Khamis, 24 November 2011

Top ten Champions League performances against a former club

Without futher ado, here is the list in alphabetical order:

EDUARDO (Shakhtar Donetsk) vs Arsenal
Upon returning to the Emirates having just been sold to Shakhtar Donetsk in 2010, the Brazilian-born Croatia international was sent onto the pitch after 63 minutes to a standing ovation from the home crowd.

Eduardo scored the last goal of the game in what would end in his new side being pounded 5-1 by the Gunners, but refused to celebrate as a mark of respect for his former club. In the return leg, Eduardo scored again, this time the winner in a 2-1 victory, but again courteously declined to celebrate.
SAMUEL ETO'O (Inter) vs Barcelona
Not many people would have envisioned leaving Barcelona the same year you won the treble with them as being a particularly great idea, but Eto'o's choice to hook up with Jose Mourinho's Inter in 2009 proved to be a masterstroke.

Faced with his old team in the semi-finals, Eto'o worked tirelessly throughout both legs, providing much of the cutting edge that the Italians needed to eventually overcome the Spaniards 3-2 over both fixtures. The Nerazzurri's cumulative successes for the season saw the Cameroonian become the first player in history to win two back-to-back European continental trebles.
FILIPPO INZAGHI (AC Milan) vs Juventus
Having been sold to Milan in 2001 following the arrival of David Trezeguet, Super Pippo was faced with his former employers in the Champions League final two years on.

Despite a plethora of chances, the game remained scoreless and went to penalties – and it was Inzaghi who would have the last laugh. The Italian looked on as the very man who displaced him at Juve missed the first penalty and seemingly set the precedent for the Bianconeri to crash to a shoot-out loss.

Interestingly enough, Inzaghi, still the second top goalscorer in the history of European competitions, did not take a penalty for Milan that night.
HENRIK LARSSON (Barcelona) vs Celtic
In 2004, just 111 days after leaving the Scottish club that he had spent seven years at, the Swedish goal machine was now back at Parkhead – donning the colours of Barcelona.

And although Larsson was left on the bench at kick-off for the group stage clash, he would be introduced late in the match with enough time to capitalise on a misplaced pass by former team-mate Alan Thompson and wrap up a 3-1 win for the Blaugrana.

Speaking after the game, the striker amusingly said: “The irony was that when we were together at Celtic I dreamed about Tommo's crosses for me. I still do!”
FERNANDO MORIENTES (Monaco) vs Real Madrid
At the start of the 2003-04 season, it became evident that Morientes was not part of Los Blancos' plans for the term and the striker was loaned to French club Monaco – a decision the Spanish side would live to regret as the two clubs met in the Champions League quarter-finals with Real Madrid hosting first.

The scoreline was a hefty 4-2 in favour of the Spanish giants, but the second away goal – scored by Morientes – would prove pivotal, as the French pulled the aggregate score back to 5-5 by the end of the return leg, meaning the attacker's 83rd-minute strike at the Bernabeu had effectively dumped his parent club out of the competition.
GERARD PIQUE (Barcelona) vs Manchester United
Having just picked up his winner's medal the year before with the Red Devils, Pique's limited playing time with the English side saw him return to boyhood club Barcelona for a nominal fee in 2008.

Little did the Spaniard know that he would go on to become one of the four players to ever win two consecutive Champions League titles with different teams, nor that he would feature in the starting XI that would oust his former side in the final.

And now he's dating Shakira. Lucky.
In 1995, the curly-haired Dutchman had made his way back to the Netherlands to wind down the remainder of his career at Ajax, the team with which he had grown up.

Perhaps not fully expecting to wind up in the final of the Champions League against former side Milan in the last year of his playing days, Rijkaard nonetheless rose to the occasion in the 85th minute of the match to provide the match-winning assist for Patrick Kluivert. Not a bad way to go out.
CRISTIANO RONALDO (Manchester United) vs Sporting Lisbon
The Portuguese side may have hoped their former starlet would have held back upon his first return to Estadio Jose Alvalade after being sold to Manchester United, but there was to be no such luck for the Lions.

A second-half header from the attacker was enough to seal a 1-0 win for the Red Devils in the first leg in Lisbon, while his aptitude for taking free-kicks came in handy during the return leg at Old Trafford, his superb strike bringing a tied scoreline to 2-1 to ensure Sir Alex Ferguson's charges won the group in injury time. Two games, two winning goals.
PAULO SOUSA (Borussia Dortmund) vs Juventus
And it wasn't just Sousa: Andreas Moller and Jurgen Kohler also lined up for Borussia Dortmund against their former club on 28 May 1997 to contest for Europe's most prestigious club trophy.

A triple whammy of sorts, the trio helped BVB overcome the Bianconeri three goals to one, Moller even helping out Karl-Heinz Riedle with an assist to rub salt in the Italians' wounds and steer the German side to their first ever Champions League title.
Instrumental in Barcelona's winning team of the 2005-06 season, Gio van Bronckhorst played in every single European match that came the Catalans' way that term – including the final in which his defending helped keep former side Arsenal from lifting their first Champions League trophy.

Interestingly, three of the Gunners from that day went on to move to Barca: Aliaksandr Hleb, Thierry Henry and Cesc Fabregas. Only one of the trio has yet to win the Champions League with the Catalan side.


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