There can be little doubt that the Champions League is the single greatest club football tournament in the World.
32 teams from Europe’s best leagues (which arguably contains the the top leagues in the world) have clashed in spectacular style and have now been whittled down to just two teams – Atletico Madrid and Real Madrid.
As we get prepared for the derby final, we’ve been reminiscing about some of the finals from years past.
So to get you in the mood for the big finale, here’s our countdown of the Top 10 Greatest Champions League Finals… Ever!
10. Real Madrid 4-1 Atletico Madrid. Estadio da Luz in Lisbon 2014
This was the first Madrid European Cup final and what a belter.
After Diego Costa limped off early due to injury, Atletico surprisingly took the lead through Diego Godin. Real Madrid were facing defeat as the game approached 90 minutes but Sergio Ramos had other ideas and headed past Thibaut Courtois for the equaliser.
Real then dominated with goals from Gareth Bale, Marcelo and a penalty from Cristiano.
9. Borussia Dortmund 3 Juventus 1. Olympiastadion, Munich, 1997
Holders Juventus were widely expected to win again but with Ottmar Hitzfeld’s tactical planning and four former Bianconeri in their squad Dortmund had them figured out.
Karlheinz Riedle scored twice in the first half but a fine flick from Alessandro Del Piero on 64 minutes gave the Italians hope. Hitzfeld responded by sending on Lars Ricken who scored a spectacular third only 16 seconds after coming on to become the fastest ever substitute to score in a UEFA Champions League final.
8. AC Milan 4 Barcelona 0. OACA Spiros Louis Stadium, Athens, 1994
Johan Cruyff’s star studded Barcelona side were firm favourites to win the their second European title in three years, especially as Milan had seven first team players missing through a combination of injury, suspension and UEFA regulations.
However thanks to Fabio Capello’s astute tactics and a brilliant performance by Dejan Savicevic, Milan secured an emphatic 4 – 0 win in a masterclass of attacking football.
Undoubtedly, this will be the game that the current crop of rossoneri will look to as they take on the reigning Champions tonight.
7. Barcelona 3 Juventus 1. Olympiastadion Berlin, Berlin, 2015
It looked as though this game could have been over after only ten minutes when Ivan Rakitić scored for Barcelona and the rest of the first half was mainly Barca.
Juventus however managed to claw their way back into the game when former Real Madrid player, Alvaro Morata, grabbed an equaliser for Juventus and an upset looked as though it could be on the cards.
But in Xavi’s final game for Barcelona, their impressive forward line came to the fore. Luis Suarez and Neymar both netted to secure a fifth European trophy for the Catalonians.
6. Celtic 2 Internazionale 1. Estadio Nacional, Lisbon, 1967
The 1967 final pitted Jock Stein’s Celtic against Helenio Herrera’s Inter. Herrera was the inventor of the defensive catenaccio system and but in the final Stein cleverly employed his own tactics by raising the tempo and pushing his full backs right up the pitch.
Despite Inter taking the lead in the seventh minute through a penalty, Celtic kept up the relentless pressure and were rewarded in the second half with goals from Tommy Gemmell and Stevie Chalmers to become the first British side to win the European Cup.
5. Benfica 5 Real Madrid 3 Olympisch, Amsterdam, 1962
Real Madrid had won the first five European Cup finals but Benfica were the current holders, so the 1962 promised to be a classic and so it proved. An incredible first half saw a Puskás hat-trick give Madrid a 3-2 interval lead. However the Lisbon team rallied, levelling through Mario Coluna before Eusébio settled the match with two cannonball strikes.
4. Real Madrid 4 Stade De Reims 3, Parc des Princes, Paris, 1956
The first ever European Cup final is still one of the most memorable to this day.
Home advantage seemed to tell at the Parc des Princes when French side Stade De Reims raced into a 2-0 lead after ten minutes but Madrid hit back with goals from the legendary Alfredo Di Stéfano and Argentinian-born striker Héctor Rial.
Michel Hidalgo restored the advantage after 62 minutes but Madrid hit back through Manuel Marquitos before Rial sealed victory with the seventh goal of an exhilarating game.
3. Real Madrid 7 Eintracht Frankfurt 3. Hampden Park, Glasgow, 1960
No one in the enormous crowd of 127,621 could have predicted what they witnessed at Hampden Park. Alfredo Di Stéfano and Ferenc Puskás dominated what many consider to be the greatest European final ever. Richard Kress’s early opener for Eintracht did nothing to deter the Spanish side, who raced into a 3-1 interval lead. And by the time the Germans next found the target, which they did twice late on, Puskás and Di Stéfano had shared seven goals between them.
2. Manchester United 2 Bayern Munich 1. Camp Nou, Barcelona, 1999
Without the suspended Roy Keane and Paul Scholes, Manchester United struggled against a well organised Bayern Munich. Bayern scored early and pushed for the all-important second goal but despite many near misses it never came.
The 90 minutes was far from a classic but this game will be forever remembered for the three minutes of injury time at the end of the game. Teddy Sheringham equaliser on 90:36 was dramatic enough but Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s goal less than two minutes later saw United snatch an incredible and improbable victory.
1. Liverpool 3 AC Milan 3 (3-2 pens) Atatürk Olimpiyat Stadium, Istanbul, 2005
In Istanbul Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez surprised everyone by opting for attacking winger Harry Kewell over steady defensive midfielder Dietmar Hamann.
The plan backfired badly in the first half as Liverpool were simply overrun, falling behind 3 – 0. However Hamann was introduced at half time and Benitez used a 3-4-2-1 formation he had never used before. The rest is history. Liverpool scored three times, capping the greatest comeback in the history of the competition, and won the shootout.
Champions League final 2016: Real Madrid v Atletico Madrid
Venue: San Siro, Milan Date: 28 May Kick-off: 19:45