Every UEFA Champions League Final Ranked From Worst To Best

Featuring a Lionel Messi masterclass, an Old Trafford bore draw and one special night in Istanbul.

Man Utd Champions League
Martin Rickett/PA Archive/Press Association Images

The final of the Champions League represents the culmination of the annual European football calendar and the climax the world’s biggest club tournament.

South America might have the Copa Libertadores but nothing compares to the glamour and prestige of the European Cup and a storied history of great players and teams stretching back over 60 years.

Rebranded the UEFA Champions League in 1992, the competition has grown in stature over the decades since, with the final representing essential viewing for anyone with a passion for the beautiful game.

Not that every final has proven an instant classic. There have been bore draws, undeserving winners and some decidedly one-sided affairs. But there have been plenty of classics. Breathless finals with more twists and turns than the average Dan Brown thriller.

Heroes have been crowned; villains have been lamented and one Champions League final remains the greatest of them all.

27. AC Milan 0-0 Juventus (2003)

Old Trafford played host to the first all-Italian Champions League final in May 2003, pitting newly-crowned Serie A champions Juventus against that year’s Coppa Italia winners AC Milan.

But despite the array of attacking talent on the pitch, the game proved a damp squib.

Juventus were without star man Pavel Nedved, who was suspended after picking a yellow card in the Bianconeri’s memorable semi-final win over Real Madrid.

In the Czech playmaker's absence, they struggled to break down a resilient Milan side boasting the dream central defensive pairing of Alessandro Nesta and Paolo Maldini as well as midfield general Gennaro Gattuso.

Not that the likes of Andriy Shevchenko or Manuel Rui Costa fared much better in attack for the Rossoneri, coming up against a brick wall in the form of Juve goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon.

The result was a 0-0 stalemate, punctuated by memorable chances for Antonio Conte and Andrea Pirlo, who both hit the bar for Juve and Milan respectively.

After 120 minutes of largely forgettable football, the game came down to penalties. Milan ultimately prevailed albeit in controversial circumstances after replays showed Rossoneri goalkeeper Dida off his line when saving decisive penalties from David Trezeguet, Marcelo Zalayeta and Paolo Montero.

By then it was already too late, with Shevchenko slotting home for Milan to hand the trophy to the Rossoneri.


Former Loaded magazine staff writer with additional credits for FourFourTwo, ScreenRant, Planet Football and Den of Geek. A man with an unhealthy interest in the film career of Hulk Hogan.