Champions League History

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.

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European Cup and Champions League Winners

Year Winners Score Runner-up
1956 Real Madrid 4-3 Stade Reims
1957 Real Madrid 2-0 Fiorentina
1958 Real Madrid 3-2 aet AC Milan
1959 Real Madrid 2-0 Stade Reims
1960 Real Madrid 7-3 Eintracht Frankfurt
1961 Benfica 3-2 Barcelona
1962 Benfica 5-3 Real Madrid
1963 AC Milan 2-1 Benfica
1964 Inter 3-1 Real Madrid
1965 Inter 1-0 Benfica
1966 Real Madrid 3-1 Partizan
1967 Celtic 2-1 Inter
1968 Manchester United 4-1 aet Benfica
1969 AC Milan 4-1 Ajax
1970 Feyenoord 2-1 aet Veltic
1971 Ajax 2-0 Panathinaikos
1972 Ajax 2-0 Inter
1973 Ajax 1-0 Juventus
1974 Bayern Munich 4-0 replay Athletico Madrid
1975 Bayern Munich 2-0 Leeds United
1976 Bayern Munich 1-0 Saint-Etienne
1977 Liverpool 3-1 Borussia Monchengladbach
1978 Liverpool 1-0 Club Brugge
1979 Nottingham Forest 1-0 Malmo FF
1980 Nottingham Forest 1-0 Hamburg
1981 Liverpool 1-0 Real Madrid
1982 Aston Villa 1-0 Bayern Munich
1983 Hamburg 1-0 Juventus
1984 Liverpool 1-1 aet (p) Roma
1985 Juventus 1-0 Liverpool
1986 Steau Bucharest 0-0 aet (p) Barcelona
1987 Porto 2-1 Bayern Munich
1988 PSV Eindoven 0-0 aet (p) Benfica
1989 AC Milan 4-0 Steau Bucharest
1990 AC Milan 1-0 Benfica
1991 Red Star Belgrade 0-0 aet (p) Marseille
1992 Barcelona 1-0 aet Sampdoria
1993 Marseille 1-0 AC Milan
1994 AC Milan 4-0 Barcelona
1995 Ajax 1-0 AC Milan
1996 Juventus 1-1 aet (p) Ajax
1997 Borussia Dortmund 3-1 Juventus
1998 Real Madrid 1-0 Juventus
1999 Manchester United 2-1 Bayern Munich
2000 Real Madrid 3-0 Valencia
2001 Bayern Munich 1-1 aet (p) Valencia
2002 Real Madrid 2-1 Bayer Leverkusen
2003 AC Milan 0-0 aet (p) Juventus
2004 Porto 3-0 Monaco
2005 Liverpool 3-3 aet (p) AC Milan
2006 Barcelona 2-1 Arsenal
2007 AC Milan 2-1 Liverpool
2008 Manchester United 1-1 aet (p) Chelsea
2009 Barcelona 2-0 Manchester United
2010 Inter Milan 2-0 Bayern Munich
2011 Barcelona 3-1 Manchester United
2012 Chelsea 1-1 aet (p) Bayern Munich
2013 Bayern Munich 2-1 Borussia Dortmund
2014 Real Madrid 4-1 Atletico Madrid
2015 Barcelona 3-1 Juventus
2016 Real Madrid 1-1 aet (p) Atletico Madrid
2017 Real Madrid 4-1 Juventus
2018 Real Madrid 3-1 Liverpool

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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.

Check out more about the all time Champions League appearances.