Six weird Champions League final goalscorers: Origi, Smicer, Belletti…

Quick Reads

It doesn’t get much better than scoring in a Champions League final – yet a number of curious names have achieved such a feat.

When we think of Champions League final goalscorers we think of some of the all-time greats of the game: Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, Divock Origi.

We’ve taken a look at six of the strangest names to have bagged on the biggest stage.

Divock Origi

Origi’s Liverpool career has been nothing but weird.

The striker arrived as a hot prospect after a promising 2014 World Cup but was sent immediately back on loan to Lille for an underwhelming season.

Upon his return to Anfield, he took his time to start producing encouraging performances under Jurgen Klopp back at Anfield before a nasty injury suffered in the Merseyside derby ruined all the progress he had made.

An even more underwhelming loan spell followed at Wolfsburg in 2017-18, and the Belgian’s future seemed to be away from Liverpool, who were reportedly in negotiations with Wolves over a permanent transfer and happy to let him join Huddersfield Town on loan.

With Sadio Mane, Roberto Firmino, Mo Salah and even Daniel Sturridge and Xherdan Shaqiri ahead of him in Klopp’s pecking order for the first half 2018-19, it seemed unlikely Origi would be making an impact any time soon when he hadn’t made a single appearance until November.

Yet he can now reflect on a season in which he has scored a late winner in the Merseyside derby, a dramatic brace in the incredible semi-final comeback against Barcelona, and a goal to seal victory in the f*cking Champions League final.

Juliano Belletti

Facing a Barcelona team featuring Samuel Eto’o, Ronaldinho, Ludovic Giuly, Deco, Andres Iniesta and Henrik Larsson, Arsenal probably didn’t expect the substitute right-back to be the man who broke their hearts.

“What I did was something special,” Belletti told UEFA’s official website in 2015. “I couldn’t believe it. I tried to get up and celebrate but, no chance – I knelt down with my hands on my face.”

“I never went into the game and thought about scoring – and today when my children see that goal they don’t believe it! But it was special because it is good to go down in history.”

Vladimir Smicer

Ahead of the 2005 Champions League final against Milan, Smicer had accepted his Liverpool career was over.

Rafa Benitez had already informed the winger his contract at Anfield was not going to be renewed, and the Czech Republic international was not even granted a place on the substitutes’ bench for Liverpool’s final Premier League match of the season, which he hoped was going to be a chance to say a last goodbye to the club and the supporters.

And so Smicer was given a pleasant surprise when he was named on the bench for the final in Istanbul, although he still expected to go unused.

Yet an early injury to Harry Kewell saw Benitez turn to the then-32-year-old, who responded by scoring Liverpool’s second with a brilliant strike from the edge of the box, two minutes after Steven Gerrard had pulled a goal back to make it 3-2, to confirm that a comeback was most definitely on.

Four minutes later, Xabi Alonso made it 3-3, and Smicer also converted Liverpool’s fourth penalty in the shootout to give Jerzy Dudek the chance to make himself the hero by saving Andriy Shevchenko’s decisive spot-kick.

“I felt lonely stepping up,” he told the Liverpool Echo in 2017. “It was even bigger pressure for me because I knew it would be my last kick for Liverpool.”

Carlos Alberto

Porto vs Monaco in 2004 was a weird Champions League final, and so it was only fitting the opener in the Portuguese side’s 3-0 victory was scored by a 19-year-old Carlos Alberto, a man who scored all of three goals across two spells playing in Europe which punctuated a nomadic career in Brazil.

READ: A celebration of Jose Mourinho’s remarkable achievements at Porto

Dmitri Alenichev

Sticking with 2004, by scoring Porto’s third, Alenichev joined an exclusive list alongside only Ronaldo and Ronald Koeman as the three players to score goals in consecutive years in European finals in different competitions.

We reckon that might make him the most difficult answer to the most difficult pub quiz question ever.

Steve McManaman

Steve McManaman scoring a scissor kick in a Champions League final for Real Madrid will always be weird. Great, but weird.

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