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Champions League moments 2017-18: Our writers make their picks

Telegraph Sport
Ronaldo, Salah and Manolas have provided some of the stand out moments of this year's competition

With just hours to go before Liverpool take on Real Madrid in this year's Champions League final, our esteemed team of football writers select their favourite moments of the this season's competition.

Ronaldo's moment of magic: Juventus v Real Madrid, quarter-final

Cristiano Ronaldo's bicycle kick against Juventus was no hopeful spin in the air, but an almost mechanical gyration in which his body stayed remarkably straight.

Usually players throw themselves like acrobats to perform overhead kicks - and curl their bodies - but Ronaldo was organised and linear in his movements. 

Adding lustre to the goal was that Real Madrid might have scored anyway, because Lucas Vasquez was in a heading position just behind Ronaldo's launch pad. But did anyone expect the megastar to leave the cross for a junior team-mate? 

Paul Hayward

Salah announces his arrival: Porto v Liverpool, last 16

Mohamed Salah has created a European highlights reel of his own, but in the cauldron of Porto’s Estadio do Dragao we witnessed a player taking his game to another level in this season's Champions League.

European Cup final 2018 | Real Madrid vs Liverpool

Sadio Mane scored a hat-trick in a 5-0 away win, but it was Salah’s poise after a James Milner shot struck the crossbar, juggling the ball in the six yard box to manoeuvre his way to what seemed – but was far from – the simplest tap-ins, that was the lingering memory of the evening.

His away goal at Manchester City may have been more important, and similarly expertly executed, but this moment signified Salah and his team mates were ready to hit greater heights. 

Chris Bascombe

Salah strikes to sink City: Manchester City v Liverpool, last 16

The Egyptian’s 39th goal of the season summed up the belief, composure and brilliance he has brought to Liverpool this season. They were on the ropes against Manchester City, despite their formidable first-leg advantage, but Salah’s goal killed off the comeback.

The unerring assuredness he showed amid the maelstrom of flying bodies to dink his left-foot shot from a tight angle into the net was remarkable.

Once again he was at the right place at the right time. Then there was the motionless celebration, arms out wide, before he was mobbed. Again it summed up the season he has had as Salah remained the calmest man in the stadium. 

Jason Burt

How Mo Salah became the slowest-burning overnight sensation in English football history

Oxlade-Chamberlain wonder-strike: Liverpool v Manchester City, quarter-final

When the ball landed at Alex Oxlade Chamberlain’s feet 30 yards from goal in the 20th minute of Liverpool’s tie with Manchester City at Anfield, nobody could have imagined what would happen next.

Certainly not the Liverpool fan sitting in front of the press box who was imploring him to pass the ball to Salah, or Firmino, or anyone else. Because surely the Ox would only given possession away. But he didn’t do that. Instead he unleashed a magnificent, ferocious drive that arced away from Ederson in the City goal, sending the fans giddy with delight.

And leaving the man in the stand exhibiting the kind of look of gleeful astonishment he can not have worn since he was nine years old and opened his Christmas present to discover he had, after all, been given exactly what he wanted. 

Jim White

Manolas completes Roma's epic comeback: Roma v Barcelona, quarter-final

While most fans chose to watch Manchester City's futile attempts to overturn a three-goal deficit to Liverpool, one of the great European comebacks was happening elsewhere. 

At the Stadio Olimpico, Roma beat Barcelona 3-0, and the scenes that met Kostas Manolas' 82nd minute tie-turner saw the kind of pure unbridled joy that is saved only for nights like this. Roma's players were as shocked as anyone that they had pulled this result off, and the entire bench rushed onto the field to celebrate, while supporters in the stands went fittingly ballistic. 

Alistair Tweedale

Kostas Manolas' goal turned the tie against Barcelona Credit: AFP

Mourinho's 'heritage' rant: Manchester United v Sevilla, last 16

Manchester United’s 2-1 defeat at home to Sevilla was a stand-out moment for all the wrong reasons.

United’s goalless draw away in the first leg, when Jose Mourinho’s side were flat and ultimately indebted to a stunning save from David De Gea to avert defeat, was not a good result.

But few could have imagined United would deliver such a wretched display in the second leg that eventually gave way to Mourinho’s extraordinary “heritage” rant in which he attempted to blame everyone but himself for the shambles. 

James Ducker

Ronaldo's moment of magic (again): Juventus v Real Madrid, quarter-final

Real Madrid have led a charmed life in their quest for a hat-trick of Champions League titles but have reached the final the hard way via a difficult draw and, with his overhead kick in the quarter-final first leg against Juventus, Cristiano Ronaldo scored a goal that will be remembered for decades. 

Children all over the world would have woken up the next day trying to replicate a skill that would have been the result of years of dedication. 

Jeremy Wilson

How Cristiano Ronaldo scored one of the most spectacular goals in Champions League history

Ronaldo keeps his cool: Real Madrid v Juventus, quarter-final

The overhead kick in the first leg was more spectacular, but everything about this tie-winning penalty was pure, unadulterated Ronaldo.

He was forced to wait to take it due to the Juventus protests (and red card for Gianluigi Buffon), and he then had to endure their attempted provocation, but the ultimate killer was in his natural habitat.

A kiss of the ball. A puff of the cheeks. A darting run up. Full power. Top corner. Game over. Shirt off. Job done. 

Sam Dean

El Shaarawy begins with a bang: Roma vs Chelsea, group stage

The mercurial Roma winger exasperates as often as he delights but his exquisite technique pardons his flamboyant profligacy.

What was so great about his venomous, swerving half-volley from 20 yards after 38 seconds of Roma's home group tie was not only the impudence to lash it with the outside of his foot to flummox Thibaut Courtois but also his determination to beat Marcos Alonso to the lay-off.

Not such a flake after all. 

Rob Bagchi

How Liverpool can beat Real Madrid in Champions League Final

PSG's magnificent seven: PSG v Celtic, group stage

As a fan of a Scottish non-Old Firm team, I watch Celtic's annual group stage wallopings with a mixture of sympathy, schadenfreude and concern about coefficients.

The gulf between the Scottish champions and the actual good teams was as big as ever: beaten 5-0 at home by PSG, 3-0 in Munich and the crowning glory, 7-1 in Paris - having taken the lead in the first minute.

Some Celtic folk, apparently without irony, moaned about wage bill disparities. 

Alan Tyers

Messi's video-game brilliance: Barcelona v Chelsea, last 16

You know what he's about to do - you're watching highlights after all - but Lionel Messi is like a cheat player on a video game, attributes all at 99, running through people, hitting the top corner every time, firing low shots between the legs of Thibaut Courtois at the near post because in the split second he has to decide, that's what Messi opts for.

The second goal in that 3-0 win, with Messi poking the ball past one defender at full speed, then another, then celebrating Ousmane Dembele's thunderbolt as though he'd scored it himself was nice, but his second goal, the third of the game, was ridiculous.

They say when you're in a car crash everything happens in slow motion but I can only imagine what goes through the mind of a defender as Messi stops-starts-ducks-dives and nips past you. Before you even realise what's happened he's placed the shot perfectly between Courtois' legs again, it's 3-0 and Barcelona are through. 

JJ Bull

Credit: Reuters

Chiellini's heroics: Tottenham v Juventus, last 16

As Tottenham went desperately seeking an equaliser against Juventus at Wembley, Harry Kane steadied himself for a simple tap-in. But then out of nowhere, Giorgio Chiellini charged back and slid in to clear the ball away. 

The clearance was good, but the celebration was sensational as Gianluigi Buffon and Chiellini pressed their foreheads together and roared at one another approvingly. Chiellini then fist bumped Andrea Barzagli's hand and clapped his team-mates. We know Italians love defending, but this was something else. 

Charlie Eccleshare