5 of the best ever Champions League players
With the 2013-14 Champions League season underway, here is a look at the five players who have enjoyed the most success in the competition, since took on this guise in 1992.
With four Champions League winner’s medals to his name with three different clubs, Seedorf’s record in Europe’s premier club competition is unique. His first success came as a 19-year-old in 1995 as Ajax won the most recent of their four titles. He next won the tournament with Real Madrid in 1998, playing a major role as they defeated Juventus 1-0 in the final.
However, the Dutchman will be best remembered for his decade with Milan, with whom he took his tally to four Champions League wins, helping them to a penalty shoot-out win over Juventus in 2003, and, after suffering heartache in the final against Liverpool in 2005, he helped Milan to gain their revenge with a 2-1 victory over the same opponents two years later.
The long-serving Barcelona playmaker has helped the club to three Champions League titles. His passing ability has been central to Champions League success in 2006, 2009 and 2011, providing the likes of Samuel Eto’o and Lionel Messi with the ammunition to take Barcelona’s tally to four.
Another one club man, Maldini ended a glittering 25-year career with Milan in 2009 after helping the Serie A club to five of their seven European crowns. Prior to the formation of the Champions League in 1992, Maldini had been part of two successful sides and was establishing himself as one of the world’s best defenders when he helped the club to victory in 1994.
Later in his career, he was still a stalwart in central defence, with another Champions League victory secured in 2003 with a penalty shoot-out win over rivals Juventus. Despite scoring in the 2005 final, Maldini was on the losing side as Milan were dramatically beaten by Liverpool, but lifted the trophy again in 2007 following a 2-1 victory over the Reds in Athens.
In his 16 years at Real Madrid, Raul was central two three Champions League winning campaigns, scoring in the final as they triumphed in 2000 and 2002. That came after Real’s now all-time record goalscorer helped them to victory over Juventus in 1998, the seventh of their nine wins overall.
The Cameroon international became only the second player to score in two Champions League finals in 2009, when his early goal set Barcelona on their way to victory over Manchester United. His first Champions League winner’s medal came three years earlier, when he scored the equalising goal as the Spanish giants came from behind to defeat 10-man Arsenal.
The four time African Player of the year enjoyed his most recent European success in 2010, when he played a crucial role in helping Inter to the final in his first season in charge, where two Diego Milito goals were enough to see off Bayern Munich.
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