Champions League Debuts (Part 2)

Time for part 2 of our Champions League Debuts thread. There are some real legends in the mix again!

Pepe - Making his debut for the then European Champions Porto in 2004, Pepe started in a 0-0 draw at home against CSKA Moscow. Pepe would go on to win the competition three times with Real Madrid.

Kevin De Bruyne - KDB started for Genk in his Champions League debut away to Bayer Leverkusen with the Belgian side losing 2-0. He then made three appearances for Chelsea during the 13/14 season before returning to the competition again with Manchester City in 2015.

Xavi - Making a massive 151 appearances in the Champions League between 1998 and 2015. His first came as a sub against Manchester United as Barca came from 2 goals down to draw 3-3. Xavi won the Champions League 4 times with the Catalan giants & looks to do so again as manager.

Edwin van Der Sar - Two-time winner Edwin van der Sar made his first appearance in the Champions League back in 1994 for Ajax against AC Milan. The Dutch giants would go on to lift the trophy after beating the Italian side in the final at Ernst-Happel-Stadion in Vienna.

Manuel Neuer - Back in 2007, German goalkeeping legend Manuel Neuer made his bow in the Champions League in a 1-0 group game loss to Spanish side Valencia for Schalke. Neuer has since gone on to win two titles with Bayern Munich.

Karim Benzema - In 2005 Karim Benzema scored on his debut for Lyon in a 2-1 against Rosenborg. This would be the start of things to come as the French striker finished his Champions League career with 90 goals in 149 appearances, winning it a massive 5 times.

Ronaldinho - The eternal entertainer didn’t make his Champions League debut until his second season with Barcelona. It came against Celtic in a 3-1 win for the Catalan giants at Celtic Park. His only title came in 2006 against Arsenal in Paris.

Gianluigi Buffon - Despite making his debut in 1997 for Parma and playing for Juve & PSG, Gigi Buffon never tasted the sweet success of a Champions League. We expect him to come out of retirement in 5 years to give it another shot!

Kylian Mbappe - Still to win the Champions League himself (time is still on his side), Mbappé made his debut in the competition back in 2016 for Monaco in a 1-1 draw against Bayer Leverkusen alongside Thomas Lemar, Fabinho & Joao Moutinho.

Cristiano Ronaldo - CR7 made his debut in the competition for Man Utd in a 2-1 loss to Stuttgart in 2003. It took the competition's all-time leading goalscorer another 3 and half years before he would score his first goal. Imagine how many he’d have finished on had he made some effort during that time?

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