicycle-kick, which would ultimately win Real their third consecutive title.
“I wanted to come on and make an impact and that’s what I did,” Bale said.
Gareth Bale’s acrobatic effort flies into the Liverpool net