This season’s Champions League has been nothing short of sensational, with plenty of shock results, breath-taking goals and individual moments of brilliance. As the competition comes to a close for another year, with Tottenham Hotspur and Liverpool battling it out in an all-English final at the Estadio Metropolitano in Madrid, let’s take a look back into yesteryear and some of the biggest Champions League final wins.
2017: Juventus 1-4 Real Madrid
The 2017 final was held at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff and saw Real Madrid triumphant for a twelfth time; while consigning Juventus to their fifth defeat in as many finals. It was also a repeat of the 1998 final, which saw Los Blancos victorious then too, in a slightly more slender 1-0 win in Amsterdam. Juventus made their ninth final, having knocked out Monaco in a 4-1 aggregate win, while Real beat rivals Atléti in the semi-finals 4-2, to record their fifteenth appearance in the final.
Cristiano Ronaldo put in a man-of-the-match performance, chipping in with two goals – and he opened the scoring on 20 minutes when his low shot deflected in off the right foot of Leonardo Bonucci. Juventus hit back almost immediately, through Mario Mandzukic’s spectacular overhead kick, which Keylor Navas had no chance of saving.
While Juventus had previously dominated possession, in the second half, Madrid were simply unstoppable and ran out worthy winners. They restored their lead on the hour mark, through Casemiro’s long-range shot, before Ronaldo added to his tally on 64 minutes.
La Vecchia Signora’s night went from bad to worse, when Juan Cuadrado was shown a second yellow card with six minutes remaining for pushing Sergio Ramos. Ultimately, Juve were made to pay and Marco Ascensio wrapped up the scoring in the final minutes, tapping in from 12-yards out. At 21-years-old, the Spaniard became the youngest player to ever score in a Champions League final for Real.
The victory for Los Blancos not only saw them secure a record-breaking twelfth title in the competition but also become the first club to win back-to-back Champions League finals.
2014: Real Madrid 4-1 Atlético Madrid
The Estádio da Luz in Lisbon was home to the 2014 final between rivals Real and Atléti, and was the first time in the history of the competition that the final was contested by two teams from the same city. Los Blancos tore defending champions Bayern Munich apart in the semi-finals, running out 5-0 aggregate winners; while Los Rojiblancos reached their second final (their first in the Champions League era), with a victory against Chelsea, 3-1.
The scoreline didn’t really do justice to the drama that had unfolded – and it took extra time for Real to really make an impact. It hadn’t been a great start for Atléti, with striker Diego Costa forced to come off after eight minutes. But they took the lead after the half-hour mark when Diego Godin capitalised on a mistake by experienced keeper Iker Casillas.
Diego Simeone must have thought his side had done enough to secure the trophy, but in the fifth minute of stoppage time, Ramos – so often the villain – headed in from Luka Modrić’s corner to send the game to extra time.
Neither team had substitutions left to make for the final 30 minutes, but Real capitalised on their opponent’s fatigue and dominated. Gareth Bale took advantage of Thibaut Courtois’ attempt to block Ángel Di María’s shot and headed in from two-yards out. With 10 minutes left to play, Real added two more goals – with Marcelo netting and then Ronaldo converting a penalty after he was fouled by Gabi.
1994: AC Milan 4-0 Barcelona
The Olympic Stadium in Athens played home to the 1994 Champions League final and AC Milan, the previous year’s runners-up, were victorious in what was described as one of the greatest performances in the history of the European Cup/Champions League. In Champions League odds, Barcelona were very much the favourites, having recently won La Liga for the fourth year in a row; while Milan’s preparations for the final weren’t the best, with Marco van Basten and Gianluigi Lentini both out injured and Franco Baresi suspended. Both teams were 3-0 victors in their respective semi-finals – Milan beating Monaco and Barça triumphant over Porto.
Milan were two goals to the good at half time, thanks to a Daniele Massaro double, before Dejan Savićević added a third. It was certainly the pick of the bunch, with the Montenegrin lobbing the Barça keeper, Andoni Zubizarreta, from the edge of the penalty area. Legendary French defender Marcel Desailly finished off the scoring before the hour mark, after cleverly beating the offside trap.