As this season’s group stage prepares to get underway, FourFourTwo brings you a score of the finest net-bulgers the world’s premier club competition has ever seen...
20. Raul, Man United 2-3 REAL MADRID, 1999/00
Argentina star Redondo's amazing heel-kick flick past Henning Berg leads to a break down the line and tap-in for talisman Raul. The phenomenal skill to bamboozle the United defence is what grabs us here.
19. Eusebio, BENFICA 5-1 Real Madrid, 1964/65
Skip to 18 seconds to see Eusebio's strike
Everything that made Eusebio great wrapped up in one brilliant goal. A powerful burst, fancy footwork and a low, hard finish put Benfica 3-0 up and on their way to the semi-finals.
18. Marco van Basten, MILAN 4-0 Gothenburg, 1992/93
In the days when the group stage came just before the final, Van Basten clinches his hat-trick goal of four against the hapless Swedes with a technically-perfect bicycle kick.
17. Stelios Giannakopoulos, OLYMPIAKOS 1-0 PORTO, 1997/98
How to open your group campaign in style, by Stelios Giannakopoulos: larrup a looping, long-distance volley into the top corner in front of your own fans to claim all three points. Celebrate wildly.
16. Gareth Bale, Inter 4-3 TOTTENHAM, 2010/11
Four down at San Siro and down to 10 men in your first-ever (and to date, only) Champions League campaign. Who you gonna call? Step forward Gareth Bale. The jet-heeled Welshman starts his dash around 60 yards from goal, leaves Maicon and Javier Zanetti eating dust, then speeds away from Walter Samuel before firing low past Julio Cesar. More remarkable was the fact he did it again in the last minute.
15. Allan Ravn, BRONDBY 2-1 Bayern Munich, 1998/99
Months before Bayern suffered heartbreak against Manchester United, the Germans had to pick themselves up from conceding two late goals to lose 2-1 in Denmark; Ravn scoring this sumptuous 89th-minute winner.
GREAT GOALS RETOLD Ravn: "I didn't have enough energy to take the last man as well"
14. Thierry Henry, Real Madrid 0-1 ARSENAL, 2005/06
The goal that decided this Round of 16 was Titi at his jet-heeled, cool-finishing best, racing clear of Beckham, Ronaldo and, er, Thomas Gravesen and slotting home from his favourite inside-left channel.
13. Michael Essien, CHELSEA 1-1 Barcelona, 2008/09
The Ghanaian is about more than just knee injuries and tough tackling, as this impossibly-good left-footed volley at the Bridge in an ultimately unsuccessful semi-final against the eventual champions proved.
12. Kevin-Prince Boateng, MILAN 2-0 Barcelona, 2012/13
The modest midfielder makes a mug of Eric Abidal with a ‘chop’ turn before burying a low finish in at the near post to send the San Siro wild in this Round of 16 first leg. Nice.
11. Lucho Gonzalez, Hamburg 1-3 PORTO, 2006/07
“Did that just really happen?” says the look on Hamburg keeper Sascha Kirschstein’s face as he picks Lucho’s 30-yard volley out of his net in Porto’s group stage victory. Yes, Sascha. Yes it did.
10. Hugo Almeida, Inter 2-1 PORTO, 2005/06
FFT reckons the Portuguese forward’s left-footed free-kick from about a mile out (OK, 30 yards) would have orbited the earth had it not been stopped by the top corner of the San Siro net. Speculative but spectacular.
9. Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Anderlecht 0-5 PSG, 2013/14
Zlatan doesn’t do sympathy. Which is why he scored this banana blaster as part of a four-goal salvo against the Belgian champions, to leave them with no goals scored and 10 conceded in the group stage.
8. Philippe Mexes, Anderlecht 1-3 MILAN, 2012/13
“You only score a goal like that once in your career.” Especially when you’re a centre-back, Phil! This group-stage great comes courtesy of a long-range overhead kick after some already-impressive chest control.
7. George Weah, Bayern Munich 0-1 PSG, 1994/95
A flowing team move, silky solo run and long-range worldie all rolled into one, as the legendary Liberian inspired group stage smash-and-grab in Bavaria during the group stage.
6. Cristiano Ronaldo, Porto 0-1 MAN UNITED, 2008/09
Tap-ins, headers, free-kicks, mazy dribbles – CR7 can score all kinds of goals, including swerving piledrivers to put the then-reigning champions into the semi-finals, testing his popularity in Portugal’s second city.
5. Dejan Savicevic, MILAN 4-0 Barcelona, 1993/94
Skip to 33 seconds to see Savecevic's lob
The pick of the goals as a great Milan side gave Johan Cruyff’s Dream Team nightmares in the ’94 final. The Yugoslav playmaker has the awareness and accuracy to lob Andoni Zubizarreta from a tight angle. Genius.
4. Lars Ricken, BORUSSIA DORTMUND 3-1 Juventus, 1996/97
The fastest-ever goal by a substitute in the final, and what a goal it was – a first-time, on-the-run chip (the 20-year-old’s first touch) from 25 yards to end Juve’s hopes of a comeback.
3. Dejan Stankovic, INTER 2-5 Schalke, 2010/11
A long-range specialist, but the thunderbooted Serb scored none better than this, a raking volley from the halfway line past some two-bob keeper called Manuel Neuer in the quarter-final first leg.
2. Zinedine Zidane, Bayer Leverkusen 1-2 REAL MADRID, 2001/02
Apparently, two other goals were scored in the 2002 final... no, we don’t remember them, either. That’s because Zizou did this, hammering a volley into the top corner from Roberto Carlos’ looping cross.
1. Mauro Bressan, FIORENTINA 3-3 Barcelona, 1999/00
Bressan was an unremarkable journeyman midfielder, but if you are going to be remembered for one thing, it might as well be this from outside the box against one of the continent’s giants.