Speaking of one of the most prestigious football tournaments in the world, the champions league started in 1955 and has since then placed itself at the zenith of club football competitions across the globe. Over five decades old, the allure, charm, fascinating and glamour of the competition is rivalled by no other football tournament in the world, save world cup. Little wonder winning the champions league is considered as a standard for measuring the achievement of any European club.
European Champion Club’s Cup [European Cup]
The European Champion Club’s Cup (European Cup) as it was first named was an initiative of Gabriel Hanot. History has it that there was an attempt by Swiss club; Servette, to create a cup for national champion clubs in Europe. The competition brought ten(10) champions together from across the continent and was won by Ujpest of Hungary.
Upon receiving reports from his journalist on how successful the tournament was, Gabriel Hanot began proposing the creation of a continent-wide tournament. Hanot was able to convince the Union of European Football(UEFA) to give the tournament a trial.
In 1955, the European Champion Club’s Cup was conceived in Paris. Initially, it was a straight knockout tournament which was only opened for the national champion club of each national championship. However, in 1992, more teams were allowed to participate in the competition. Slots were made available for one or more runners up of each national league. The initial appellation of the competition was also changed to its current nomenclature which is the UEFA champions league (UCL).
Most Succesful Team in Champions League
For the record, Real Madrid remains the most successful team in the champions league history with the La Liga giants winning the competition thirteen (13) times and runners-up three times (3) since its inception in 1955. Ac Milan has also been a force to reckon with in the competition as they have won it seven(7) times, coming runners-up four times(4). Others include; Liverpool (5), Bayern Munich(5), Barcelona(4), Manchester United (3).
Impressively, Spanish teams have been the most successful in the competition for the past five years. No team from any other nation has won the championship with Real Madrid and Barcelona sharing the spoils; Real Madrid has won it consecutively three times, creating a remarkable feat in the process.
The 2013-2014 final was the first time in the tournament’s history to feature teams from the same city as Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid battled it out with Real Madrid coming out triumphant.
The 2014-2015 final featured Barcelona and Juventus with Juventus looking to end a 21 years drought without the cup. Barcelona, however, was dominant throughout the game and came out victorious as they won by three goals to one margin (3-1).
After a resurgence in the 2015-2016 season with the appointment of club legend; Zinedine Zidane by Real Madrid, the Los Blancos witnessed a repeat of 2013-2014 final as they had to face wounded lions (Atletico Madrid). After a tough 90 minutes draw which ended 1-1, the match was settled by a penalty shoot-out which saw Real Madrid defeat their opponents.
Juventus were tipped favorites for 2016-2017 final after they had defeated the likes of Barcelona to get to the final. Cristiano Ronaldo’s side, however, was no match for the Italian giants as they fired from all cylinders and cruised to a 4-1 victory in Cardiff retaining the title in the process.
Mohammed Salah’s record-breaking season
Following Mohammed Salah’s record-breaking season which saw him win the Premier League highest goal scorer award. Liverpool was a force to reckon with in the UCL as they not only produced dominant displays but were genuine contenders in the 2018-2019 edition of the champions league competition.
Unfortunately, Mohammed Salah’s arm injury which was inflicted on him by Sergio Ramos ensured that he wasn’t fit to play for the remainder of the match and neutralized all threat Liverpool posed to the Real Madrid backline. In the end, Real Madrid won by a 3-1 margin in Kiev making them the first team to win the competition three(3) consecutive times since 1992.
However, the winner of this years edition of the UCL will remain a mystery until the very last day as genuine contenders including the likes of; Liverpool, Manchester United, Manchester City, Barcelona, and Juventus are all looking forward to landing the prestigious UCL trophy in their cabinet.