UEFA Champions League: Top 5 star-studded teams fielded in the final (2000-2017)
A look at the best starting XI to have featured in a Champions League final. Some of these teams were sensational.
The UEFA Champion League is the biggest prize of the European football. The best teams from across the continent compete to have their name engraved on the historic trophy. The thrill of the Europe's premier competition is sublime. The UCL anthem is a melody which leaves every football fan shuddering with joy. Such is the grandeur of the tournament.
Over the years, the Champions League has countless moments of magic embedded in its antiquity. Teams leave absolutely no stone un-turned to conquer the biggest prize. There have been some sensational players who had the privilege of being a part of this competition.
With the knockout stages around the corner, we dwell into the history of the competition and take a look at the five heaviest star studded Starting XIs fielded in the finals of the Champions League.
# 5. Manchester United - 2008 (vs Chelsea)
Manchester United played Chelsea in the 2008 competition final in Moscow. The United line-up included Carlos Tevez, Wayne Rooney and Cristiano Ronaldo as the front three. Having already lifted the Premier League title, United went into the final brimming with confidence.
The defensive pairing of Nemanja Vidic and Rio Ferdinand appeared to be unbreakable after beating Barcelona in the semis. Owen Hargreaves, Paul Scholes and Michael Carrick formed an all English midfield with Edwin Van Der Sar guarding the nets.
Ferguson's men drew first blood when Ronaldo thumped a header past Petr Cech. Frank Lampard equalised for the Blues at the cusp of half-time. The match went into the extra time with the scoreline at 1-1.
The deadlock was not broken and the teams headed for the penalty shootouts. For those who followed the match would know what a nerve cracking shootout it was. To United's troubles, Ronaldo's penalty was saved by Cech. The scoreline read in favour of Chelsea as John Terry came up to take the decisive kick. As Terry was about to shoot, he slipped on the wet turf and the ball hit the post, on the way out.
Ferguson's men would've never left such a piece of fortune unexploited. United goalkeeper, Van Der Sar pulled out a brilliant mind-game to deny Anelka in sudden death and lift the trophy.