Dublin: 14°C Saturday 20 August 2022

Power ranking the 7 best Champions League finals

Check out our less-than-scientific judgements and let us know if you agree.

7. Ajax 1-0 Milan (1995)

Source: SuperFootballrStar/YouTube

There may have been more enthralling finals than this, but few have produced such incredible narratives that footballing romantics still discuss to this day. An Ajax team with an average age of 23 going the entire season unbeaten and producing the perfect finale was the stuff of boyhood dreams, with 18-year-old Patrick Kluivert proving you can win anything with kids, as he scored a beautifully taken 85th-minute winner to prevent Milan from retaining their European title from the previous season. In a word: inspirational.

6. Barcelona 3-1 Man United (2011)

Source: Bledi Lorenci/YouTube

There are inevitably claims that this wasn’t a great final, given that it was relatively one-sided, despite Wayne Rooney’s 34th-minute equaliser threatening to spoil Barca’s party. The Spanish team were the far superior side from thereon in, with even Alex Ferguson for once magnanimous in defeat. It remains the last time Barca won the Champions League and in hindsight, it looks like being their zenith as a footballing force in this current era, and for that reason, as well as the pure footballing artistry on display that night, it merits inclusion on this list.

5. Chelsea 1-1 Man United — United win 6-5 on pens (2008)

Source: JuvePL07/YouTube

This game may have been a little cagey at times, but it grew more compelling as the match progressed and the tension grew ever more palpable. European ties between two teams from the same country often have a special intensity and this encounter was no exception, with John Terry’s famous penalty miss providing a suitably dramatic finale to a gripping contest.

4. Milan 4-0 Barcelona (1994)

Like the aforementioned 2011 final, this match was less-than-hotly contested, however it similarly had one of the best teams ever at the height of their powers.  Underdogs going into the game, Milan ruthlessly dispatched Barcelona’s ‘Dream Team’. It was the absolute pinnacle for a side that also went a record 58 games unbeaten in Serie A, winning three Scudetti in a row and also qualifying for three successive Champions League finals. In just the second ever ‘Champions League’ final, they were a joy to behold, as they masterfully executed an emphatic victory.

See Sport

Get closer to the stories that matter with exclusive analysis, insight and debate in The42 Membership

Become a Member

3. Real Madrid 2-1 Bayer Leverkusen  (2002)

Source: RealMadridLebanon/YouTube

Three words: Zinedine Zidane’s volley.

2. Man United 2-1 Bayern Munich (1999)

Source: football highlights/YouTube

This would have been a perfectly entertaining final even forgetting the last few minutes, as Bayern produced some exceptional football, while United hung on manfully. Yet Sheringham and Solskjaer’s last-gasp goals ensured it would linger forever in the consciousness of football fans all over the world.

1. Liverpool 3-3 Milan — Liverpool  win 3-2 on pens (2005)

Source: Maestr021Channel/YouTube

As good as the United comeback was, there was only going to be one outcome when picking the winner here — Kaka’s heavenly pass for the third Milan goal, Gerrard’s inspirational display, Carragher giving a one-man defensive masterclass, Dudek’s unbelievable double save, the drama of penalties… Even one or two of these moments would have made it a memorable final, but all of them together ensure this game will go down in the annals of history as an all-time classic.

Do you agree with or choices? Let us know in the comments’ section below.

PSG find spare £50m down back of the couch, buy David Luiz>

Athlone Town’s 238-day wait for a league win is over>

About the author:

Paul Fennessy

Read next: