Battle of the centurions: Shev and Xavi to reach Champions League milestone

09 December 2009 01:31
Two of the finest players of the Champions League era go head to head on Wednesday night to each celebrate their 100th games in the competition.

And with everything to play for, Dynamo Kiev's Andriy Shevchenko and Barcelona's Xavi will be hoping it isn't their last appearance of the season in Europe's top tournament.

The Ukrainian champions need to win to make the last 16, while reigning champions Barca could go out if they lose by three and Inter Milan don't conspire to draw with Rubin Kazan.

Ton up: Shevchenko celebrates scoring for AC Milan against Barcelona in 2004

The odds are against 33-year-old Shevchenko, but the striker can call on a glorious history in the competition from his first spell with Kiev, through seven glorious years with AC Milan and a not-so-successful stint at Chelsea.

Sheva lifted the trophy once with Milan in 2003, while one-club-man Xavi achieved the same feat with Barca just last season.

Sportsmail remembers some of the masters' finest Champions League moments.

Super Sheva1) Nou Camp hat trickShevchenko was already a Ukraine international when he stunned European giants Barcelona with a first-half hat-trick for Dynamo Kiev in a 4-0 win at Barcelona in the group stage back in 1997. The 21-year-old headed goals in the ninth and 32nd minutes, adding a third from the penalty spot moments before the break. The treble was made even more memorable as it was the first scored by a Ukrainian in the competition and the Catalan fans quite rightly cheered Kiev off the pitch.

2) Old Trafford gloryThe 2003 Champions League final may have lacked goals, but it wasn't lacking in incident and was eventually won by Milan on penalties at Old Trafford.

Milan's Dida and Juventus's Gianluigi Buffon had excelled between the posts in the shoot-out, but Shevchenko kept his nerve to drill home Milan's fifth penalty to Buffon's left, winning the trophy for the Rossoneri.

3) Fenerbahce are done fourShevchenko scored four goals against Turkish side Fenerbahce to put AC Milan top of their group in 2005. A first-half strike was followed by three second-half goals including a great strike from outside the box in Istanbul. It marked a memorable day for the hot shot, who could have bagged six.

Shevchenko became only the fifth player in Champions League history to score four in a single match and his first strike marked his 50th in European competition.

Champion Xavi1) Roman emperorAn incredible 2008-09 season for the Catalan club was rounded off with Champions League victory against Manchester United in Rome - orchestrated by Xavi.

His passes from the centre of midfield started most of Barca's attacks, he had a free kick rattle the post and it was his cross that Lionel Messi's head met to seal glory.

2) Europe's best midfielderBarca's treble-winning season last time out coincided with Xavi's breakthrough as one of the world's top talents. Sublime performances in Europe earned him the award of UEFA Champions League best midfielder.

The fact that Xavi, like Andrea Pirlo has shone in an era more suited to physical players is testament to his consummate ability in not just breaking up play but instigating attacks too.

Marvellous servant: Xavi celebrates after scoring for Barcelona against Juventus in 2003

3) He can score, tooAll that time spent in midfield, setting up the likes of Thierry Henry and Messi has given Xavi plenty of opportunity to observe exactly how to score goals.

Here's the Spaniard's delightful drive against Wisla Krakow in the third qualifying round of the Champions League in August 2008.

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 Explore more:People:Thierry Henry, Lionel Messi, Andrea Pirlo, Andriy Shevchenko, XaviPlaces:Barcelona, Istanbul, Rome, Milan, Europe

Source: Daily_Mail