20 Facts about the UEFA Champions League

The UEFA Champions, also known as the Champions League, is an annual continental club football competition organised by the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) since 1992.

1. European Cup

Before 1992, the competition was officially called the “European Champion Clubs’ Cup”, but was usually referred to simply as the “European Cup”.

2. Winning clubs

A total of 22 clubs have won the Champions League/European Cup.

3. Most successful club

Real Madrid is the most successful club in the competition’s history, having won the tournament ten times.

4. Consecutive finals

Real Madrid won the competition the most times in a row, winning it five times from 1956 to 1960.

5. Consecutive semifinals

Barcelona holds this record with six consecutive semifinals.

6. Runners-up

Benfica, Juventus and Bayern Munich have been runners-up the most times, each losing five finals.

7. Most successful countries

Spanish clubs have accumulated the highest number of victories (13 wins), followed by England and Italy (12 wins apiece).

8. Final success rate

Only F.C.Porto and Nottingham Forest have appeared in the final of the European Cup/Champions league more than once, with a 100% success rate. Feyenoord, Aston Villa, PSV Eindhoven and Red Star Belgrade have appeared in the final once, being victorious on that occasion.

9. Biggest two leg wins

Benfica holds the overall record by beating Stade Dudelange 18–0 in the preliminary round in 1965–66. They beat the Luxembourgers by 8–0 and 10–0.

10. Most goals in a match

Feyenoord beat KR Reykjavík 12–2 in the first round in 1969–70. This is the overall record for all European Cup/Champions League matches.

11. First goal

The first goal of the tournament was scored by Sporting CP player, João Baptista Martins, after 14 minutes in a 3–3 draw against Partizan, on 4 September 1955.

12. Fastest goal

The fastest ever Champions League goal was scored by Bayern Munich’s Roy Makaay, in 10.12 seconds against Real Madrid, on 7 March 2007.

13. Top scorer

Cristiano Ronaldo, with 17 goals, is the player who amassed the most goals in one season (2013-14). Cristiano Ronaldo also holds the record for most goals in a calendar year with 16 in 2013, and the record for most goals in the group stage in the UEFA Champions league with 9 goals scored in 2013–14.

14. Nationalities

Benfica won the competition two consecutive years with a team consisting entirely of Portuguese players, and Celtic won the competition in 1967 with their entire squad born within a 30-mile radius of Celtic Park, their home ground.
Arsenal are believed to be the first club in Champions League history to have fielded 11 players of different nationality at the same time.

15. Oldest player

The oldest player to win the tournament is Ferenc Puskás, who was 39 years and 39 days when Real Madrid won against Partizan on 11 May 1966.
The oldest player to play in the tournament is Lazio’s Marco Ballotta, against Real Madrid in December 2007, aged 43 years and 252 days.

16. Youngest player

The youngest player to win the tournament is António Simões, who was 18 years and 139 days when Benfica won against Real Madrid on 2 May 1962.
The youngest player to play in the tournament is Anderlecht’s Celestine Babayaro, against Steaua București on 23 November 1994, aged 16 years and 87 days.

17. Red cards

Only two players have ever been sent off in a Champions League Final: Jens Lehmann (Arsenal) in the 2006 Final against Barcelona, and Didier Drogba (Chelsea) in the 2008 Champions League Final. Both players’ teams lost their respective finals.
Edgar Davids, Patrick Vieira, Didier Drogba and Zlatan Ibrahimović jointly hold the record for the most red cards in the Champions League. They have each been sent off three times.

18. Managers

Bob Paisley is the only manager to win the European Cup three times, all Liverpool.
José Mourinho became, in 2011, the first manager to reach the Champions League semi-finals with four different teams.
Vicente del Bosque is the only manager to win the Champions League, the World Cup and the European Championship.

19. English clubs

English teams were banned from the competition for five years following the Heysel disaster in 1985.

The Heysel Stadium disaster occurred on 29 May 1985 when escaping fans were pressed against a wall in the Heysel Stadium in Brussels, Belgium, before the start of the 1985 European Cup Final between Juventus of Italy and Liverpool of England. 39 people — mostly Juventus fans — died and 600 were injured.

20. Trivia

Michael Ballack became the first player to reach the Champions League quarter-finals with four separate clubs in 2007.

Featured ImageKieran Lynam – CC BY 2.0