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The boots behind 10 iconic Champions League final moments

20 May | BY Guy Giles | MIN READ TIME |
The boots behind 10 iconic Champions League final moments

From Adidas Predators to Puma Kings, these are the boots worn during some of the greatest Champions League final moments.

The Champions League final is the biggest game in club football.

Every year, millions of people from around the world tune in to watch Europe’s greatest players compete for the historic trophy.

It’s not just the players who are on show, though – boot manufacturers often use the match as an opportunity to show off their latest creations.

As a result, iconic moments in the Champions League final are often accompanied by iconic boots. 

Ahead of the 2021 showpiece – which Manchester City are {ODDS:728460726:19/20} favourites to win in the football betting – we’ve taken a look back at some of those moments and the boots behind them. 

Real end drought

The moment: Mijatovic secures first European Cup in 32 years for Real Madrid. 

Predrag Mijatovic had enjoyed an impressive career up to 1998.

The poacher was runner-up in the previous year’s Ballon d’Or and had won La Liga with Real Madrid in the 1996/97 season.

But neither of those achievements had anything on him helping Los Blancos win their first European Cup in 32 years as he scored the only goal of the game against Juventus in 1998.

Mijatovic’s career peaked with three touches as he took control of a deflected Roberto Carlos shot – the first took the ball out of the path of oncoming goalkeeper Angelo Peruzzi, the second a nudge with the outside of his foot and the third a goalbound dink so delicious it was worthy of its own Michelin star.

That the Montenegrin was able to execute such perfect close control wearing a classic-but-clunky pair of black and white Puma Kings is even more impressive.

The obtrusive white tongue is something you wouldn’t see on the boots of any player in a Champions League final nowadays.

But should you want to roll the years back yourself, Puma Kings are still being manufactured with their impractically sized appendages.

Solskjaer has won it!

The moment: Man Utd strike twice in injury time to sink Bayern and seal treble.

In terms of pure drama, this is right up there with the most iconic moments in football history.

After an early strike from Mario Basler, Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich were on course for their first European Cup in nearly 25 years, and a potential treble.

Both sides missed chances in the second half and, as the match headed into three minutes of injury time, Bayern fans began the celebrations.

The party didn’t last long, though. Thirty seconds later, United equalised through Teddy Sheringham. And then, with 92:17 on the clock, Solskjaer won it.

Lost amid the knee slides, cartwheeling goalkeepers and pandemonium in the Nou Camp stands were his boots – a pair of all-black Nike Mercurial IIs.

Now one of the most iconic boots in the world, the Mercurial line had started only a year earlier with the classic silver and blue colourway worn by Ronaldo at the 1998 World Cup.

The updated second editions worn by Solskjaer have been almost forgotten among the dozens of Mercurials released over the last 20 years. Very few, though, have been worn during such an iconic moment.

Zizou magic

The moment: Zinedine Zidane scores one of the greatest ever Champions League goals.  

If football can in any way be considered an art form without falling into cliché, then this goal should have been installed in the Louvre a long time ago.

Simply, everything about it was beautiful.

The setting: A Champions League final with the score at 1-1 between Real Madrid and Leverkusen on the cusp of half-time.

The strike: A stunning piece of ingenuity.

Watch this goal with the backing of opera music and Zinedine Zidane’s balletic brilliance makes it a form of high-brow entertainment.

The power with which he swiped at the ball, having watched it down onto his foot after hanging in the air for an age, gave Leverkusen goalkeeper Hans-Jorg Butt no chance.

The player: Zidane was the player you would call dibs on during a kickabout as a kid with your mates down the park.

A few years on and he’s probably still the player plenty try and emulate at the local Powerleague, even if they aren’t as vocal about it.

The boots: A classic goal, scored by a classic player wouldn’t be complete without a classic pair of boots, and they don’t come much more so than black, white and red Adidas Predators. Truly a marriage for the ages.

The miracle of Istanbul

The moment: Vladimir Smicer helps Liverpool make greatest comeback. 

It is impossible to reduce the miracle of Istanbul to a single moment. Liverpool’s famous comeback was, instead, a succession of iconic moments.

Among them was a rocket from Vladimir Smicer that brought them within a goal of Milan, who had raced to a 3-0 lead in the first half. 

Receiving the ball about 25 yards from goal, the Czech Republic international – playing his final game for the club – took one touch before firing a powerful low drive into the far corner.

Four minutes later Liverpool were level through Xabi Alonso, and the rest is history.

Just as Smicer was one of the unsung heroes of that Liverpool team, his boots were similarly unheralded – on his feet were Mizuno Morelia Waves, in a limited-edition white colourway.

The Japanese brand are one of the smaller operators in the boot game, but their quality-first approach has seen them gain a cult following.

Rivaldo, Roberto Carlos, Patrick Kluivert and Fernando Torres have all donned Mizunos at some point in their careers, but Smicer can claim the biggest moment while wearing them.

Terry’s tears

The moment: Penalty slip from Chelsea captain hands title to Premier League rivals. 

Chelsea fans, it’s probably best you skip to the next one.

As harsh as it feels to home in on a negative Champions League final moment, the image of a crestfallen John Terry with his head slunk between his own knees is an abiding one. There could not be a list of iconic moments without this.

In April 2020, 12 years on, Terry admitted that what happened in Moscow still gives him sleepless nights, despite going on to lift the trophy four years later.

In a downpour at the Luzhniki Stadium, Chelsea were a single penalty away from winning the shoot-out against Manchester United after drawing 1-1, and up stepped their captain.

But as Terry went to take the penalty, his boots lost their grip in the slippery surface and his standing leg gave way. The ball crashed against the post and he crumpled to the floor. The Blues went on to lose 6-5 in the shoot-out.

Terry’s lowest moment came while wearing a black and white pair of Umbro SX Valor boots, which admittedly looked pretty slick. Could have done with a longer set of studs, though.

Messi climbs high

The moment: Rare Lionel Messi header earns Barcelona their third Champions League title. 

This moment was notable for two things – the nature of the goal, and the celebration.

Firstly, the goal itself. Lionel Messi is a goal machine, but among the 650-plus he’s scored for Barcelona, just 24 have been headers.

This one in particular – a towering leap at the back post, the ball looping over Edwin van der Sar – was only the third headed effort of his Barcelona career.

Then we move onto the celebration. In the act of heading home the goal that sealed Barca’s third European Cup, Messi’s right boot fell off. As he got up from the floor, Messi grabbed it, raised it towards the crowd, and kissed it twice.

The boot in question was the Adidas F50i in Cyan/Running White/Black, released just ahead of the final, with Messi starring in a big-money marketing campaign.

Adidas couldn’t have created a more perfect ad than this, though – their flagship player holding aloft their newest boot on the biggest stage in club football. Gold.

Diego at the double

The moment: Diego Milito brace seals first European Cup for Inter since 1965.

Vision, timing and flawless technique – this was a performance that had it all from the man they call El Principe.

The Argentine striker almost single-handedly won Inter their first European Cup in 45 years – and an unprecedented treble – with a brace in a man-of-the-match performance at the Bernabeu.

His opener against Bayern Munich was a delightful dink over the head of Manuel Neuer, but it was his second that really took the cake.

After picking up the ball in the opposing half, Milito drove towards the box, turning defender Daniel Van Buyten inside and out before a precision finish into the far corner to seal the victory.

The boots Milito had on that day were the Adidas adiPURE III, a model that has also been worn by Frank Lampard, David Silva and Xabi Alonso.

The colourway, meanwhile, was Running White/Blue/Gold, which feels quite apt given the torment his direct style gave to Bayern Munich’s backline that day.

Robben sinks Dortmund

The moment: Last-minute winner gives Bayern title in all-German affair.

After losing the 2010 and 2012 Champions League finals, Arjen Robben wasn’t about to let Bayern drop a third in four years – especially against their fiercest domestic rivals.

With the game poised at 1-1 heading towards 90 minutes, the Dutchman flew into action.

Latching onto a backheel from Franck Ribery on the edge of the box, Robben skipped past three Dortmund defenders with a single touch before slotting home.

On his feet were the Adidas F50 adizero in Dark Blue/Running White/Vivid Pink.

The F50 line has since been scrapped by Adidas, but they were marketed as some of the lightest boots around, a trait which fits nicely into Robben’s game.

They certainly worked well together here as the speedy winger danced through the Dortmund defence to seal Bayern’s fifth European Cup.

La Decima

The moment: Cristiano Ronaldo penalty seals record tenth title for Real.

If anyone ever asks for the definition of the word clutch in a sporting context, show them this game from the 90th minute onwards.

With Atletico Madrid leading the 2014 Champions League final 1-0 in the third minute of stoppage time, their city rivals staged a comeback befitting of 10-time European champions.

First, Sergio Ramos drew them level to force extra time, and then Real Madrid exerted the dominance we have come to expect from them in recent years in Europe.

The 4-1 rout was finished off with a stoppage-time penalty from Mr. Champions League himself, Cristiano Ronaldo, in a pair of boots that have become almost as recognisable as his trademark celebration.

The familiar Metallic Mach Purple/Black/Total Orange colourway of Ronaldo’s Nike Mercurial Vapor IXs was a throwback to that of the Nike Mercurial Vapor Superfly, which was everywhere the 2010 World Cup.

Bale’s bicycle

The moment: Stunning strike seals three-in-a-row for Real.

As far as goals go, there are perhaps none better than this in Champions League history.

Having been left out of the starting XI by Zinedine Zidane, Gareth Bale was introduced after 61 minutes against Liverpool with the game level at 1-1, charged with creating the goal to secure a third successive title for Real.

Just two minutes later, he did so in spectacular fashion.

The cross from Marcelo was off target but, with his back to goal, Bale leapt to meet the ball with his trusty left foot. As the world inhaled sharply, the ball looped over Loris Karius and into the net.

On Bale’s feet that day were the Adidas X18+, released just before the final as the brand’s flagship boot for the upcoming 2018 World Cup.

Marketed as Adidas’ leading lightweight boot, with the laceless design optimised for speed, they were the perfect shoe for a player like Bale.

It’s no wonder, then, that he pulled off his greatest goal while wearing them. 

Guy Giles

Guy Giles

Sports writer who produces regular football and cricket tips, while also covering a range of other sports.

Guy Giles

Guy Giles

Sports writer who produces regular football and cricket tips, while also covering a range of other sports.