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Inside the history of the UEFA Champions League

Inside the history of the UEFA Champions League. Photo/ Times of India
  • UEFA Champions League is the most prestigious club competition in European football. The union of European Football Associations (UEFA) organizes the competition. 
  • UEFA Champions League was initially a straight knockout tournament during its early days. 
  • Real Madrid is the most successful team in the history of the UEFA Champions League. The Spanish giants have won the title fourteen times. 

UEFA Champions League is undoubtedly the greatest club competition in the world. For this reason, the history of the UEFA Champions League is a subject of interest to football fans. 

Elite clubs in Europe participate in the competition every season with the aim of winning the title. However, it is not an easy task to win the prestigious award.


UEFA Champions League trophy. Photo/ Mediotiempo.

The winner of the UEFA Champions League is decided through a round-robin group stage to qualify for a double-legged knockout format and a single-leg final.

UEFA was initially a straight knockout tournament open only to the champions of Europe’s domestic leagues

When Did The Tournament Begin? 

The tournament began in 1955 as Coupe des Clubs Champions Européens, which is French for European Champion Clubs’ Cup. The tournament was commonly known as European Cup. 

Only the teams that won domestic titles in Europe participated in the competition. Sixteen teams (some by invitation) competed for the title during its debut season – 1955-56. 

The first European Cup match occurred on September 4, 1955, between Sporting CP and Partizan. The first goalscorer in the competition’s history was Sporting’s, Joao Baptista Martins. 

Real Madrid are in the history of the UEFA Champions League as the first team to win the European Cup. The Spanish giants came back from behind to defeat Stade de Reims 4-3 at Parc des Princes. 

Real Madrid defended their title the following season after defeating Fiorentina 2-0 at Santiago Bernabeu. In 1960, Real Madrid set a record by becoming the first and only team to win the European Cup five consecutive times. 

Manchester United was the first English team to win the title during the 1967-68 season. 

When Did European Cup Change To UEFA Champions League?

European Cup took the name UEFA Champions League in 1992 and added a round-robin group stage. More European teams were allowed to be part of the history of the UEFA Champions League when they joined the competition in 1997. 

The competition has expanded over the years, with a total of 79 teams entering as from the 2019-20 season. Qualifications begin every summer with three rounds followed by play-offs at the group stages, where we have 32 teams. 

The two top teams in every group advance to the round of 16, where the knockout phase begins. Eight teams qualify for the quarter-finals after scoring the most goals in both legs of the round of 16. The quarter-finals and semi-finals are played home and away before two teams advance to the finals.

The winner of the prestigious tournament every season becomes part of the history of the UEFA Champions League. Real Madrid won the title last season.

Real Madrid

Real Madrid have won the most UEFA Champions League titles in history. Photo/ Marca.

Who Composed The Champions League Anthem? 

The history of the UEFA Champions League would be incomplete without mentioning who wrote the Champions League anthem. 

Tony Britten wrote the UEFA Champions League anthem, officially titled Champions League. The anthem was an adaptation of George Frideric Handels’ 1727 anthem – Zadok the Priest. 

The chorus of the Champions League contains French, English and German – the official languages UEFA uses. 

What Do The Eight Stars On The UEFA Champions League Logo Mean? 

The eight stars on the competition’s logo have a role in the history of the UEFA Champions League. The stars signify each of the eight founding members of the competition.


UEFA logo has eight stars. Photo/ Times of India.

The eight teams are AC Milan, Club Brugge, CSKA Moscow, IFK Goteborg, Marseille, Porto, PSV Eindhoven & Rangers. 

Who Is The Best Team In Champions League History?

Real Madrid is the team that is often mentioned when discussing the history of the UEFA Champions League. The Spanish team is the most successful club in the competition’s history. 

Real Madrid have appeared in 17 UEFA Champions League finals and won 14. They are the current defending champions of the title after winning it last season. 

Abraham Odhiambo is an avid sports fan who loves to write about football, boxing and wrestling. He's a big supporter of Manchester United. He's pursuing a bachelor's degree in Communication and Media at Egerton University.

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