Football Features

The football boots behind six iconic Champions League-winning moments

By Tom Dutton

Published: 16:37, 26 May 2021

Chelsea and Manchester City will battle for the biggest prize in European club football when they meet in Saturday’s Champions League final at the Estádio do Dragão in the Portuguese coastal city of Porto.

Both clubs have swept the competition aside and earnt the chance to write another iconic chapter in the European Cup’s storied history as Thomas Tuchel and Pep Guardiola draw up their battle plans for the grandest stage of all. 

As the season finale approaches, Betway have picked through the history books and ranked their top 10 Champions League final moments – and the football boots worn by the stars who helped make them happen. That got us thinking about the boots behind some of the historic match-winning goals from finals gone by.

From Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s Camp Nou winner to Gareth Bale’s stunning bicycle kick in Kiev, we’ve pulled out six Champions League-winning goals and the chosen footwear of those who made history.

Juventus 0-1 Real Madrid, 1998

Close your eyes and imagine a world where Real Madrid go into the Champions League final as overwhelming underdogs. It was 1998 and the European Cup showpiece pitted the Spanish side, who hadn’t won the competition for 32 years, against a Juventus team who had reached this stage for the third straight season. 

Though the Serie A side boasted stars such as Edgar Davids, Zinedine Zidane, Filippo Inzaghi and Alessandro Del Piero, it was the decisiveness of Predrag Mijatovic which settled the tie. Kitted out in a clunky pair of classic black Puma Kings with white tongue to boot, Mijatovic pounced on a deflected Roberto Carlos cross, nudged the ball past a sprawling Angelo Peruzzi and lifted it across goal into the far corner. 

Fitting that a pair of Kings saw to it that Real (Royal) Madrid reigned over Europe once more

Bayern Munich 1 Manchester United 2, 1998

The most dramatic finale in the history of the competition. Mario Basler’s early goal had put Bayern Munich on course for Champions League glory as the board went up for time added on at the end of the second half. One step short of actually engraving Bayern Munich’s name on the silverware, those in charge of the post-match ceremony had already attached Bayern ribbons to the trophy.

Spoiler: it wasn’t over. In the 91st minute, Teddy Sheringham steered a low Ryan Giggs effort into the corner to put the tie on course for extra-time before – against all the odds – Ole Gunnar Solskjaer stretched out his black Nike Mercurial IIs to stab into the roof of the net from close range and wrap it up in the third minute of injury time. 

It was proper I-miss-the-good-old-days footwear: all-black, bulky tongue and plenty of excess lace.

Bayer Leverkusen 1-2 Real Madrid, 2002

This was one of the great Champions League goals as Zinedine Zidane ensured Real would mark their centenary season with a third European Cup in the space of four years. It was heartbreak for Bayer Leverkusen, who finished as Bundesliga runners-up and also lost the German Cup final in 2002, but they can take solace from the fact it required a moment of balletic brilliance to beat them. 

In a sequence perhaps more suited to Swan Lake, Zizou composed himself before swiping at a high ball from the edge of the box to fire an exquisite volley into Hans-Jörg Butt’s top corner. The only thing potentially more iconic were the 2002 Adidas Predator Manias laced to his feet. These red, black and white numbers were the most sought-after boots of their time. Remember the elastic strap to keep the tongue in check? 

Inter Milan 2-0 Bayern Munich, 2010

Diego Milito inspired Inter Milan to victory under Jose Mourinho in the 2010 Champions League final as they became the first Italian side to win the treble. Scorer of the winner in the Coppa Italia final and the goal which clinched the Serie A title, Milito also hit a brace as Inter beat Bayern Munich 2-0 to win their third European Cup. 

After prodding high past goalkeeper Hans-Jörg Butt in the first half to give the Italian side the initiative, he tied Daniel Van Buyten in knots before curling into the far corner to seal victory in the second. Strapped to Milito’s feet were a pair of white, blue and gold Adidas adiPURE IIIs with “UCL FINAL 2010” marked across them and an Argentinian flag to boot. A beautiful bit of footwear. Of course, don’t ask Van Buyten – he only saw a clean pair of heels. 

Borussia Dortmund 1-2 Bayern Munich, 2013

Jurgen Klopp probably won’t enjoy these last two. 

Arjen Robben took matters into his own hands to ensure Bayern Munich did not suffer Champions League final heartache for the third time in four seasons. In this all-Bundesliga affair, the Dutchman left it very late, latching on to Franck Ribéry’s drag back before sending the deftest of touches past the onrushing Roman Weidenfeller. It sparked wild scenes across one half of Wembley as Jupp Heynckes became the fourth manager (after Ernst Happel, Ottmar Hitzfeld and Mourinho) to win the competition with two clubs.

It’s perhaps no surprise that Robben’s Adidas F50 adizero boots were marketed as among the lightest around at the time, giving the twinkle-toed Bayern wideman the best possible chance to skip through the yellow and black shirts of Borussia Dortmund and caress the ball home.

Real Madrid 3-1 Liverpool, 2018

Name a more influential substitute performance in a Champions League final. Teddy Sheringham certainly runs him close, but this Gareth Bale performance took on greater significance given his Real career was declining prior to this match-winning intervention in Kiev.

After Sadio Mane had cancelled out Karim Benzema’s opener, Bale replaced Isco and made an immediate impact. Producing arguably the greatest Champions League final goal of all time, he acrobatically converted Marcelo’s awkward cross into Loris Karius’s top corner from 20 yards out. The laceless Adidas X18+ boots would surely have helped Bale execute a true strike on the ball with his back to goal, with the lightweight technology assisting his thrust into full flight. The Welshman later crowned his man-of-the-match performance with a second goal from 30 yards, though Karius will want no reminding of that strike.