File: Uefa Champions League legends Ronaldiho, Zidane and Ronaldo.
JOHANNESBURG - The cream always rises to the top.
Europe’s grandest stage for club football, the UEFA Champions League is where the superstars of the game show their mettle and exhibit god-like talent.
Wrapped in elegance and finesse, the distinguished tournament relentlessly demands the best from those lucky enough to go the distance in qualification.
The Champions league could arguably be considered the highest honour in club football around the world, as many young football prospects from all corners of the globe dream of playing under lights, after hearing the heart-tugging Champions League anthem at the San Siro, Santiago Bernabu and alike.
Formally known as the European Cup, the tournament has produced some of the most jaw dropping showings of skill and technique that footballers and fans will tell their grandchildren about for generations to come.
The biggest names in world football have no choice but to constantly prove themselves on such a stage.
From the likes of Dutch legend Johan Cruyff to Zinedine Zidane and of course Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, there is no respite in staying at the top of your game but the rewards are priceless.
On Tuesday night, the evergreen Ronaldo proved to the world yet again, as to why he is arguably the best footballer to ever play the game.
Ronaldo, now 33, was supposed to be winding down as he enters the twilight of what has been a quite superb career.
But slowing down is far from an option for the Portugal skipper as he keeps pushing on in fine fettle.
Real Madrid manager Zidane said after Tuesday nights encounter with Juventus in Turin, "Which was better, that goal or my volley (for Real) in the Champions League final against Bayer Leverkusen (in 2002)? Definitely mine," he joked, before paying tribute to Ronaldo.
"He shows every time that he is a special player. He always wants to do great things in the Champions League and he never gets tired of doing it, that&39;s his great quality."
File: Real Madrid&39;s Cristiano Ronaldo thanks the fans of both Real Madrid and Juventus after scoring a stunning over-head kick against Juventus, in Turin. Credit: REUTERS/Massimo Pinca
Real captain Sergio Ramos said the applause from the Juve fans was "the prize of everyone giving him recognition for so many years at this level."
eNCA.com takes a look at six of the best ever and most memorable Uefa Champions League humdingers.
6 - Paul Scholes against Barcelona - 2008
5 - Ronaldinho against Chelsea - 2005
4 - Samuel Eto against Panathinaikos - 2005
3 - Michael Essien against Barcelona - 2009
2 - Cristiano Ronaldo against Juventus - 2018
Ronaldo second goal with English Commentary ?-- pic.twitter.com/FmgCZEO2tR— Zeeshan (@FifaZeeshan) April 4, 2018
1 - Zinedine Zidane against Bayer Leverkusen - 2002
- Additional Reporting Reuters -