The 5 Most Under-appreciated Goals In Champions League Final History

Featuring Lionel Messi, Diego Milito and a forgotten gem from an overlooked Englishman.

The most under-appreciated goals in Champions League final history.Image Getty

The Champions League final has delivered many memorable goals down the years.

From Zinedine Zidane’s sensational strike against Bayer Leverkusen for Real Madrid in 2002 to Lars Ricken’s memorable lob against Juventus for Borussia Dortmund back in 1997, there are some that live long in the memory.

Not every goal enjoys that kind of immortal status though. They might have ended up being little more than a consolation or been overshadowed by even more spectacular strikes but, even so, a few are well worth revisiting.

Here are The 5 Most Underappreciated Goals In Champions League Final History


5

Lionel Messi vs Manchester United 2009

It’s worth remembering that in the build-up to the 2009 Champions League final, Manchester United were favourites to beat Barcelona.

With the Lionel Messi vs Cristiano Ronaldo debate still very much in its infancy, much was made of the fact that the Portuguese supposedly had the edge in terms of physicality. Messi was a master with the ball at his feet but when it came to aerial prowess, Ronaldo was the victor. Or so they thought.

This often overlooked goal provided evidence to the contrary with Messi rising high to deliver a glancing header of the highest order past Edwin Van Der Sar, sealing a 2-0 win in the process.

4

Mario Mandzukic vs Real Madrid 2017

Mandzukic may well go down in history as one of the most underappreciated players of all-time, given that he’s one of the few players to score in two different Champions League finals for two different clubs. Cristiano Ronaldo is the only other player to do that.

This spectacular overhead effort is arguably better than the one Ronaldo would score against Juve in the Champions League a year later.

Unfortunately, it had been largely overlooked thanks to the fact Juventus ended up shipping a further three goals in the second half and losing 4-1.

3

Steve McManaman vs Valencia 2000

Macca was something of a Premier League pioneer back in the day after opting to move away from the riches of the English top-flight in favour of something a little more cultured.

Real Madrid has always been the biggest club in the world, but they weren’t considered a go-to destination for English players back then. McMananman bucked the trend and was duly rewarded with some incredible memories and a European Cup win capped off by a spectacular slolo goal.

The one-time Liverpool stalwart was an unappreciated talent on these shores with this sublime goal showcasing the skill and agility that made him arguably England’s finest ever La Liga export, barring possibly Gareth Bale.

2

Diego Milito vs Bayern Munich 2010

Diego Milito may have been the star man of Inter Milan’s Champions League final success over Bayern Munich, but not enough is made of the Argentine’s ruthless performance in front of goal that day.

While Jose Mourinho had marshaled Inter into an effective defensive unit, that would have counted for little had it not been for the fact Milito took the limited chances that came his way.

His first goal is arguably his best. Collecting the ball on the edge of the Bayern area at speed, he evades four defenders and the advancing goalkeeper to score with a fine strike made possible by a split-second dummy that creates the space required to shoot. Wonderful.

1

Alessandro Del Piero vs Borussia Dortmund 1997

Juventus were the team to beat in the run-up to the 1997 Champions League final. The reigning champions, they had already cruised to the Serie A title with a squad containing the goalscoring talents of Christian Vieri, Alen Boksic, and Alessandro Del Piero.

Del Piero was their main man but fans were left stunned when coach Marcelo Lippi opted to start with Boksic and Vieri, leaving Del Boy on the bench. It was a gamble that didn’t pay off. Already 2-0 down by half-time, Del Piero was introduced after the break and responded in the best way possible with a sublime flicked goal that got the Italians back into the game.

Dortmund ended up killing off any hope later through Lars Ricken but Del Piero’s goal still stands as one of the best and most underappreciated efforts to feature in the final of the competition.  

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Loaded staff writer Jack Beresford has produced content for Lad Bible, Axonn Media and a variety of online sports and news media outlets.