UEFA CHAMPIONS LEAGUE


UNCONQUERED TOP OF BUFFON
Someone calls him the modern Lev Yashin, someone - the best goalkeeper in history. But he has one unconquered peak - the UEFA Champions League. Moreover, Gianluigi Buffon was close to the trophy three times, but…

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In the 2003 final at Old Trafford in Manchester, Gigi did everything to lift the trophy over his head - he defended to zero in regular and extra time, took a penalty from Clarence Seedorf and Kakha Kaladze, but brought down David Trezeguet, Marcelo Zalayeta and Paolo Montero. All three shot from the 11-meter mark ugly. As a result, the cup went to Milan.

Buffon's second final happened in June 2015 in Berlin at the Olympiastadion, a seemingly happy arena for Gigi. It was here that in 2006 he became the world champion. But that evening, Juve had no chance, Barcelona played stronger. She easily dealt with the less stellar “Old Signora” – 3:1. Even Buffon's miracles in goal couldn't stop Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Neymar.

For the third time in 2017, the whole planet was rooting for Buffon. The Italian himself had an outstanding play-off, having kept clean sheets twice against Barça and conceded only once against Monaco. But here again no luck. In the first half, although Juve conceded, firstly, he scored himself, and secondly, he completely outplayed the Royal Club. But the second half came out completely different “Real”. 1:4 - and Buffon again without a trophy.

The goalkeeper is going to retire next year. Who knows, maybe Juventus will have time to thank the great footballer for his outstanding career with a victory in the UEFA Champions League. Find out more about EuroCup

ETERNAL RECORD OF CASILLAS

Iker Casillas is not just a top goalkeeper. He is a living legend of Real Madrid and the entire UEFA Champions League. The 35-year-old goalkeeper played in 175 matches of the main European club tournament. But with the modern format, in one draw, subject to reaching the final, only 13 meetings can be held (excluding qualifying ones). It looks like this record will never be broken.

The Spanish super goalkeeper's debut season in the UEFA Champions League was not the most successful for him. On September 15, 1999, he conceded three goals from Olympiacos of Piraeus. Saved by partners who managed to recoup. In total, he was scored 15 times in that draw. By the standards of Madrid "Real" - a lot, but in the end, Casillas lifted the cup over his head. In the final, the "Royal Club" defeated "Valencia" (3:0), and Casillas, at the age of 19, became the youngest goalkeeper to play in the decisive meeting. Since then, he has twice become the winner of the most prestigious European Cup, and along the way, as part of the Spanish national team, he won the European Championship twice and once the World Cup.

Behind Casillas in the number of appearances in the UEFA Champions League are such legends as Paolo Maldini (174 matches), Xavi (173), Clarence Seedorf (163), Raul (161). Moreover, they all ended their careers, and the Spaniard will again play at least in the 2017/18 UEFA Champions League group stage.

HOW BARCELONA DID THE IMPOSSIBLE AND SCORE FOUR GOALS

This game, along with the finals "Bayern" - "Manchester United" in 1999 and "Milan" - "Liverpool" in 2005, forever entered the history of the UEFA Champions League. Yes, it was not a decisive match, but only 1/8 finals. But what football!

In the first match in Paris in February 2017, PSG smashed Barcelona 4-0. Before the second game in the Catalans except themselves, it seems, no one believed. The bookmakers estimated their chances of passing about as goalkeeper Trapp's goal. After all, no one in the history of the tournament managed to win back four goals in a two-legged confrontation.

Barça's only chance was in an early goal, and it happened: Luis Suarez nodded without looking, and the ball dived into the goal. The hosts continued to press, but the ball did not go into the goal. At the end of the half, when the score was still 1-0, Andres Iniesta beautifully crossed the heel, and Kurzawa clumsily cut the ball into his own net. Nou Camp is booming!

The second half began with a penalty against PSG. Lionel Messi was relentless - 3:0. It would seem that the Parisians are about to crumble. But the French spring was unclenched by the goal of Edinson Cavani. Here, for sure, everyone thought as one: that's it - PSG is moving on. The Catalans had to score three goals.

It was the 88th minute when Neymar woke Barça with a crazy free kick. In the 90th minute, the referee gave a penalty, again Neymar was accurate. 5:5 (!) on aggregate, but the Parisians have an "extra" goal in a foreign field. If things had stayed that way, they would have moved on.

The referee added five minutes, and 20 (!) seconds before the final whistle, Sergi Roberto pulled the team into the quarterfinals! "Bars" forever in history - this is impossible to repeat!

MESSI: THE FIRST PENT TRICK IN THE HISTORY OF THE UEFA CHAMPIONS LEAGUE

In the rich history of the UEFA Champions League, no one has managed to score five goals in one match. And who, if not the great Lionel Messi, should appropriate this achievement for himself? Moreover, the star Argentine did it not in the group stage, but in the playoffs! He scored five times against Bayer in March 2012.

It was Leo's evening. He scored goals for every taste. At some point, it seemed that for Messi it was easier to train. In the first moment, he mockingly threw the ball over the collar of the goalkeeper, in the second he wound up three defenders and accurately hit the bottom, the third - again the goalkeeper came out of the goal, and Leo covered the ball with his body and again threw it into the net along a tall trajectory. And he did it not with his lethal left, but with his right foot.

Perhaps only the fourth goal cannot be called beautiful - Messi simply did not turn off the game and took advantage of the goalkeeper's mistake. The Argentine made the fifth, record goal with his famous left: he removed the defender on the backswing, shifted and accurately shot under the bar.

Cristiano Ronaldo still can't come close to five goals in one match in Europe's premier club competition. But it succeeded ... Spartak striker Louise Adrian. Then the Brazilian still defended the colors of Shakhtar Donetsk, and the Belarusian BATE suffered from him, but that's a completely different story ...

 
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