Manchester United’s striker Robin van Persie (L) scores during the UEFA Champions League Group A match between Manchester United and Bayer Leverkusen at Old Trafford
Everyone’s beloved Champions League is under way, with Bayern Munich hoping to defend their title, and being favourites to do so.
However, after a deluge of activity in the transfer window, other clubs are not far behind.
Some of them made strong statements of intent in their first fixtures of the season, where we saw debutant managers, a couple of sending-offs, and plenty of headed and direct free-kick goals. Here are eight of the best:
8. Hulk (Zenit St. Petersburg vs Atletico Madrid)
After proving his credentials at the Confederations Cup over the summer, Hulk continued in fine fashion, scoring his side’s lone goal in a losing cause against Atletico Madrid.
7. Robin van Persie (Manchester United vs Bayer Leverkusen)
Now averaging a goal per game for both club as well as country this season, RVP made it look easy as he negotiated both a difficult angle as well as having to stretch for the ball to extend United’s lead.
6. Yaya Toure (Manchester City vs Viktoria Plzen)
After a slightly quiet season last time around, Yaya Toure marked his presence with a monstrous strike to ensure that City’s campaign got off to a better start this season than the last time around.
5. David Alaba (Bayern Munich vs CSKA Moscow)
With all the midfield superstars burgeoning in the Bayern side, David Alaba is probably a name that doesn’t pop up as a contender for the best goal. However, when he steps up and does what he does here, there is no questioning that he deserves to be here.
Olympiacos FC Vladimir Weiss (C) about to score despite Paris Saint-Germain FC Gregory Van der Wiel (R) during the Champions League match Olympiakos vs Paris Saint-Germain at the Karaiskaki stadium in Athens
4. Lorenzo Insigne (Napoli vs Borussia Dortmund)
An almost perfect free-kick, both in terms of height as well as placement, earned local boy Insigne’s Napoli a win over last season’s runners-up Borussia Dortmund.
3. Lionel Messi (Barcelona vs Ajax)
After losing out to Ribery in the European player of the year race, Messi was back to business as usual, scoring three wonderful goals, none more magnificent than this tricky free-kick.
2. Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid vs Galatasaray)
After signing a new contract at Madrid, and singing praises of the club, Ronaldo followed it up on the pitch with yet another hat-trick; two tap-ins backed up by this wonderful piece of skill.
1. Vladimir Weiss (Olympiakos vs PSG)
Summer signing Weiss’s first goal for the club was Olympiakos’s only consolation in their 1 -4 rout by PSG. A promising sign for the footballing world though, if the winger can repeat such miraculous trickery.