UEFA Champions League

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

Jump to: navigation, search
The Champions League logo
The Champions League logo
The Champions League trophy
The Champions League trophy

The UEFA Champions League is an annual international inter-club football competition for Europe's most successful clubs. It is one of the most prestigious club trophies in the sport along with South America's Copa Libertadores. The current holders are Liverpool F.C. The UEFA Champions League is not to be confused with the UEFA Cup, the second most important championship for European club teams.

The UEFA Champions League 2005-06 is currently playing.



Originally known as the European Champion Clubs' Cup, or simply abbreviated as the European Cup, the competition began in 1955/56 using a two-leg knockout format where the teams would play two matches, one at home and one away, and the team with the highest overall score qualifying for the next round of the competition. Entry was restricted to the teams that won their national league championships, plus the current cup holder. The competition is organised and run annually in a similar manner to the Copa Libertadores in South America.

The format and name were changed in 1992/93, and while the system has changed and evolved radically over the years, the competition currently consists of three qualifying rounds, one stage of group competition (where teams play each other in the style of "home-and-away" or "regular season" competition), and then four rounds of knock-out finals. All qualifying round and knock-out ties are two-legged except for the final, which is a single match played at a predetermined site.

The draw is currently structured to ensure that clubs representing the same national association cannot play each other until the quarter-finals. An exception has been made for the 2005-06 competition due to the special entry of 2005 winners Liverpool.

Real Madrid CF has won this competition nine times. The next most successful teams are A.C. Milan (6 titles), Liverpool FC (5 titles), Bayern Munich and AFC Ajax (4 titles).

The winning club gets possession of the trophy at the awards ceremony, but must return it to UEFA headquarters two months before the following year's final. UEFA gives the winners a scaled-down replica of the trophy to keep permanently. However, the current competition rules also specify that the actual trophy will be permanently awarded to a team that wins three consecutive years or five times in all.

Five clubs have been awarded the trophy permanently:

  • Real Madrid, who won the first five competitions from 1956 to 1960,
  • Ajax, who won consecutively in 1971–73,
  • Bayern Munich, winner of the next three competitions in 1974–76,
  • Milan, who won for the fifth time in 1994,
  • Liverpool, whose 2005 win was their fifth overall.

As Liverpool got to keep their 2005 trophy, a new trophy will be forged for the 2005–06 competition.


Qualification for the competition is decided by competitor teams placing in their domestic league championship, on a quota system, with countries with stronger domestic league competition allocated more teams. Clubs that play in stronger domestic leagues also enter at later stages of the competition.

For example, the three strongest domestic leagues, as rated by UEFA, place their champions and runners-up directly into the group phase, and their third-and fourth-place teams enter at the third qualifying round.

There is one exception to this rule: the current Champions League titleholder is an automatic qualifier for the group stage, regardless of where it finished in its domestic league.

However, until 2005 if the Champions League winner was from a country that was entitled to send four clubs to the competition, it was not assured of entry unless it was in the top four. This issue came to a head after English club Liverpool won the 2004-05 competition. Liverpool finished fifth in the FA Premier League, one spot outside automatic qualifying position.

After Liverpool won the Champions League, The FA was forced to choose whether to send Liverpool to the 2005-06 competition at the expense of the team that finished fourth - namely Everton, the other major club in Liverpool. As the FA had already decided that the top four Premiership clubs would qualify for the competition despite Liverpool's victory, they decided to continue lobbying for a fifth Champions League place following this win. After this FA decision, UEFA president Lennart Johansson went on record as saying that the Champions League winner should be able to defend its title regardless of its league position. Prior to 2005, if a fourth placed team was denied a Champions League place for this reason, it was granted a place in the UEFA Cup.

The last time such a scenario played out was in 2000, when Real Madrid won the title but finished fifth in the Spanish League. As a result, Real Zaragoza was forced into the UEFA Cup. Two years later, Zaragoza was relegated, an unfortunate turn of events that some fans believed to be a direct result of the lost prestige and revenue.

In June 2005, the UEFA committee met to discuss the fate of Liverpool. Liverpool was awarded a place in the first qualifying round without displacing their arch-rivals Everton - England thus entered 5 teams from the qualifying stages of the competition. Liverpool kept one of the top eight seeds but were not treated as an English side for the purposes of the draw, meaning they could play another English side prior to the quarter-finals. Due to the way in which the seeding works, this means Liverpool could have played city rivals Everton in the third qualifying round.

After qualifying, the Reds were ultimately drawn to play Premiership champions Chelsea in the group phase, and could play Manchester United or Arsenal from the round of 16 should the sides advance to that stage of the competition. Everton failed to qualify and will participate in the UEFA Cup.

UEFA also said that the rules have been amended and should the situation arise again, the title holders will replace the 4th placed team in the domestic league (with that team being entered into the UEFA Cup, as happened to Zaragoza in 2000). This ensures that in future, the number of teams from every country will remain stable.


Main article: European Cup and Champions League History

European Cup and Champions League finals

Main article: European Cup and Champions League finals

European Cup and Champions League statistics

Main article: European Cup and Champions League statistics


  • The Champions Cup's first hat-trick was scored by Péter Palotás of Budapesti Vörös Lobogó SE against R.S.C. Anderlecht on September 7, 1955, in the second match ever played in the competition. [1]
  • Francisco Gento is the only player to be on 6 Champions Cup-winning sides.
  • Bob Paisley is the only man to coach 3 Champions Cup-winning sides with Liverpool F.C. in 1977, 1978 and 1981.
  • Clarence Seedorf is the only player to win the Champions Cup with 3 different teams:
    • Ajax Amsterdam 1995
    • Real Madrid 1998
    • A.C. Milan 2003
  • The city of Milan, Italy, is the only one that won the Champions Cup with two different teams: Inter & Milan (the two clubs have won 8 cups in total).
  • Many clubs won the Cup unbeaten: Internazionale (1964), Ajax Amsterdam (1972) and Liverpool (1984) are those with the best record, 7 wins and 2 draws. Ajax, Liverpool and A.C. Milan are the only teams to have won the trophy unbeaten twice.
  • Real Madrid have the record number of consecutive participations in the Champions' Cup with 15, from 1955/56 to 1969/70.
  • Only on two occasions has the Final of the Champions Cup/League involved two teams from the same country: Real Madrid v Valencia (1999/00) and A.C. Milan v Juventus (2002/03).
  • In the long history of the cup, only four derbies between teams of the same city have been played:
    • 1958/59 Real Madrid vs Atlético de Madrid (semifinal)
    • 2002/03 Internazionale (Milan) vs A.C. Milan (semifinal)
    • 2003/04 Chelsea vs Arsenal (quarterfinal)
    • 2004/05 Internazionale vs A.C. Milan (quarterfinal) - 2nd leg was abandoned because of disturbances among the Inter fans.
  • Only four teams have completed the "treble" — win their domestic league championship, their primary domestic cup, and the Champions League/European Cup. These were (in order) Celtic, Ajax Amsterdam, PSV Eindhoven and Manchester United. Celtic managed this in 1966/67, also winning the Scottish League Cup and Glasgow Cup that year. In 1972 Ajax won the European Cup, their domestic league and cup. The following season they also won the European Super Cup and the European/South American Cup. PSV did this in 1987/88. Manchester United won their treble during the 1998/99 season.
  • Ajax Amsterdam was unbeaten in the Champions Cup/League for 20 matches from 1985/86 to March 1996, when they lost 0-1 to Panathinaikos in Amsterdam.
  • The 2002/03 semifinal between bitter city rivals A.C. Milan and Internazionale was the first time both games of a two-legged tie were in the same stadium (San Siro). This matchup was repeated in the 2004/05 quarterfinals.
  • Only two individuals have won the Champions League with the same club as a player then later as a coach. Miguel Muñoz of Real Madrid did it as a player in 1955/56 and 1956/57, before winning it as a coach in 1965/66. Carlo Ancelotti did it as an A.C. Milan player in 1988/89 and 1989/90 before coaching them to victory in 2002/03.
  • Cesare Maldini and his son Paolo are the only father and son duo to skipper the same club to victory in the competition. Cesare led A.C. Milan to victory in 1962/63, and Paolo captained them to victory in 2002/03.
  • The anthem of the Champions League, which is played during prematch ceremonies before each match and introduces television coverage of the competition, is by Tony Britten, based on George Frideric Handel's coronation anthem "Zadok the Priest", and is performed by the Chorus of the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra.
  • Ottmar Hitzfeld and Ernst Happel are the only coaches in the history of the European Cup/UEFA Champions League to win the title with two different clubs. Hitzfeld did so with Borussia Dortmund in 1997 and Bayern Munich in 2001; Happel led Feijenoord (now Feyenoord) in 1970 and Hamburg in 1983.
  • Olympique de Marseille were the first winners of the new format UEFA Champions League in 1993.
  • Manchester United's treble-winners of 1998/99 were the first winners of the tournament to have won neither their domestic title nor the European Cup/Champions League the previous season. In 1997/98, United finished runners-up in the Premiership to Arsenal and lost in the quarterfinals of the Champions League to Monaco.
  • Nottingham Forest are the only club to have won the European Cup more times (twice) than they have won their domestic league (once). Forest won the English League in 1978 before winning the European Cup in 1979 and defending it in 1980.
  • Nottingham Forest also have the unfortunate distinction of being the only winners of the European Cup to have later been relegated out of the top two divisions in their country (they remain in the English football league system's third tier (Football League One) today).
  • Paolo Maldini of Milan scored the fastest ever goal in Champions League in 2005 final against Liverpool inside 53 seconds. He was also the oldest (37 year old) to score in Champions League final.
  • All 11 goals, including the penalty shoot-out, were scored in the same goal in 2005's final between AC Milan and Liverpool.
  • With Liverpool's win in the 2005 final, the number of teams permitted to wear UEFA's special badge of honour is now five. The badge is awarded in perpetuity to teams that have either won the competition a total of five times, or have won it three years in succession.
    • Five or more wins: Real Madrid, AC Milan, Liverpool
    • Three wins in succession: Real Madrid, Ajax Amsterdam, Bayern Munich
  • Five men have scored a hat-trick on their debut in the Champions League
  • Four men have also scored 4 goals in one Champions League match
  • Raúl becomes the first player in the history of the competiton to reach 50 goals, he did this by scoring in Real Madrid 2:1 victory over Olympiakos in the UEFA Champions League 2005-06 season.

See also

External links

UEFA Champions League 2005/06
Ajax | Anderlecht | Arsenal | Artmedia Bratislava | Barcelona | Bayern Munich | Benfica | Chelsea | Club Brugge | Fenerbahce | Inter Milan | Juventus | Lille | Liverpool | Manchester United | Lyon | AC Milan | Olympiakos | Panathinaikos | Porto | PSV | Rapid Vienna | Real Betis | Real Madrid | Rangers | Rosenborg | Schalke 04 | Sparta Prague | Thun | Udinese | Villarreal | Werder Bremen
Personal tools