The 2002 final had a lot to live up to considering what had happened the last time the European Cup was decided at Glasgow’s Hampden Park. The sequel to the 1960 showpiece didn’t quite muster ten goals, but it nonetheless produced one of the best final goals ever – and yet another Real Madrid win.
The score was 1-1, with half-time imminent, when Roberto Carlos’s hopeful cross looped to the edge of the Bayer Leverkusen area. Zinédine Zidane adjusted his body and in one fluid movement, pirouetted and caught it full on the volley with his supposedly weaker left foot. Goalkeeper Jörg Butt never stood a chance.
1 Claude Makélélé
A player who redefined the position of deep-lying defensive midfielder to such an extent that in England, where he played for Chelsea, it became ‘the Makélélé role’. The Kinshasa-born French international enjoyed success wherever he went. Capped 71 times, he won league championships in France, Spain and England and is now assistant coach at Swansea City.
2 Steve McManaman
Merseyside-born McManaman spent nine years of his professional career with Liverpool, but it was in the Spanish capital that he had his most illustrious phase, scoring in Madrid’s 2000 UEFA Champions League final triumph. There were also two Liga titles before he ended his career at Manchester City. McManaman has since held ambassadorial roles and done film production, corporate work, youth coaching and television punditry.
3 Raúl González
Raúl was at Atlético before being released aged 15 – their loss was Real Madrid’s gain. He got his first Merengues goal in 1994, against Atlético inevitably, and overtook Alfredo Di Stéfano as the club’s top marksman in 2009. He amassed six Liga crowns and three UEFA Champions Leagues, scoring in the 2000 and 2002 finals, and had spells at Schalke, al-Sadd and New York Cosmos before retiring in 2015. He remains in the US promoting the Liga.
4 Míchel Salgado
The flaxen-haired Salgado was an uncompromising defender famed for his right-sided raids. He started at Celta Vigo but became a household name with Real Madrid, winning four Liga titles and two UEFA Champions Leagues. Capped 53 times by Spain, Salgado had three seasons at Blackburn Rovers before retiring in 2012. He now works as a TV pundit and is director of a youth academy in Dubai.
5 Luís Figo
The leader of Portugal’s golden generation and – alongside Eusébio and Cristiano Ronaldo – one of three Portuguese players to win the Ballon d’Or, Figo was never short of success in a career that took in both Madrid and Barcelona. The winger finished up at Internazionale Milano, lifting the Scudetto in each of his four seasons in Italy, and has occupied various ambassadorial roles at San Siro since stopping playing.
6 Iván Helguera
Helguera was 24 when he landed in Madrid from Espanyol in 1999. The defender-cum-midfielder stayed eight years at the Bernabéu, starting the 2000 and 2002 UEFA Champions League finals and collecting three Liga titles. Helguera helped Valencia to 2008 Copa del Rey glory too, playing his last game that same year, aged 33. He is now taking his coaching badges, running a real estate business and a regular guest on the radio.
7 Flávio Conceição
A crucial part of Deportivo’s rise, peaking with their 1999/2000 Liga triumph. That summer Real Madrid paid €26m for the 26-year-old’s services. The Brazilian’s time at the Bernabéu was beset by injuries, which subsequently continued during stints with Borussia Dortmund, Galatasaray and Panathinaikos. Capped 44 times, Flávio Conceição called it a day aged 32. He returned to Brazil to work as a scout.
8 Iker Casillas
Casillas made his Madrid bow aged 16 and won the UEFA Champions League four days after his 19th birthday – quickly making up for his failure as a youngster to post his father’s pools predictions, missing out on an estimated €1.2m. He captained Spain to their historic UEFA EURO 2008, 2010 World Cup and EURO 2012 treble and accumulated 167 Spain caps and 720 matches for Madrid, winning five Liga crowns. Now 35, he has been at Porto since 2015.
9 Fernando Morientes
A fine all-round striker, especially strong in the air, Morientes spent six years at the Bernabéu, working in tandem with Raúl, before moving on loan to Monaco in 2003/04 – a decision the Merengues rued when he helped knock them out of Europe. Spells with Liverpool, Valencia and Marseille followed before he retired in 2010. He has done some coaching, including at the reins of third-tier Fuenlabrada in 2015/16, but currently works as a Liga ambassador.
10 Zinédine Zidane
Zidane, perhaps the finest player of his generation, will always be remembered for his volley in the 2002 final. The playmaker claimed titles at Juventus and Madrid, and was talisman of the France team that became world and European champions. Zizou retired in 2006 and remained at the Bernabéu, eventually becoming coach last January. He led the side to the UEFA Champions League in his first season.
11 Santiago Solari
A champion of Argentina as a youngster with River Plate, Solari became a champion of Europe with Madrid when appearing in their 2002 final triumph. The versatile winger had joined Madrid from relegated neighbours Atlético in 2000 and enjoyed five seasons at the Bernabéu before tasting further success at Internazionale, bagging three Serie A titles at San Siro. Today he is coach of Madrid’s reserve side.
12 Fernando Hierro
Madrid paid Real Valladolid €2.2m for Hierro’s services in 1989 – 14 years, three UEFA Champions League titles (he was captain for all three) and four Liga championships later it looked a shrewd investment to say the least. Hierro began life as a midfielder, but operated in central defence during the latter years of his career. Briefly Spain’s record scorer, he is currently coach of second-tier Real Oviedo.
Out of shot: Roberto Carlos
He of the vicious left foot, Brazilian wing-back Roberto Carlos made more than 500 outings for the Merengues. He left in 2007 and had stints of varying success in Turkey (Fenerbahçe), Brazil (Corinthians) and Russia (Anji) before turning his hand to coaching in Russia, Turkey and India. He is now in training ahead of a six-a-side ‘World Cup’ to be held in London in June.
Out of shot: César Sánchez
A Real Madrid player from 2000–05, the ex-Real Valladolid youth product was in the Merengues’ line-up for this UEFA Champions League final but was substituted by Casillas after a second-half injury. He later played for Real Zaragoza and Valencia, making his farewell Liga appearance aged 40 with Villarreal. He has since taken his coaching badges.
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