It might not have been quite as thrilling as many predicted, but last night’s Champions League final still delivered drama and intrigue on multiple fronts. From Mohamed Salah leaving the field in tears because of injury, to Loris Karius’ costly goalkeeping errors, there was no shortage of memorable incidents. On top of that came a goal deserving of its place in the pantheon of all-time greats.
Lars Ricken – Borussia Dortmund v Juventus, 1997
Borussia Dortmund were given little hope of upsetting the reigning champions, but Karl-Heinz Riedle’s aerial prowess put them two goals ahead and well in control by half time. Alessandro Del Piero pulled one back before Lars Ricken won the game just seconds after coming on as a substitute. The 20-year-old was played in down the right by Andreas Moller and expertly chipped the ball over Angelo Peruzzi from 30 yards out.
Zinedine Zidane – Real Madrid v Bayer Leverkusen, 2002
Lifting the Champions League trophy has become a habit for Zinedine Zidane since he took over as Real Madrid manager, having done it only once as a player. He did so after scoring the winning goal at Hampden Park, connecting sweetly with a dropping ball on the edge of the box to send it spiralling over Leverkusen keeper Hans-Jörg Butt. A superb finish, it showed the two conflicting sides of his style of play working in perfect harmony – outstanding deftness and a destructive edge.
Hernan Crespo – AC Milan v Liverpool, 2005
It counted for nothing in the end, thanks to Liverpool’s spectacular comeback, but Hernan Crespo’s second goal of the night put AC Milan 3-0 up. The Argentina international, on loan from Chelsea, seemingly put the result beyond doubt on the stroke of half time. Found by Kaka’s pinpoint through ball, which just evaded the sliding challenge of Jamie Carragher, Crespo showed a clinical touch to dink a first time shot past Jerzy Dudek.
Mario Mandzukic – Juventus v Real Madrid, 2017
A splendid equaliser from the Croatian striker temporarily had Juventus believing again. It was a great team goal, with an acrobatic finish, as the ball didn’t touch the floor after Leonardo Bonucci’s sweeping cross-field pass until it was already nestling in the back of Keylor Navas’ net. Alex Sandro volleyed the ball back across the box to Gonzalo Higuain, who moved it on to Mario Mandzukic. Controlling the pass on his chest, he teed himself up for an exquisite strike.
Gareth Bale – Real Madrid v Liverpool, 2018
As he seemed so keen to mention in his post-match interview, Gareth Bale was disappointed to be left out of the starting line-up in favour of Karim Benzema. With the scores level after Sadio Mane’s instinctive finish, the former Tottenham Hotspur player more than made his presence felt within minutes of coming off the bench. Marcelo’s cross from the left arrived behind him but Bale impressively readjusted and cracked in an overhead kick.
Mario Mandzukic's overhead kick 🙌
Two of the best goals you'll ever see... 👇