To play in the Champions League is the dream for many professional players.
The lights, the atmosphere, the world-class players, the music.
Players with an ounce of ambition want to compete in Europe’s elite competition.
But only the very best achieve that dream.
We’ve seen some incredible moments since the European Cup turned into the Champions League in 1992.
And France Football - the guys responsible for the Ballon d’Or - have decided to rank the 50 greatest goals the competition has seen since its name change.
So, 28 years of incredible goals in the greatest competition in Europe.
But what is the greatest?
Let’s take a look:
50 | Thierry Henry vs Real Madrid | 2006
Picking the ball up in the centre circle, Thierry Henry ran past Ronaldo, Guti and Sergio Ramos before finishing past Iker Casillas.
49 | Juninho vs Bayern Munich | 2003
The free-kick god with an incredible free-kick that left Oliver Kahn hugging the post.
48 | Deivid vs Chelsea | 2008
A 35-yard screamer from the Fenerbahce midfielder against Carlo Cudicini.
47 | Mikael Nilsson vs PSV | 1993
Back in the inaugural Champions League season, Nilsson picked up the ball just outside his box, won a tackle, played a one-two with a teammate on the halfway line before firing in a superb effort during a 3-1 win for Gothenburg.
46 | Ezequiel Gonzalez vs Arsenal | 2004
Gonzales capitalised on Jens Lehmann’s poor header to produce a brilliant half volley finish from 30 yards out.
45 | Mancini vs Lyon | 2007
R.I.P Anthony Reveillere as Mancini produces countless stepovers before smashing it in with his left foot.
44 | Ivan Perisic vs Arsenal | 2011
Unbelievable technique on the volley with his stunning left foot as it sailed past Wojciech Szczesny.
43 | Jean-Pierre Papin vs Porto | 1993
The legendary Papin with a terrific volley past Vitor Baia. Sensational.
42 | David Silva vs Chelsea | 2007
Before moving to Manchester City, Silva was impressing in England with an incredible goal at Stamford Bridge with that magic left foot.
41 | Cristiano Ronaldo vs Arsenal | 2009
Manuel Almunia could probably do better but it’s a thunderbolt of a free-kick from a full 40 yards from Ronaldo at the Emirates.
40 | Juan Sebastien Veron vs Feyenoord | 2000
He may have flopped in the Premier League but Veron scored an outrageously unorthodox volley for Lazio back at the start of the millennium.
39 | Lionel Messi vs Real Madrid | 2011
An iconic goal from Messi as he pretty much took on Real Madrid’s entire defence as he helped Barcelona reach the final.
38 | Freddie Ljungberg vs Juventus | 2001
Ljungberg was the goalscorer but this goal is all about Dennis Bergkamp’s incredible assist.
37 | Eran Zahavi vs Lyon | 2010
The first overhead kick entry - and this one from Hapoel Tel-Aviv’s Zahavi is textbook.
36 | Andres Iniesta vs Chelsea | 2009
The goal that broke Chelsea’s hearts and sent Didier Drogba into an incredible rant.
35 | Raul vs Manchester United | 2000
Fernando Renondo’s incredible skill and assist put it on a plate for the legendary Raul.
34 | Frank Lampard vs Barcelona | 2006
How does Lampard manage to score past Victor Valdes from that angle?
33 | Lionel Messi vs Manchester United | 2009
Messi’s favourite ever goal apparently as he leaps so high to score a rare header in the Champions League final to make it 2-0.
32 | Lee Sharpe vs Barcelona | 1994
A beautiful back-heel from Sharpe to convert a Mark Hughes cross.
31 | Marcel Sabitzer vs Zenit | 2019
A screamer from this season as RB Leipzig’s right back chests the ball down and hits a lovely half volley right into the top corner.
30 | Lucho Gonzalez vs Hamburg | 2006
The Porto captain walks onto the ball and hits the cleanest of volleys into the top corner.
29 | Thierry Henry vs Sparta Prague | 2005
The goal that saw Thierry Henry overtake Ian Wright as Arsenal’s record goalscorer. And what a goal it was as Henry struck it with the outside of his right foot, making it swerve into the far corner.
28 | Lionel Messi vs Bayern Munich | 2015
Jerome Boating probably still has nightmares about this goal and he’s sent tumbling to the turf by Messi’s brilliance.
27 | Didier Drogba vs Barcelona | 2006
A typical Drogba goal as he turns on the edge of the box and fires an unstoppable effort past Valdes.
26 | Dimitar Berbatov vs Roma | 2004
Before Berbabatov had graced the Premier League, the Bulgarian was doing mad things for Bayer Leverkusen. Like flicking the ball up, spinning it over the head of defender Traianos Dellas before lobbing the onrushing goalkeeper.
25 | Samuel Eto'o vs Panathinaikos | 2005
Messi plays in Eto’o on the left wing and the Cameroonian produces an outrageous curling effort into the far top corner.
24 | Arjen Robben vs Manchester United | 2010
Hitting a ball on the volley from a corner-kick certainly isn’t easy. But Robben made it look just that as Bayern knocked out Man Utd in the quarter-finals.
23 | Cristiano Ronaldo vs Porto | 2009
One of Ronaldo’s greatest ever goals with a 40-yard screamer for United back in his native country.
22 | Peter Crouch vs Galatasaray | 2006
The six-foot seven-inch striker doesn’t look like he should be able to produce overhead kicks. Oh, but he can.
21 | Charles-Edouard Coridon vs Porto | 2004
A backheel volley that Zlatan would be proud of.
20 | Stelios Giannakopoulos vs Porto | 1997
You can almost hear the Olympiacos fans shouting ‘Don’t shoot, don’t shoot’ but the former Bolton player does - and it flies in.
19 | Gheorghe Hagi vs Monaco | 2000
Gheorghe Hagi was at the end of his career but he still had a wand of a left foot - which he showed off with a screamer for Galatasaray.
18 | Zlatan Ibrahimovic vs Anderlecht | 2013
What a night for Zlatan as he smashed four against Anderlecht. The pick of the bunch was a 35-yard screamer. As the ball bounced back to him, the Swede smashed it as hard as he possibly could. It flew into the back of the net.
17 | George Weah vs Bayern Munich | 1994
Weah would win the Ballon d’Or the following year and this incredible solo goal for PSG was a glimpse to what he was capable of.
16 | Marco van Basten vs Gothenburg | 1992
Not quite as good as his volley for the Netherlands four years previously but his overhead kick for AC Milan against Gothenburg - one of his four goals that night - wasn’t too bad.
15 | Lionel Messi vs Liverpool | 2019
Messi scored his 600th Barcelona goal in style with a quite ridiculous free-kick against Liverpool. It put Barca 3-0 ahead on the night. But we all know what happened in the second leg…
14 | Dejan Savicevic vs Barcelona | 1994
The fourth goal in a 4-0 win for AC Milan against Barcelona was a lovely lob by Yugoslavian Dejan Savicevic.
13 | Hugo Almeida vs Inter Milan | 2005
Oh he’s not going to shoot from there, is he? Oh, he is. Oh wow. What a hit.
12 | Hakim Ziyech vs Chelsea | 2019
Controversial considering this actually went down as a Kepa Arrizabalaga own goal.
11 | Claudio Lopez vs PSV | 1999
We can’t even begin to explain how hard of a skill it is to hit a ball on the volley coming over your shoulder. But Claudio Lopez made it look like child’s play.
THE TOP 10
So, here we go. The top 10 greatest goals in Champions League history.
10 | Aaron Ramsey vs Galatasaray | 2014
On his weaker left foot with the ball bouncing towards him 30 yards out, Aaron Ramsey probably expected his effort to fly into the stands. But he caught it perfectly and flew into the top corner.
9 | Ronaldinho vs Chelsea | 2005
Remember when you used to do toe-punts on the school playground? Well, Ronaldinho turned Stamford Bridge into his playground and turned the Chelsea defence into school kids. The Brazilian looked crowded out on the edge of the box until he shimmied a few times and toe poked the ball into the corner leaving Petr Cech stunned.
8 | Mario Mandzukic vs Real Madrid | 2017
Imagine scoring a goal like this in a Champions League final but losing the match 4-1 and everyone forgets all about it. Well, at least France Football didn’t forget about Mandzukic’s incredible overhead kick equaliser in Cardiff.
7 | Michael Essien vs Barcelona | 2009
Another goal quickly forgotten about thanks to Andres Iniesta’s last minute goal. But Essien’s was the best on the night as he caught a stunning left foot volley that went in off the underside of the crossbar.
6 | Gareth Bale vs Liverpool | 2018
It’s 1-1 in the Champions League final and you’ve just been substituted on. What do you do next? Produce an incredible overhead kick to put your side 2-1 ahead, of course. Unbelievable from Bale - and it wasn’t the only goal he scored that night.
5 | Philippe Mexes vs Anderlecht | 2012
You need reminding that Mexes is a defender because the way he chests the ball with his back to goal and produces an overhead kick is just ridiculous.
4 | Dejan Stankovic vs Schalke 04 | 2011
Manuel Neuer was probably pleased with his sweeper-keeper job as he headed the ball away from danger almost to the halfway line inside the opening minute. He didn’t count on Dejan Stankovic adjusting his body and producing an unbelievable first time volley which hit the back of the net without touching the ground.
3 | Cristiano Ronaldo vs Juventus | 2018
Perhaps the night Ronaldo decided he would join Juventus.
After producing his amazing overhead kick against Gigi Buffon, many home fans applauded his goal. It was a goal he had wanted to score his entire career and he did it on the biggest stage.
2 | Mauro Bressan vs Barcelona | 1999
One of the best overhead kicks ever. A bouncing ball and Bressan just thinks “f**k it” let’s attempt an overhead kick.
It sails over the goalkeeper and in off the bar.
1 | Zinedine Zidane vs Bayer Leverkusen | 2002
Even if you take the fact it was in the Champions League out of the equation, Zidane’s incredible left foot volley deserves to be top of this list.
Roberto Carlos’ lofted cross seemed to hang in the air forever but Zidane watched it all the way, swivelled and volleyed the ball past Hans-Jorg Butt to put Real 2-1 ahead just before half-time.
The greatest goal in Champions League history.
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