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It's the anniversary of a pretty special European Cup moment today

In 1992, Barcelona won the competition for the very first time thanks to Ronald Koeman’s free-kick.

Image: Empics Sports Photography Ltd.

IT’S HARD TO believe that it took Barcelona so long to register their first European Cup success.

The competition began in 1955 but for the best part of four decades, they were always the bridesmaids and never the brides.

That went for the domestic front too as Real Madrid dominated.

But Johan Cruyff arrived as manager in 1988 and he cultivated a new Dutch-inspired way of playing which led to a league success in 1991 – only their third in over thirty years.

The crowning glory of his time in charge came at Wembley the following May as Barcelona took on Sampdoria in the final of the 1992 European Cup.

Soccer - European Cup Final - Barcelona v Sampdoria - Wembley Stadium, London Source: Empics Sports Photography Ltd.

With a side featuring the likes of Ronald Koeman, Hristo Stoichkov and Michael Laudrup (plus a young Pep Guardiola in central midfield), the Catalan side was jam-packed with some astoundingly-good talent.

Yet, their Italian opponents weren’t exactly lightweights.

They had just won their very first Scudetto and had racked up back-to-back Coppa Italia titles in 1988 and 1989.

Up front, they could rely on the attacking nous of Roberto Mancini and Gianluca Vialli while they also had Attilio Lombardo in midfield, the tough Pietro Vierchowod at the back and Gianluca Pagliuca in goal.

Source: Classic Football/YouTube

Almost inevitably, very little separated the sides and the game went to extra-time.

And with just eight minutes remaining, Koeman rifled a terrific free-kick to the corner to give Barca a famous and historic win.

Sampdoria XI: Pagliuca, Lanna, Mannini, Vierchowod, Katanec, Lombardo, Pari, Cerezo, Bonetti, Vialli, Mancini.

Barcelona XI: Zubizarreta, Koeman, Ferrer, Nando, Sacristan, Juan Carlos, Guardiola, Bakero, Laundrup, Salinas, Stoichkov.

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About the author:

Eoin O'Callaghan

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