The 5 best UEFA Champions League finals
The UEFA Champions League is the blue riband event of European club football. Formerly called the European Cup, the UEFA Champions League (1992-93 onwards) has been graced by 141 different clubs from 33 different UEFA member associations.
Real Madrid (13) lead a group of 22 clubs to have won the European Cup/UEFA Champions League. 18 other clubs have reached the final of the competition, without managing to lay their hands on the trophy.
The record winners are also the only club in the Champions League era to win titles in consecutive years, when they went three-in-a-row (2015-17) to become the first team since Bayern Munich in 1976 to win three consecutive titles in as many years.
Paulo Maldini and Cristiano Ronaldo (6 apiece) hold the record for most Champions League finals, with Maldini doing so for one club (AC Milan). Cristiano Ronaldo holds the record for being the only player to score in Champions League for two different winning teams (2008 - Manchester United; 2014, 2017 - Real Madrid).
In the 27 previous Champions League finals (1992 to 2018), teams from the same league have contested the title match in 2000 (Madrid beat Valencia), 2003 (AC Milan beat Juventus), 2008 (Manchester United beat Chelsea), 2013 (Bayern Munich beat Borussia Dortmund), 2014 and 2016 (Real Madrid beat Atletico Madrid). On that note, let us re-live the 5 most memorable Champions League finals.
#5: 2014: Real Madrid beat Atletico Madrid 4-1
The 2014 Champions League final in Lisbon marked the first time two teams from the same city contested the title match. In their first final in the competition in 40 years, newly-crowned La Liga champions Atletico Madrid faced cross-town rivals and record-9-time winners Real Madrid who were in their first Champions League final since lifting their 9th title in 2002.
After Gareth Bale had narrowly shot wide, Atletico captain Diego Godin capitalised on an error from his Real counterpart at the other end to open the scoring just past the half-hour mark. It was a lead the Rojiblancos would fiercely protect till the third minute of second-half stoppage time when Sergio Ramos leapt to beat the Atletico keeper Thibaut Courtois with a header to the far post.
There was little inkling of what was to come as the teams headed to extra time. With ten minutes to go before a penalty shootout, Di Maraud's marauding run down the left resulted in a shot at goal which was foiled by Courtois. The richochet fell to an unmarked Gareth Bale at the far post who slotted the ball into an unguarded net as Real led for the first time in the match.
Any hopes of an Atletico comeback were quickly doused by Marcelo who added Real's third of the game two minutes from time before Cristiano Ronaldo scored his record-extending 17th goal of the campaign from the penalty spot to rubber-stamp Real's La Decima win.