Football

Top five: Champions League goals of the 21st Century

The Champions League has been an extremely successful competition - we have seen both individuals and teams excel, some marvellous comebacks and dazzling skills.

On top of this, we have seen many spectacular goals, and here we can re-live those moments by reflecting on some of the best from the 21st Century.

5. Hernan Crespo (AC Milan) v Liverpool

Some may argue against this, but I just think it was an outstanding goal. It was a goal that seemed to put AC Milan in cruise control, but we all know that wasn't the case. 

Milan talisman Kaka received the ball in his own half, took one touch to effortlessly spin past his marker and, still in his own half, played one of the best through-balls I have ever seen to bamboozle the Liverpool defence and leave Jamie Carragher on his backside. Enter South American team-mate Hernan Crespo, who didn't even need a touch before dinking the ball neatly over Pepe Reina.

4. Michael Essien (Chelsea) v Barcelona

The Ghanaian midfielder is renowned for his incredible long-range strikes, but few were as good as this famous goal that so nearly earned his club a chance to make amends for the 2008 Champions League final against Manchester United. As Frank Lampard had a shot blocked on the edge of the penalty area, the ball fell kindly for Essien to ruthlessly thump it home with his weak foot 25 yards from goal.

3. Dejan Stankovic (Inter Milan) v Schalke

This is a goal that was absolutely staggering. The game had barely even got going as Argentina international Esteban Cambiasso played a through-ball that the goalkeeper met - eventually to his own regret. After nodding it out to the semi-circle, the ball did not even bounce before it met the boot of Dejan Stankovic, who displayed astounding technique to perfectly bury the ball in to the back of the net, embarrass the 'keeper and score a mind-blowing goal.

2. Cristiano Ronaldo (Manchester United) v Porto

A crucial match for Manchester United as they faced a tough challenge away to Porto, who hadn't lost at home that campaign. Ironically, Portugal international Cristiano Ronaldo ended this record and put his team through with a thunderous trademark goal in his home country. The now-Real Madrid superstar got the ball from a team-mate, took one touch to roll it across his body, looked up and rifled the ball towards goal from nearly 40 yards to see it bend to the left and rocket past Porto keeper Helton.

1. Zinedine Zidane (Real Madrid) v Bayer Leverkusen

You simply cannot talk about the greatest Champions League goals without mentioning this beauty from Zinedine Zidane. On the biggest stage - the final itself - with the sides drawing 1-1, the French genius produced when it mattered most. 

Santiago Solari chipped a pass to the left-wing to find tiny Brazilian full-back Roberto Carlos, who played a cross into Zidane. It seemed like an eternity until the ball dropped to him, but how it was worth the wait.

It fell to his 'weak' foot - if you can say he had one - and he superbly smashed it past the goalkeeper to send the crowd into wonderland. This strike will probably never be beaten as the greatest goal in Champions League history.

 

DISCLAIMER: This article has been written by a member of the GiveMeFootball Writing Academy and does not represent the views of GiveMeFootball.com or SportsNewMedia.The views and opinions expressed are solely that of the author credited at the top of this article. GiveMeFootball.com and SportsNewMedia do not take any responsibility for the content of its contributors.

Topics:
Football
UEFA Champions League
Cristiano Ronaldo
Michael Essien

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