The UEFA Champions League is arguably the most prestigious of football competitions. Fans around the world hum the theme tune, hoping their team will make it big to the finals.
Everyone has their own favourite moment from the last 22 years of the competition; the moment that had them on the edge of their seats. Most are probably epic goals.
The early days of the Champions League saw very few Africans on these teams but, as the years have gone by, more have joined and we’ve seen a number of incredible moments by players from the continent. Here’s a countdown of some impressive goal-scoring from a few of them:
The semi-final between Arsenal and Villarreal had a distinct lack of goals but a number of incidents.
The only goal of the match scored by the Ivorian defender, put Arsenal in their first-ever Champions League Final.
Before their victory in 2014, Real Madrid were going through a relatively barren spell in the Champions League.
One of the low points of that period was a surprising knockout by Lyon in 2010. The lone goal of the tie was scored by Cameroonian midfielder Jean Makoun, who chose the greatest of moments to unleash a long-range effort.
Football commentators love using the phrase ‘he isn’t a great goal-scorer, he’s a scorer of great goals.’
These players aren’t particularly prolific but score special goals that make the crowd go wild. Michael Essien has probably heard that cliché more times than the song Azonto because he definitely falls into that category of player. Evidence below.
The 2008 Champions League final was not a joyous occasion for the striker.
He was sent off in extra-time before John Terry’s infamous penalty miss led to Man Utd’s victory. However, he was great in the preceding round, scoring a brace to put the team into the finals for the first time.
Samuel Eto’o doesn’t care if he’s playing a big game or a kick-around in his back garden; he gives it his all everytime.
His efforts have been significant in numerous Champions League victories, including the 2009 triumph.
Adebi Ayew Pele was destined for greatness at a young age and so was bestowed with the ‘Pele’ addition to his name. Probably made it a lot easier for him to get restaurant reservations!
Adebi Ayew Pele set up this winning goal for Ivorian-born defender Basile Boli during the ’93 Champions League final. Great teamwork!
Samuel Eto’o’s first Champions League success came in the 2006 final against Arsenal.
After the Gunners took an early lead, he assisted the fight back with a 76th-minute strike. Fortunately for Arsene Wenger, the final was held in Paris and so he could just go home and have an early night.
You couldn’t have written a better scripted goodbye to Chelsea for the 2012 final.
After equalising late in regulation time, Didier was given the last penalty to seal the tie for Chelsea (luckily John Terry was not on the pitch) in what was his last match for the team (that is until he returned last season).
There you have it, some highlights but definitely not a complete list of the best goals in the Champions League.