Despite the obvious draw of competitions such as the Premier League, Serie A and La Liga, the Champions League remains the focus of the most ardent football supporters across Europe and the rest of the world.

Whilst fans of every club eagerly anticipate the group stage draw to see who their side will be pitting their wits against, the knockout stages really do separate the wheat from the chaff and represent the real business end of Europe's top club competition.

With the calibre of teams on show, it goes without saying that the competition has had its fair share of classic clashes over the years and so, without further ado, below is a rundown of the most memorable ties that will live long in the memory of every football fan, no matter who they support.

 

2017: Barcelona 6-1 Paris Saint-Germain

With Barcelona inexplicably losing the first leg of this last 16 clash 4-0, it looked extremely unlikely that the Spanish giants would be able to turn things around against a PSG side full of confidence and flair.

After leading 3-0 after 50 minutes, Edinson Cavani did his best to dampen Barca's spirit with a 62nd-minute goal but the Uruguayans' effort was to no avail as Sergi Roberto scored in added time to send the Nou Camp into raptures.

Upon the final whistle, Unai Emery was left with his head in his hands, Rio Ferdinand almost trashed the BT Sports studio with his wild celebrations and Luis Enrique remarked in his post-match interview that "this is a sport for crazy people...I'd like to cry, but tears do not come out." Cracking stuff.

 

2012: Barcelona 2-2 Chelsea

Under Roberto Di Matteo, Chelsea had a newfound steely resolve and proved this in the first leg of the 2012 semi-final with a narrow 1-0 win at Stamford Bridge. However, the Blues found themselves 2-0 down at half-time with goals from the sublime Andres Iniesta and Sergio Busquets.

As if things couldn't get any worse for Chelsea, their chances of progressing through to the final suffered a further blow when skipper John Terry was sent off for kneeing Alexis Sanchez.

In a miraculous turn of events, Ramires brilliantly chipped Victor Valdes before Chelsea misfit Fernando Torres ran the full length of the pitch and coolly slotted the ball home, which consequently led to much-loved pundit Gary Neville making some of the strangest sounds we've ever heard.

 

2005: AC Milan 3-3 Liverpool

Touted by many (not including Manchester United fans) as the most dramatic and memorable Champions League tie in the modern era, Liverpool's 2005 Champions League triumph still feels like some sort of distant, vivid dream.

In the Premier League that year, Liverpool had finished a mind-boggling 37 points behind champions Chelsea and 'boasted' a squad that consisted of Djimi Traore, Steve Finnan and Harry Kewell. When you consider that Mo Salah is the red-hot favourite at 3/4 to win the top flight's Golden Boot award, it's fair to say that things have improved somewhat since then.

After finding his team 3-0 down, Steven Gerrard grabbed the game by the scruff of the neck and, along with Vladimir Smicer and Xabi Alonso, put himself on the scoresheet to force a tense penalty shootout.

With spaghetti legs that Anfield legend Bruce Grobbelaar would have been proud of, Jerzey Dudek went on to provide a penalty-saving masterclass and Liverpool lifted their fifth and most remarkable cup European Cup in their history.

 

2017: Manchester City 5-3 AS Monaco

In a game that saw Manchester City come from behind twice, this eight-goal thriller marked the arrival of Leonardo Jardim's young, energetic side onto the European stage. Sadly, this ultimately meant that other clubs ended up nicking their best players - City themselves got in on the act, acquriing Portuguese talisman Bernardo Silva.

Nevertheless, the game between the two teams will live long in the memory, and goals from Sergio Aguero, John Stones and Leroy Sane completed one of the most memorable last 16 clashes in the history of the Champions League.

Unfortunately for Pep Guardiola's men, City lost 3-1 in the return leg three weeks later and were ultimately sent packing. With the Premier League title all but secured, Pep and co will be aiming to win this year's competition and bookmakers tend to agree that they will - Manchester City are EVS to reach the final in Kiev on the 26th May.

 

2013: Borussia Dortmund 3-2 Malaga

Bearing in mind that Jurgen Klopp's men had blitzed through a group consisting of Real Madrid and Manchester City and breezed past Shakhtar Donetsk in the last 16, Champions League new boys Malaga looked easy pickings on paper.

Fortunately, football isn't played on paper and, after the first leg in Spain ended goallessly, Dortmund were 2-1 down with eight minutes left on the clock, needing two goals to progress into the semi-final.

After Marco Reus equalised in the 91st minute, the world sensed that something big was about to happen and that came in the form of Brazilian centre-back Felipe Santana, who completed the comeback two minutes later whilst being all of two yards offside. After some crazy celebrations, Jurgen Klopp said: "My assistants and me were looking at each other in shock and saying 'this is crazy' [...] this is the best I've ever felt."

 

1999: Juventus 2-3 Manchester United

Whilst every football fan on the planet will remember Manchester United's Champions League final victory over Bayern Munich in their iconic treble-winning season, their semi-final clash with Juventus was arguably the game that won them the competition.

As Manchester United captain, Roy Keane dragged the team through more games than you can shake a stick at but his performance in this match is rightly considered by many to be his best in a United shirt.

After Filippo Inzaghi controversially put the 'Old Lady' 2-0 in front within the first 11 minutes of the game, Keane was instrumental in United's resurgence, playing a vital role in both Andy Cole and Dwight Yorke's goals as well as netting one for himself.

As many footballing aficionados will know, Keane was also booked in the game and missed the final as a result but was in attendance to watch his team beat Bayern Munich in one of the most unforgettable finals in the modern era.

 

More of the Same? There's Only One Way To Find Out...

With this year's Champions League reaching fever pitch, we now know the quarter final line-up. Despite the fact that Tottenham couldn't manage to get past a dogged Juventus side, an English side is still 13/10 to lift the Champions League trophy come May, although Real Madrid, Bayern Munich and Barcelona will have something to say about that.

Whilst it's becoming increasingly difficult to pick a winner, one thing that we can be certain of is that there are plenty of twists left in this year's Champions League tale so sit back, enjoy the ride and, if your team doesn't win, don't fret - we have a World Cup to look forward to after this. Result.

 

*Odds subject to change - correct at time of writing*

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