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Ten of the greatest goals of the Champions League era

Anirudh Menon
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Zlatan Ibrahimovic admires his handiwork along with awestruck opponents fromAnderlecht in the 2013-14 UEFA Champions LeagueAh! September, the month that marks the onset of that most beautiful of northern seasons – autumn – in the Western Hemisphere and the start of what is conceivably the greatest annual tournament on the planet. For come September, it is once again time for that carnival of footballing magic - The UEFA Champions League.With that carnival come players with unequalled talent, showing off their most awe-inspiring skills at the highest level of competition and scoring goals of the highest order. We had some blinders last year - the semi-cyborg that is Cristiano Ronaldo scoring spectacular goals seemingly at will,  Zlatan Ibrahamovic - that playstation character of a footballer – chipping in with some stupendous efforts of his own, and what will go down as one of the greatest consolation goals ever - Klaas Jan Huntelaar’s perfectly dispatched volley against a Real Madrid side that had just ripped his Schalke team to shreads.The tournament has a long history of spectacular goals, goals that stand out as much for the fairytale narratives woven into the background as for the tremendous skill and technique invoved in the execution With that in mind, here’s a look at ten of the greatest goals scored in the Champions League era.Author’s note - The list is by no means definitive and the goals are listed purely in chronological order.

#1 Dejan Savievi vs Barcelona - Final, 1993-94

Going into the 1994 Champions league final, Barcelona –under the aegis of the Dutch master, Johann Cruyff, and with the legendary duo of Hristo Stoichkov and Romario in the form of their lives -  were expected to win, and win comfortably, against Fabio Capello’s AC Milan side which came into the final plagued by injuries to key players.

In the end, attacking flair did triumph, it just wasn’t supplied by the team that was expected to do it – Milan put in what is quite possibly the greatest performance seen in the history of the Champions League (till date, anyway) as they absolutely hammered Barcelona to pieces.  The Rossoneri ended up winning 4-0, but the pick of the bunch was the third – an insouciant effort from that magical Montenegrin, Dejan Savievi.

Charging Miguel Angel Nadal (yes, uncle to THAT Nadal) and robbing the ball from the dawdling Spaniard, Savievi found himself facing the goalkeeper, although quite far out and at a rather acute angle to the goal. Now, most footballers would have attempted to close down the distance to goal, or create a better angle to shoot from – and with glacier-like (in size and speed) Ronald Koeman being the closest covering defender, that would have made logical sense too.

The midfielder though, had always eschewed such mundane thinking – logic was for the aesthetically blind and Savievi proceeded to lift the most arrogantly lazy lob over the great Andoni Zubizaretta. It arced perfectly over the stationary goalkeeper and dipped just below the crossbar leaving the dumbstruck Zubizaretta, who was not too far at all off his line, absolutely no chance.

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Anirudh Menon
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