17 Years Ago Today, Zinedine Zidane Scored One Of The Greatest Goals In Champions League History

Exactly 17 years ago, Zinedine Zidane scored what many consider to be the greatest goal in the history of the Champions League.

On 15 May 2002, Real Madrid and Bayer Leverkusen played out the Champions League final at Scotland's Hampden Park and of course it was Zizou who was the difference-maker.

Real went 1-0 up in Glasgow when a quick throw-in led to talisman Raul nipping behind and seeing his left-footed finish trickle past Jörg Butt.

At the time, Bayer had a talented crop of players and had knocked out both Liverpool and Manchester United in knockout rounds on their way to the final.

They responded quickly to going a goal down when defender Lucio, who went on to win the World Cup two months later, rose highest to head home the equaliser from Bernd Schneider's teasing delivery in the 13th minute.

To their credit, Leverkusen, without one of their star players in Brazilian Ze Roberto, matched Real Madrid - unfortunately coming up against a young Iker Casillas, on as a substitute goalkeeper, in inspired form late on. The Spaniard made two excellent saves late on to deny Carsten Ramelow.

But the game belonged to Zidane. On the stroke of half-time, the France international produced a moment that would be remembered for years to come.

Image: PA
Image: PA

An attack down the left saw left-back Roberto Carlos manage to send in a lofted ball for Zidane on the edge of the area.

Your average player would have tried to touch the ball down, but average is not a word that comes in the same sentence as Zinedine Zidane.

The Los Blancos talisman swivelled his body shape and left fly with a stunning left-footed volley that rippled into the net. Butt in the Leverkusen goal was at fault for the opener but there was nothing he could do to deny Zidane in this instance. The technique is just exceptional.

It was a goal we've all attempted to score on the school playground, but there was no way anyone could come up with the graceful technique that Zizou displayed.

Image: PA
Image: PA

Image': PA

The goal proved to be the difference between the two sides, and ultimately handed Madrid their ninth European Cup, a trophy they would not lift again until 12 years later under Carlo Ancelotti - before Zidane himself stepped into the management seat himself and won the most decorated prize in club football.

Josh Lawless

Josh is a writer who specialises in football and wrestling. He has been published by Curzon Ashton FC, Late Tackle, Manchester City FC, The Mirror, Read Man City and Manchester Evening News. He provides coverage of professional wrestling and has interviewed some of the biggest names in the field - including the first UK interview with The Hardy Boyz after their return to WWE. He has never sported a pair of Lonsdale Slip-ons, contrary to reports.

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