Champions League Best Ever... Moments from Wayne Rooney to Jerzy Dudek

Matt Jones 1/06/2019
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • G+
  • Mail
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • G+
  • WhatsApp
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn
Jerzy Dudek

The two sides entering the Metropolitano Stadium on June 1 can legitimately be pinned up against some of the great European sides witnessed during the competition’s rich history.

Ahead of this blockbuster encounter between Tottenham and Liverpool we’re running a series on Europe’s elite competition called the ‘Best Ever…’ and on this occasion we’re examining the greatest moments to have emerged from the tournament.

Trimming the list down to five is an enormously tricky task and any one of the five picked hold claim to top spot.

But here is our look at the five best European Cup/Champions League moments.

1. PUYOL’S PERFECT GESTURE

The greatest moment in Champions League history wasn’t a goal or a save, or a game-clinching moment. It didn’t even take place within the 90 minutes.

When Pep Guardiola’s brilliant Barcelona claimed their fourth title after beating Manchester United 3-1 at Wembley in 2011, Carles Puyol was about to become the first player to touch the trophy in triumph at Wembley. Except, the Blaugrana skipper had been planning something else for a few weeks should his side be victorious.

Barca left-back Eric Abidal had been diagnosed with liver cancer in March 2011, but recovered in time to play the full 90 minutes of the final.

Captain Puyol didn’t start because of a knee injury and passed the captain’s armband to Xavi. However, Guardiola substituted Puyol on in the 88th minute with the game won. Xavi immediately returned the armband to Puyol, conceding the right to lift the trophy as well.

Puyol has since said his most special moment in his 15 years as a Barca player was the moment he handed Abidal the captain’s armband to allow him to lift the trophy.

“When Xavi said I should lift the cup, I knew at once what I had to do,” said Puyol. “It was a special moment for me, a legendary moment, you could say. It showed why football is the most beautiful game.”

2. DUDEK’S BRUCE ALMIGHTY AUDITION

Steven Gerrard’s determination and Liverpool’s spirit are credited with being the catalyst behind the Reds’ stunning comeback to topple superior AC Milan in the 2005 final.

But Jerzy Dudek’s saves in the penalty shootout and Bruce Grobbelaar-inspired antics don’t often get the credit they deserve.

“Carra (Jamie Carragher) came up to me like he was crazy,” Dudek has said of the shootout. “He grabbed me and said, ‘Jerzy, Jerzy, Jerzy – remember Bruce [Grobbelaar]. He did crazy things to put them off in 1984. You have to do the same’. He told me I would be the hero.”

And how right he was.

Dudek was in character from the very first spot kick when he approached referee Manuel Mejuto Gonzalez appearing to gesture that his gloves were slippery and he wanted a towel. He danced along his line in an attempt to fluster Serginho, who slammed his kick over the bar, and tried to psyche out Milan’s players by handing them the ball as they walked towards the spot.

Andrea Pirlo’s tame effort was saved by a crouching Dudek. Jon Dahl Tomasson and Kaka both scored – the famous Grobbelaar spaghetti legs movement hadn’t put off the Brazilian. But he saved from Andriy Shevchenko, who still looked shell-shocked from Dudek’s remarkable double save from him in extra time, to complete a remarkable triumph.

3. ROO WOULD HAVE THOUGHT IT?

“Wayne Rooney has scored for Manchester United. And it’s not the last time you’ll hear that,” were the words of commentator Clive Tyldesley. Indeed, it wasn’t the last time we’d hear that. In fact, we heard it twice more that night as the teenager, a few weeks shy of his 19th birthday, completed a hat-trick on his Red Devils’ debut in a 6-2 Champions League win over Fenerbahce.

He would go on to score 250 more in a glittering 13-year career at Old Trafford which saw him surpass Sir Bobby Charlton as the club – and even England’s – top scorer with 253. There were some spectacular and crucial strikes among the haul, as well as 12 major trophies, but that night lives long in the memory for United fans.

All eyes were on Rooney, making his first appearance in a United shirt since his £27 million move from Everton that 2004 summer, but this was no awe-struck teenager, paralysed by fear featuring in the same XI as Ryan Giggs and Ruud van Nistelrooy. It was his moment, and he owned it.

He ran onto the Dutchman’s delightful through ball to punch in his first, rifling in his second 11 minutes later after dummying a defender. Before the hour he’d curled in a brilliant free-kick for his hat-trick goal.

4. A REAL APPETITE FOR SUCCESS

Injuries, mistakes, poor form and luck have all played a part in defeats in major finals, but one of the European Cup’s greatest moments almost never happened – because of a sandwich, allegedly.

Ahead of the 1987 final between Porto and Bayern Munich, so the story goes, Porto’s Algerian forward Rabah Madjer got a bad case of the midnight munchies.

Ravenous Rabah was caught sneaking out of the team’s camp by his assistant coach, who was furious, and told the manager, Artur Jorge, who was similarly angered.

So incensed by Rabah’s rabid cravings, the club apparently wanted the mercurial forward sacked, but fans protested and the starving striker received a stay of execution.

It was a good job he did as he carved up Bayern and served up the equalising goal, and also laid the winner on a plate for Brazil’s Juary, as Porto won 2-1 to feast on their first title.

The 60-year-old is surely still dining out on his goal, an impish back-heeled finish. The best thing since sliced bread? Certainly in Arab football as Madjer remains the only Arab player to win the European Cup.

5. I AIN’T GETTING ON NO PLANE FOOL

BeFunky-collage - 2019-05-21T174903.501

Fear can often have a crippling effect, while on the other hand it can be a magnificent motivator. For Celtic legend Jimmy Johnstone, both were true in terms of his morbid fear of flying.

Hoops manager Jock Stein used this to great effect during his side’s 1968/69 European Cup campaign, when he told Johnstone before the home leg of their second round clash with Red Star Belgrade that ‘Jinky’ would be allowed to stay at home for the Yugoslavia trip if Celtic won by four goals or more.

The elusive winger went on to arguably produce his finest performance in a green and white shirt as he netted twice and provided assists for two more as the hosts hammered Red Star 5-1.

They would need more than bribes and fear of flying to wing their way past AC Milan in the quarter-finals though – the Rossoneri won 1-0 on aggregate and went on to lift the trophy.

Most popular

Liverpool vs Tottenham: Harry Kane trains ahead of Champions League final but Pochettino remains coy

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • G+
  • Mail
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • G+
  • WhatsApp
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn
Harry Kane

Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino was keeping tight-lipped over whether Harry Kane would start the Champions League final.

Kane has not played since the quarter-final first leg against Manchester City in early April when he suffered a “significant” ankle ligament injury.

The England captain has declared himself fit for the showpiece clash with Liverpool and trained without problem at the Wanda Metropolitano Stadium in Madrid on Friday night.

Kane would likely replace Lucas Moura – the hat-trick hero of Amsterdam – if he was to start and Pochettino is preparing himself for a “painful” decision.

“We have one training session now and then we’re going to decide,” Pochettino said.

“It’s normal that you are asking me, it’s not easy, it is not going to be easy to make that decision tomorrow.

“But it was difficult the last game that we played, the semi-finals, the quarter-finals, the last 16.

“Every single game we need to take a decision. Tomorrow is going to be another decision, a decision when we have all the information and we know every single detail, we are going to take the best decision to win.”

Pochettino believes it is a team game and has even insisted with UEFA that his entire 23-man matchday squad will go on to the pitch before kick-off to have their photo taken.

“It is so painful when this type of game arrives and you can only use 11 players from the beginning,” he added. “That is the most painful situation.

“I proposed a few weeks ago to try and get the whole squad to take a picture together – I think UEFA has listened.

“Tomorrow both teams are going to have the possibility for the whole squad to be on the game to take a picture.”

Tottenham are preparing for the biggest game of their history and have a chance to become the unlikeliest European champions in recent memory.

Pochettino added: “It’s amazing to go back 10 months ago when we started the pre-season to believe one day that we would be here.

“Tomorrow is about enjoying for us and to win because we want to write the history. We know very well what we have to do.”

Much has been made of Reds boss Jurgen Klopp’s losing record in finals as he has lost the last six he has contested, including two Champions League finals.

Pochettino, however, believes the fact he has now reached three showpiece events in this competition is the statistic everyone should be focusing on.

“For me, Jurgen is a successful manager, I admire him a lot, he is great, he is happy, optimistic, he is a very good example, I like him a lot,” he said.

“He is a little bit unlucky, the people judge because you lose the final.

“You need to judge that it is the third time he has arrived at the final, the most difficult thing is to arrive at the final.”

Most popular

Liverpool vs Tottenham: Jurgen Klopp’s run of final defeats will ‘become an issue’, says Danny Murphy

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • G+
  • Mail
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • G+
  • WhatsApp
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn

Danny Murphy believes Jurgen Klopp’s miserable record in major finals will “become an issue” should Liverpool suffer Champions League defeat to Tottenham.

Reds boss Klopp has lost his previous six finals as a manager, including three since his arrival at Anfield in 2015.

Ex-Liverpool midfielder Murphy has backed the German to halt that alarming run in Saturday’s all-English clash with Spurs in Madrid.

But the 42-year-old, who represented the Merseyside club between 1997 and 2004, feels serious questions will be asked of Klopp’s record if the five-time European champions come out second best at the Wanda Metropolitano.

“Obsession with trophies, I get. Ultimately, every player and manager is judged on winning trophies,” said Murphy, who has partnered with Greene King as part of their summer of sport.

“But if Liverpool don’t win, are the fans going to want Klopp to leave? No.

“It just means the pressure gets bigger again.

“You can only judge him on the Liverpool ones really. I think there are things in the Liverpool finals he could have done differently but hindsight is a wonderful thing.

“Ultimately, will they be forgotten if they win on Saturday? Yes.

“If they don’t win it will become an issue. But let’s hope they are forgotten.”

Premier League runners-up Liverpool were beaten 3-1 by Real Madrid in last season’s Champions League final in Kiev, having already lost the 2016 Europa League and Carabao Cup finals under their current boss.

While in charge of Borussia Dortmund, Klopp was defeated in the 2013 Champions League final by Bundesliga rivals Bayern Munich and lost successive German cup finals in 2014 and 2015.

Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino has also attracted criticism for his failure to land silverware since moving to the Premier League.

Former England international Murphy, who played for Spurs in 2006 and 2007, is a big fan of both coaches and praised Pochettino for achieving results while coping with a limited transfer budget and playing at Wembley during construction of the club’s new ground.

“I think Pochettino has done an incredible job in the five years he’s been there,” said Murphy.

“What he’s already achieved is like winning something – top four in the Premier League, getting to the final of the Champions League. That’s like winning something, but it’s not on paper.

“They’ve done it without signing players in the last couple of windows, they’ve done it away from their own stadium.

“But on the flip side, Klopp’s done a wonderful job too – bridging that gap to Man City, two Champions League finals in two years is incredible.

“Liverpool are now consistently one of the best teams in Europe.

“So two great managers who I think, no matter what happens, we’ll see in the same jobs next season.”

Murphy appeared in two European finals during his playing career.

He clinched a cup treble with Gerard Houllier’s Liverpool by beating Spanish side Alaves 5-4 in the 2001 UEFA Cup, before losing 2-1 to LaLiga giants Atletico Madrid with Roy Hodgson’s Fulham in the 2010 Europa League.

The retired set-piece specialist was Cottagers captain for the Atletico match and admits the pain of that extra-time defeat was difficult to handle.

“The devastation I felt on losing that final, I can’t put into words,” he said.

“It was the most horrendous evening of my life. I’ve had a few but that was the worst.

“The feeling of losing any final is awful and I pity any of the players that have to do it (on Saturday).”

Most popular

Related Tags