Access exclusive podcasts, interviews and analysis with a monthly or annual membership

Become A Member
Dublin: 9°C Wednesday 27 January 2021

Power ranking the top 10 Champions League finals of all-time

Juventus meet Barcelona this weekend in the 2015 Champions League final.

THIS SATURDAY SEES Italian champions Juventus take on Spanish champions Barcelona at the Olympiastadion in Berlin, Germany.

Looking back at all the Champions League finals since its inception in 1993, here’s our definitive list of the top ten.

10. Barcelona 3 – 1 Manchester United (2011)

Source: FC Barcelona/YouTube

When Barcelona defeated Manchester United to win their second European Cup in three years under Pep Guardiola, and their third in six, Sir Alex Ferguson called the Catalans the best team he had ever faced.

Between 2009-11, that team under Pep were the perfect advertisement for the ‘beautiful game’. Their focus on possession, short precise passes and constant movement on and off the ball was a joy to watch.

It was a relatively one-sided final, despite Wayne Rooney’s 34th-minute equaliser threatening to spoil Barca’s party. Two superb strikes in the second-half from Messi and David Villa put an end to any dreams of an upset, however, and gave Barca the deserved victory.

9. Chelsea 1 – 1 Manchester United (2008)

Source: Fencelization/YouTube

The first ever all English final came in Moscow in 2008, as Manchester United overcome English rivals Chelsea to claim Europe’s biggest prize.

Cristiano Ronaldo gave United the lead, but Lampard equalised for Avram Grant’s men. The match ended 1-1, and extra time couldn’t separate the sides either.

So to penalties, and one of the most dramatic shootouts.

John Terry was left in tears as Sir Alex Ferguson finally got his hands on his second European Cup victory.

8. Inter Milan 2 – 0 Bayern Munich (2010)

Source: FilmsAd/YouTube

Two of the world’s best managers clashed in 2010, as Inter’s Jose Mourinho went head-to-head with Munich’s Louis Van Gaal.

Mourinho, like this season, would come out the victor as Inter followed up their Serie A success with their third European Cup. Diego Milito was man of the match as he scored both goals in the final.

It was superb, entertaining game of football and was the Mourinho’s last game before departing for Real Madrid.

And who could forget this after they beat Barcelona in the semi-finals that year:

Source: Vukajlija

7. Bayer Leverkusen 1 – 2 Real Madrid (2002)

Source: Real Madrid C.F./YouTube

Leverkusen were the unlikely finalists in 2002, reaching their first and only major European final. They had defeated a trio of English teams on their way to the final at Hampden Park but now faced the Galacticos of Real Madrid.

It was an entertaining final but it’s inclusion on the list is mainly based on the fact it produced one of the greatest goals of all time. It doesn’t get much better than Zinedine Zidane’s sweet left footed volley.

6. Ajax 1 – 1 Juventus (1996)

Source: Juventus/YouTube

This was a highly entertaining final, with some very special players on show. Ajax had made their second final in-a-row and faced Italian opposition once again, as they faced Juventus in Rome’s Stadio Olimpico.

Fabrizio Ravanelli opened the scoring for Juventus, before Jari Litmanen leveled the match before half-time. Both teams created chances to win in an engaging second-half but in the end, it came down to a penalty shootout.  The ‘Old Lady’ came through 4-2 in the shootout and claimed their second European Cup success.

5. Ajax 1 – 0 Ac Milan (1995)

Source: SuperFootballrStar/YouTube

This final capped off an incredible year for that Ajax side. With an average age of just 23, Ajax went the entire season unbeaten and then capped it off with a victory over Milan in the final. This only stopped a strongly favoured Milan side from retaining the title they had one the year before.

It was settled by a 85th minute strike from 18-year-old Patrick Kluivert.

4. Chelsea 1 – 1 Bayern Munich (2012)

Source: Love Sport/YouTube

It was meant to Bayern Munich’s to win. Their were looking to crown a successful season by winning the Champions League final in their home stadium in 2012.

Didier Drogba scored the equalising goal for Roberto Di Matteo’s side and also hit the winning penalty – in what should have been his final kick of the ball for the Londoners.

Chelsea were victorious while Bayern were left heartbroken in their own stadium.

3. Barcelona 0 – 4 AC Milan (1994)


Source: Messi Fanzoom/YouTube

AC Milan were looking to win their first Champions League, following defeat to Marseille in the competition’s inaugural final the previous year. Yet, the Italian side were heavily written off as key players like van Basten missing, and this Barcelona was referred to at the time as the ‘dream team’.

It was one of the greatest performances by a side in a Champions League final. This AC Milan side went a record 58 games unbeaten in Serie A, winning three Scudetti in a row and also qualifying for three successive Champions League finals.

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

Source: Amit Kudale/YouTube

One of the most dramatic finishes to any football game occurred on the biggest stage, as Manchester United stole the 1999 Champions League trophy from under the noses of Bayern Munich in the Nou Camp.

Sheringham and Solskjaer’s last-gasp goals ensured it would linger forever in the consciousness of football fans all over the world.

1. AC Milan 3-3 Liverpool (2005)

Source: NIXBLACK/YouTube

However dramatic the 1999 final was, nothing compares to Liverpool’s unbelievable comeback against AC Milan in 2005.

It is without doubt the greatest Champions League final, if not match, of all time. A quality Milan side blew Liverpool away in the first-half, a goal from Maldini and two from Crespo put the Italian side 3-0 up.

It looked like the dream was over for the Anfield side…

What’s your all-time favourite Champions League final? 

‘When we were 3-0 down, I tried to get out of the ground’

Ronaldinho tried a Georgie Best effort but his cheeky goal was disallowed too

About the author:

Donal Lucey

Read next: