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  • UEFA Champions League

20 finals, 51 goals… but what's your No. 1?

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ESPN Classic is home to the greatest moments in world sport, and to celebrate 21 years of the Champions League the channel will screen 12 of the tournament's greatest finals ahead of this season's showdown at Wembley on May 25. ESPN Classic is available on Sky channel 425 and Virgin channel 533.

Watch the top 5 as chosen by FourFourTwo magazine

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Having whittled the choices down to a final five, it's up to you to crown the scorer of the finest Champions League final goal. From Macca to Zizou, there are some serious contenders here...

Top UEFA Champions League final goal?

See results »


Dejan Savicevic (AC MILAN 4-0 Barcelona 1994)

"Milan? They are nothing out of this world," shrugged Barca boss Johan Cruyff ahead of this final, immediately saving Rossoneri chief Fabio Capello the job of writing his own team talk. With Cruyff's 'Dream Team' already on the ropes courtesy of a Daniele Massaro double, silky Yugoslav Dejan Savicevic knocked the life out of Barca just after half-time, showing great poise to lift a weighted lob from outside the box over keeper Andoni Zubizarreta and into the net.

Lars Ricken (BORUSSIA DORTMUND 3-1 Juventus 1997)

A teenage sensation at Dortmund, injury woes held local lad Ricken back throughout much of his one-club career, but his killer strike at Munich's Olympic Stadium would ensure legendary status for the Black-Yellows. With Juve trailing 2-0 courtesy of a Karl-Heinz Riedle double, Alessandro Del Piero had just given them hope when the 20-year-old midfielder stepped off the bench to replace Stephane Chapuisat on 70 minutes. Just 16 seconds later, and with his very first touch after being put through by Andreas Moller, Ricken went for the glory goal from 35 yards. Spotting Juve goalkeeper Angelo Peruzzi off his line, the German's wonder lob brought the Old Lady to her knees.

Steve McManaman (REAL MADRID 3-0 Valencia 2000)

Already well on his way to claiming the man of the match champers, the crowning moment of Macca's career was still to come in this Spanish showdown in France as Roberto Carlos launched a long throw into the Valencia box after 67 minutes. With the ball headed clear of the area, it fell perfectly for the spaghetti-haired Scouser to arc a scissor kick into the corner that put Madrid 2-0 up and well on their way to an eighth triumph in the competition. "I just shut my eyes and it went in," McManaman later confessed, which might explain his cool-as-you-like celebration. Come on Steve, we know you're a laid back chap, but it's not every week that an Englishman becomes the toast of European football.

Zinedine Zidane (Bayer Leverkusen 1-2 REAL MADRID 2002)

Revisiting the scene of their 7-3 destruction of Eintracht Frankfurt 42 years earlier, the Madridistas at Hampden Park were growing restless as their galacticos struggled to make an impact following an early goal for each side. And when Roberto Carlos (yes, him again) hooked a high cross to the back of the box on the stroke of half-time, there seemed little danger for the German side. Unfortunately for them, Zidane's left peg was lurking with serious intent as he waited... and waited... for the ball to drop. With three opponents closing in, he kept his cool to rifle home a stunning volley. "It was spectacular, difficult and aesthetic," purred Madrid coach Vicente del Bosque after the game. Puskas and Di Stefano would certainly have approved.

Hernan Crespo (AC MILAN 3-3 Liverpool 2005)

David Villa scored a glorious goal for Barcelona against Manchester United in the 2011 final © Getty Images
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Ultimately - and quite astonishingly - it would count for nothing, but when Kaka picked up the ball deep inside his own half at the Ataturk Stadium, what followed was a thing of beauty. With his Milan side already two goals up, the Brazilian playmaker turned Steven Gerrard with ease before threading a sensational 70-yard knock that bypassed four opponents en route to Crespo. Faced with the onrushing Jerzy Dudek, the Argentine hitman finished with all the confidence of a side in total command, dinking the ball first time over the keeper and into the net. "Four-three, we're gonna win four-three!" sing the beleaguered Kopites, somehow displaying a sense of humour as Crespo and his team-mates celebrate wildly. Little did the Rossoneri know that Dudek would yet have the last laugh, with the Pole's heroics in the penalty shootout completing a remarkable turnaround.


**Five that didn't make it...**

Fabrizio Ravanelli (Ajax 1-1 JUVENTUS 1996)
Juve's 'White Feather' pounced in style against Ajax, latching onto a loose ball, nipping between Frank de Boer and keeper Edwin Van der Sar and finishing from a tight angle.

Filippo Inzaghi (AC MILAN 2-1 Liverpool 2007)
Pippo was up to his old tricks, pushing the offside trap to its limits as he ran onto Kaka's pass. Rounding Pepe Reina before scoring, his second goal capped a great performance.

Cristiano Ronaldo (MANCHESTER UNITED 1-1 Chelsea 2008)
Ronaldo leapt like the proverbial, er, Ballon d'Or winner he became that year as he showed some serious hang-time in Moscow to get on the end of Wes Brown's cross.

Lionel Messi (BARCELONA 2-0 Manchester United 2009)
Apparently Messi doesn't score headers, doesn't score in big games and doesn't score against English opposition. He put all three to bed to land Pep Guardiola a momentous treble.

David Villa (BARCELONA 3-1 Manchester United 2011)
After some Messi magic had put Barca 2-1 up against Man United, Villa provided the killer strike, composing himself on the edge of the box before nonchalantly curling it home.

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