UEFA Champions League's 5 greatest footballers in last 25 years
UEFA Champions League is one of the most prestigious tournaments in world football. It was previously known as the European Cup, and was revamped as the Champions League in the 1992-93 season. Olympique Marseille won the inaugural edition of the tournament, beating AC Milan 1-0 in the final.
Real Madrid are the most successful team in the history of the competition, having won 6 titles in the last 20 years. Barcelona and AC Milan have managed to win 4 and 3 titles since the inception of the Champions League.
Quite naturally, the finest footballers in the world have performed to the best of their abilities in the Champions League. Therefore, it is not easy to come up with a list of 5 footballers, who have been the best players in the tournament in the last 25 years.
Still, we have managed to form the list somehow and here it goes:
#5 Iker Casillas
Real Madrid’s “Mr.Cool”, Iker Casillas is still active as a player and remains one of the greatest goalkeepers of all time. Casillas came through the youth ranks of Real Madrid, and went on to play for the “Los Blancos” for more than 15 years. He also won 3 Champions League titles with them, besides earning 725 caps for the club overall.
Casillas was a great shot-stopper in his prime, and very good in the air too. At 6 feet 1 inch, he is not very tall for a goalkeeper, but used to compensate for his lack of extra height with his intuition, reflex and cool demeanor. He had a very calm influence on his defenders, and a commanding presence inside the penalty box.
Casillas performed brilliantly in Real’s 2-1 win over Bayer Leverkusen in the final of 2001-02 Chamipons League. He also won the elusive title in 1999-2000 and 2013-14. It was quite befitting that Casillas was the goalie of Real Madrid, when the latter won the elusive “La Decima”, their 10th European crown, in 2014.