A record 308 goals hit the back of the net in the group stage of the 2019/20 Champions League, and we’re ready for a whole lot more when the knockouts begin in February.
All 16 teams to have progressed are exclusively from the top five European Leagues for the first time in the history of the competition, but the tournament’s greatest strikes have been spread far more evenly across the 96 games.
The Sportsman has studied all 308 goals to save you spending time picking out the best of the lot, and our top five are below.
You’ll find no Ronaldo or Messi here. There’s not even room for a Lewandowski.
5. Luis Suarez v Inter Milan - October 2
El Gnasher has still got it. Heading closer and closer to 400 career goals, 32-year-old Suarez has collected together a delicious jambalaya of aesthetically magnificent strikes for his portfolio. He added another to the bank in Barcelona’s initial meeting with Inter at the Camp Nou as part of a brace in the 2-1 win for the Blaugrana.
Either goal he scored could have made the list, the first supplied from a delightful Lionel Messi canter - a move we’ve been privileged to witness countless times. The second, however, is a piece of exquisite individual skill, an outrageous twisting volley from just outside the area.
The Uruguayan tormented Inter Milan when they met in Barcelona ð¥
4. Mohamed Salah v FC Salzburg - December 10
Ignore the fact that the Liverpool star wasted a multifarious amount of chances in the game, Mohamed Salah - two-time Premier League Golden Boot winner - demonstrated his class with the most difficult move of all.
Latching onto some woeful defending from Salzburg, the Reds forward made the home side pay. Many of those watching may well have thought Salah had taken it too far away from the goal in order to best goalkeeper Cican Stankovic, but then he defied all expectations to deftly dink the ball over the line from an almost insane angle. Gets better with every watch.
ð¥ From. Every. Single. Angle. ð¥
3. Lautaro Martinez v Slavia Prague - November 27
When the stars align, it literally is stellar stuff. Romelu Lukaku, a much-maligned character stuck in Manchester barely six months ago, has taken Italy by storm since moving in the summer to Internazionale, netting 10 goals in Serie A.
Furthermore he’s built up a good rapport with the equally in-form Lautaro Martinez, demonstrated perfectly with the last of Inter’s three goals against Slavia Prague. Lukaku battles down the right to instinctively put in a simply scrumptious cross with the outside of his boot for his awaiting compadre to rifle home perfectly. Lukaku and Lautaro equals ‘Bloody L’!
â¢ Outside-of-the-boot cross
â¢ First-time volley finish
Lautaro Martinez's second goal against Slavia Prague takes the Champions League Goal of the Week ð
2. Paulo Dybala v Atletico Madrid - November 26
No matter how many times you may have seen a free-kick, football continues to surprise.
Paulo Dybala is proving to be the talisman Juventus crave - forget that other guy - and it’s now increasingly difficult to believe that the Argentine ever entertained joining Manchester United in the summer.
If he was plying his trade at Old Trafford in the Europa League right now he wouldn’t have been able to treat the world to this blazing rocket of a dead-ball. Better still, he managed to beat Jan Oblak, a man who achieved 100 clean sheets for Los Rojiblancos in just 178 appearances in net. Couldn’t have hit it better.
That is outstanding!
A stunning free-kick from the Argentine diamond ð¯ð¤©
1. Marcel Sabitzer v Zenit St. Petersburg - October 23
“Unsavable” the commentators called it, and it’s certainly hard to argue with a shot that wasn’t even on target until the final milliseconds. RB Leipzig’s Marcel Sabitzer produced a worldie Sa-blitzer against Zenit after being given time to control in the box and take aim. A completely beautiful butterknife of a strike that couldn’t have sailed more perfectly even if it had been controlled by Ellen MacArthur.
It was the winner too.