“I believe the Champions League has all that magic because it gathers all the best European teams, and that gives you the feeling of trying to be the best. That’s why the Champions League has this special kind of emotion.” Brazilian footballer Neymar once famously said. That is how being a Champions League winners feels to be.
Really, Champions League is magical. It is the best football that the continent has to offer. Instituted in 1955, the UEFA Champions League (then known as the European Champion Club’s Cup or more commonly the European Cup), the competition started off as a straight knockout tournament open only to Europe’s champion clubs (which is why the name).
The first edition (1955-56) started off as a 16-team affair with Real Madrid being the inaugural winners.
The league underwent a drastic change over the next couple of decades and it was in the year 1992 that the competition got its current name. Along with that, it also got a round-robin group stage and the allowance of multiple entrants from countries.
Among the 62 editions played, there have been 22 Champions League Winners clubs. In terms of performances by countries, Spain has been the big winners with 18 titles, with England following with 12 trophies.
Here is the list of the complete list of Champions League winners:
113 Titles – Real Madrid
Real Madrid have been the most successful teams in the Champions League history. Under the able leadership of Santiago Bernabeu, the Galacticos dominated the opening era of the European Cup, winning the glazing trophy five consecutive times between 1956 and 1960.
Moreover, they proceeded to the finals on seven occasions. Having been victorious in the five editions, the UEFA permanently awarded Real the original cup. Moreover, the club also got the right to wear the UEFA badge of honour. After a barren few decades, Real Madrid again rose to resurrection in the Cristiano Ronaldo era, being the Champions League winners on 4 occasions – 2014, 2016, 2017, 2018.
27 Titles – AC Milan
When it comes to naming some of the world’s best clubs, one can seldom forget A.C. Milan. Although the club has lost its past shine, Milan has a long legacy of glorious cup victories. It’s record of 18 FIFA and UEFA trophies still remains unrivalled. Among others, the club has 7 European Cup/Champions League titles to show for, which is an Italian record on its own. Moreover, they have won the UEFA Super Cup on five occasions (a joint record) apart from winning the Cup Winners’ Cup twice.
35 Titles – Barcelona, Bayern Munich, Liverpool
A total of three teams have managed to win Champions League trophies on five occasions – Barcelona, Bayern, Liverpool. No one will be surprised to see Barcelona amongst this list, having consistently been one of the best sides for the better part of the century. Having won the first title in 1992, the Catalans got majority of the silverware in the 2000s, which arguably is considered as their ‘Golden Years’. In fact, in the breakthrough year of 2009, Barcelona became the first ever Spanish club to win the continental treble of La Liga, the UEFA Champions League, and the Copa del Rey. Moreover, they were also the first Spanish football outfit to win 6 out of the 6 competitions in a single year.
A domestic superpower like Barcelona, Bayern Munich have been the most successful German team in the continental football extravaganza. Their last title came in 2012, at the expense of fellow German side Dortmund.
However, the most hard-earned titles have come on Liverpool’s side. Having lived in the shadows of local rivals Manchester United on the domestic front, the Reds have been the most successful English side in the Champions League with 5 titles. And who can forget the 2005 triumph against AC Milan? Liverpool famously came from a 3-0 deficit at the halftime to level the score by full-time before winning in the penalty shootouts.
LFC were the runners up in the 2018 edition when Real Madrid lifted the silverware. However, they could very well be lucky in the 2019 season, having made it to the finals of the competition again.
44 Titles – Ajax
Ajax took everyone by surprise by defeating the likes of seasoned teams Real Madrid and Juventus to make it to the semi finals of the 2018-19 season of the Champions League. But very few know about the illustrious history of the de Godenzonen. The legendary club won three titles back to back between 1970-1973 in what was a golden period for the Hollish football. Their last triumph came in the 1994-95 season, when Ajax defeated Milan by a slender margin of 1-0.
Other successful Champions League winners are Internazionale Milano (3), Manchester United (3), Juventus (2), Benfica (2), Nottingham Forest (2), Porto (2).
Aston Villa, Celtic, Feyenoord, Steaua București, PSV Eindhoven, Hamburg, Red Star Belgrade, Chelsea, Borussia Dortmund, and Marseille have all won the title once.
|2015-16||Real Madrid||Atlético Madrid||1-1 (5–3)|
|2013-14||Real Madrid||Atlético Madrid||4-1|
|2012-13||Bayern Munich||Borussia Dortmund||2-1|
|2011-12||Chelsea||Bayern Munich||1-1 (4–3)|
|2007-08||Manchester United||Chelsea||1-1 (6–5)|
|2001-02||Real Madrid||Bayer Leverkusen||2-1|
|1998-99||Manchester United||Bayern Munich||2-1|
|1990-91||Red Star Belgrade||Marseille||0-0*|
|1981-82||Aston Villa||Bayern Munich||1-0|
|1978-79||Nottingham Forest||Malmö FF||1-0|
|1974-75||Bayern Munich||Leeds United||2-0|
|1973-74||Bayern Munich||Atlético Madrid||1-1|
|1973-74 Replay||Bayern Munich||Atlético Madrid||4-0|
|1959-60||Real Madrid||Eintracht Frankfurt||7-3|
|1958-59||Real Madrid||Stade de Reims||2-0|
|1955-56||Real Madrid||Stade de Reims||4-3|