Champions League History
The Champions League, or the European Cup as it was better known was inaugurated in the 1955/56 season when eighteen teams participated in a straight knockout competition with Real Madrid coming out on top versus Reims of France. The win was the first of nine victories for the Club from the Spanish capital and they remain the most successful club in the competition's history. The majority of those wins for Real Madrid came in the early years of the competion as they followed up their victory in 1956 with four more straight wins.
European Cup and Champions League Winners
|1956||Real Madrid||4-3||Stade Reims|
|1958||Real Madrid||3-2 aet||AC Milan|
|1959||Real Madrid||2-0||Stade Reims|
|1960||Real Madrid||7-3||Eintracht Frankfurt|
|1968||Manchester United||4-1 aet||Benfica|
|1974||Bayern Munich||4-0 replay||Athletico Madrid|
|1975||Bayern Munich||2-0||Leeds United|
|1979||Nottingham Forest||1-0||Malmo FF|
|1982||Aston Villa||1-0||Bayern Munich|
|1984||Liverpool||1-1 aet (p)||Roma|
|1986||Steau Bucharest||0-0 aet (p)||Barcelona|
|1988||PSV Eindoven||0-0 aet (p)||Benfica|
|1989||AC Milan||4-0||Steau Bucharest|
|1991||Red Star Belgrade||0-0 aet (p)||Marseille|
|1996||Juventus||1-1 aet (p)||Ajax|
|1999||Manchester United||2-1||Bayern Munich|
|2001||Bayern Munich||1-1 aet (p)||Valencia|
|2002||Real Madrid||2-1||Bayer Leverkusen|
|2003||AC Milan||0-0 aet (p)||Juventus|
|2005||Liverpool||3-3 aet (p)||AC Milan|
|2008||Manchester United||1-1 aet (p)||Chelsea|
|2010||Inter Milan||2-0||Bayern Munich|
|2012||Chelsea||1-1 aet (p)||Bayern Munich|
|2013||Bayern Munich||2-1||Borussia Dortmund|
|2014||Real Madrid||4-1||Atletico Madrid|
|2016||Real Madrid||1-1 aet (p)||Atletico Madrid|
A certain pattern became apparent as the competiton developed and continues to do so today. The top players in the world were also playing for the top European clubs. After the domination of the Puskas/Di Stefano inspired Madrid side of the fifties, it was the likes of Eusebio, George Best and Bobby Charlton who were leading their teams to victory in the sixties.
Total football was born in the seventies and Ajax from the Netherlands and Bayern Munich of Germany dominated European and world football in the early part of the decade. At the end of the seventies English clubs became the dominant force in European Club football as Liverpool, Nottingham Forest and Aston Villa ensured that the trophy stayed on English soil for a six year period.
The English clubs expulsion from European club football in the eighties led to a number of unlikely winners of the trophy. Teams from the old communist Eastern Block took the title with Steau Bucharest winning in 1986 and Red Star Belgrade following suit in 1991.
Italian teams have never been far away from the action, three different teams having won the trophy over a forty year period. AC Milan were by far the most successful Italian team in the competion and their team of the early nineties featuring Ruud Gullit and Marco Van Basten won the trophy twice in 1989/90. That team remains the last to win back to back European Cups.
The invention of the Champions League came about in the 1992/93 season and Marseille were the first winners of the new format which included group round robin stages opposed to the straight knockout.
English Clubs are seemingly enjoying a domination of the Champions League currently as at least one team from England has appeared in the final for the past five seasons.