10 Best Goals of the 2013-14 Champions League Season

Dan Sheridan@@dansheridanContributor IMay 26, 2014

10 Best Goals of the 2013-14 Champions League Season

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    Manu Fernandez/Associated Press

    It may have culminated in a thrilling all-Spanish final over the weekend, but the 2013-14 Champions League produced the goods from the very first whistle last summer.

    Some of the world’s best players lit up the tournament with the kind of moments that keep supporters talking for weeks, from Bale and Benzema at Real Madrid to Robben and Ribery at Bayern Munich.

    The quality of goals on show was as good as ever, and from the qualifying stages to the final itself, the tournament produced a stunning assortment of headers, volleys and free-kicks.

    So as the dust settles on an enthralling competition following the final in Lisbon, Bleacher Report looks back at the action and counts down its 10 best goals, starting with…   

10. Cristiano Ronaldo for Real Madrid vs. Galatasaray

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    With Real Madrid up 5-1 at Galatasaray in the closing stages of their Group B opener in Istanbul, they could have been forgiven for taking their foot off the gas.

    But with two goals in the bag already, Cristiano Ronaldo had other ideas and was not to be denied his second-half hat-trick as the clock ticked down.

    The move started as Karim Benzema surged forward, running deep into the home side’s half before releasing the Portuguese star some 25 yards from goal.

    Ronaldo then showed some dazzling footwork to evade two challenges inside the penalty area before smashing the ball into the opposite corner past Fernando Muslera.

9. Yaya Toure for Manchester City vs. Viktoria Plzen

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    Manchester City ace Yaya Toure made a habit of scoring spectacular goals during the 2013-14 campaign, and this one was arguably the best of them.

    With his side up 1-0 at Viktoria Plzen, the Ivorian put the result beyond any doubt in their Group D opener, making the game safe in spectacular fashion.

    In the 53rd minute, Toure picked up the ball outside the penalty area before bending an exquisite right-footed effort into the top corner of the net from over 25 yards out.

8. Lorenzo Insigne for Napoli vs. Borussia Dortmund

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    Another stunner from Matchday 1 came from Napoli’s Lorenzo Insigne, whose lethal free-kick put his side in the driving seat against Borussia Dortmund in Naples.

    Gonzalo Higuain had given the Italians the lead in the first half before Dortmund keeper Roman Weidenfeller was sent off just before the break.

    And there was nothing his replacement Mitchell Langerak could do to stop Insigne’s blockbuster effort, which clipped the underside of the crossbar before hitting the back of the net.

7. Luka Modric for Real Madrid vs. Kobenhavn

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    The headlines may have belonged to Cristiano Ronaldo in Copenhagen following his record-breaking ninth goal of the group stage, but Luka Modric’s wondrous opener was a thing of beauty.

    The home side looked to be in very little danger when the skillful Croatian collected a pass on the edge of the penalty area.

    But in one sublime move, Modric sold a dummy by going to shoot with his left foot, before checking back on to his right and curling an inch-perfect shot past Johan Wiland into the top corner.

6. Julian Draxler for Schalke vs. Basel

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    On their way to finishing runners-up to Chelsea in Group E, Schalke registered three victories, and one of them came courtesy of one of the goals of the season.

    Basel had asked some serious questions of the Germans at St. Jakob Park, but as the tie rumbled towards the hour-mark, the match remained goalless.

    But the contest was blown wide-open by a moment of genius from Julian Draxler, who latched onto a cleared corner before setting himself and arrowing a technically perfect half-volley into the net.

5. Raul Garcia for Atletico Madrid vs. Porto

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    Eventual finalists Atletico Madrid were nothing short of ruthless in the group stage of the 2013-14 Champions League, and were in no mood to let their unbeaten record slip against Porto.

    A 2-0 victory ensured Diego Simeone’s men topped the group 10 points clear of second spot, and the tie was lit up by a brilliant piece of opportune finishing from Raul Garcia.

    The 27-year-old midfielder brought the ball down towards the right side of the penalty area before adjusting to launch an amazing drive that went in off the crossbar from the tightest of angles.

4. Vladimir Weiss for Olympiakos vs. Paris Saint-Germain

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    In a game that included an all-star Paris Saint-Germain cast including Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Edinson Cavani, it was Slovakian international Vladimir Weiss who stole the show.

    Cavani had handed the men from the French capital the lead after 19 minutes, and things looked comfortable for the Laurent Blanc’s multi-million Euro outfit.

    But Weiss had his own agenda, and levelled things up soon after with a magnificent solo effort that saw him beat four men, including a nutmeg on Marquinos, before firing past Salvatore Sirigu.

3. Diego for Atletico Madrid vs. Barcelona

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    In a tense, all-Spanish quarterfinal, the deadlock was yet to be broken with over 50 minutes on the clock, and the first-leg at the Camp Nou was delicately poised.

    That suspense, however, was shattered by an audacious effort from distance that stunned the Catalan crowd.

    A free-kick by Diego Godin found its way to his namesake, and from almost 30-yards, the Brazilian-born midfielder unleashed a dipping, swerving drive from an angle that flew in at the near post.

2. Klaas Jan Huntelaar for Schalke vs. Real Madrid

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    The records will show that Klaas Jan Huntelaar’s goal against Real Madrid meant nothing—a mere footnote in an otherwise dominant display by the Spanish giants. 

    The first-leg of the Round of 16 clash had been a whitewash, with braces’ from the BBC—Karim Benzema, Gareth Bale and Cristiano Ronaldo—putting the eventual tournament winners 6-0 up.

    Schalke’s injury-time consolation, however, was a strike to remember. A deep cross found Huntelaar as he raced into the defense on the edge of the area, and from there, the Dutchman unleashed the kind of volley most players can only dream of.

1. Zlatan Ibrahimovic for Paris Saint-Germain vs. Anderlecht

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    For sheer power and precision, there isn’t a goal this season that can compete with Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s pile-driver for Paris Saint-Germain away to Anderlecht.

    The Swede had already stamped his authority on the tie with two strikes in the opening 22 minutes, but the effort that secured his hat-trick left the Constant Vanden Stock Stadium speechless.

    Latching on to a clearance from Cheikhou Kouyate, the 32-year-old produced an instinctive, venomous strike that flew into the back of the net and prompted applause from all four corners of the ground.

    He went on to score four in total on that October evening in Brussels, but his third will live long in the memory for all the right reasons.