Footballers you think of when the word 'hero' crosses your mind

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It's been 10 years since that historic night in Istanbul where Liverpool lifted the UEFA Champions League trophy after defeating A.C. Milan in a stupefying cup final; a feat no one had seen coming at half-time on that clear night at the Ataturk Stadium. Not even the 40,000 Liverpool fans who kept singing "You'll never walk alone" while their team were in the dressing room.

The Miracle of Istanbul, as it is today dubbed, was something out of the blue, but carried with it an underlying current - anything is possible. Be it as difficult as nailing jelly to a tree to pinpoint a single man responsible for that conquest, one particular name stands out - Steven Gerrard. He was the Liverpool skipper and rightly so, man of the match.

But the sea of greats is vast and wide. There's another legend, Paolo Maldini. Regarded as one of the greatest defenders of all time, IL Capitano (nickname) played for A.C. Milan for a quarter of a century and won the Champions League five times.


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Then there is Clarence Seedorf, the unyielding midfielder who won the Champions League five times, let alone with three different clubs: Milan, Real Madrid and Ajax.

Lest we forget the likes of Raul Gonzalez who was crowned with the Champions League title three times. Third highest goalscorer and the second most capped player in the elite cub competition's history are just a handful of the Spaniard's accolades. He will mostly be remembered for his marksman-ship.

Ryan Giggs is another conspicuous name that comes to mind when talking about players who have left an indelible mark in Europe's top flight. The Welshman can be paired with Paul Scholes for their exploits when they were teammates at Manchester United.

Who could forget the triumvirate of Carles Puyol, Xavi and Andres Iniesta, who must also be included among Europe's big boys as they all showed their mettle by winning three or more Champions League titles at FC Barcelona during their heydays.

Last but not least, there's Real Madrid club icon Iker Casillas, or San Iker; popular with Los Blancos faithful. Arguably one of the greatest goalkeepers of all time, he has lifted Ol' Big Ears three times and won every other title out there.

Ladies and gentlemen, these are some of Europe's leading lights with regard to football. The living legends of Europe.

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Andres Iniesta
Steven Gerrard
AC Milan
Real Madrid
Ryan Giggs
Iker Casillas
Manchester United

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