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UEFA Champions League
UEFA Champions League logo 2.svg
Founded 1955
(rebranded in 1992)
Region Europe (UEFA)
Number of teams 32 (group stage)
78 or 79 (total)
Related competitions UEFA Super Cup
FIFA Club World Cup
Current champions Flag of Spain.svg Real Madrid (10th title)
Most successful club(s) Flag of Spain.svg Real Madrid (10 titles)
33px-Soccerball current event.svg2016–17 UEFA Champions League

The UEFA Champions League, known simply as the Champions League, is an annual continental club football competition organised by the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) and contested by top-division European clubs. It is one of the most prestigious tournaments in the world and the most prestigious club competition in European football, played by the national league champion (and, for some nations, one or more runners-up) of each UEFA national association. The final of the 2012–13 tournament was the most watched UEFA Champions League final to date, as well as the most watched annual sporting event worldwide in 2013, drawing 360 million television viewers.

Introduced in 1992, the competition replaced the European Champion Clubs' Cup, or simply European Cup, which had run since 1955, adding a group stage to the competition and allowing multiple entrants from certain countries. The pre-1992 competition was initially a straight knockout tournament open only to the champion club of each country. During the 1990s, the format was expanded, incorporating a round-robin group stage to include clubs that finished runner-up of some nations' top level league. While most of Europe's national leagues can still only enter their national league champion, Europe's strongest national leagues now provide up to four teams for the competition, and will provide up to five teams from the 2015–16 season onwards. Clubs that finish next-in-line in each nation's top level league, having not qualified for the UEFA Champions League competition, may be eligible for the next level UEFA Europa League competition.

In its present format, the UEFA Champions League begins in mid-July with three knockout qualifying rounds and a play-off round. The 10 surviving teams enter the group stage, joining 22 other teams qualified in advance. The 32 teams are drawn into eight groups of four teams and play each other in a double round-robin system. The eight group winners and eight runners-up proceed to the knockout phase that culminates with the final match in May. The winner of the UEFA Champions League qualifies for the UEFA Super Cup and the FIFA Club World Cup.

Real Madrid is the most successful club in the competition's history, having won the tournament ten times, including its first five seasons. Spanish clubs have accumulated the highest number of victories (15 wins), followed by England with (14 wins). The competition has been won by 22 different clubs, 12 of which have won it more than once. Since the tournament changed name and structure in 1992, only Manchester United have successfully defended the title winning their fourth title in 2013–14 and in 2014–15 their fifth. The reigning champions are Real Madrid who defeated Juventus 4–1 in the final.

Records and statisticsEdit

Main article: European Cup and UEFA Champions League records and statistics

WinnersEdit

Performance in the European Cup/UEFA Champions League by club
Club Winners Runners-up Years won Years runner-up
Real Madrid 10 3 1956, 1957, 1958, 1959, 1960, 1966, 1998, 2000, 2004, 2017 1962, 1964, 1981
AC Milan 7 4 1963, 1969, 1989, 1990, 1994, 2003, 2007 1958, 1993, 1995, 2005
Bayern Munich 5 5 1974, 1975, 1976, 2001, 2013 1982, 1987, 1999, 2010, 2012
Manchester United 5 3 1968, 1999, 2008, 2014, 2015 2009, 2011, 2016
Liverpool 5 2 1977, 1978, 1981, 1984, 2005 1985, 2007
Barcelona 4 4 1992, 2006, 2009, 2011 1961, 1986, 1994, 2015
Ajax 4 2 1971, 1972, 1973, 1995 1969, 1996
Internazionale 3 2 1964, 1965, 2010 1967, 1972
Juventus 2 6 1985, 1996 1973, 1983, 1997, 1998, 2003, 2017
Benfica 2 5 1961, 1962 1963, 1965, 1968, 1998, 1990
Nottingham Forest 2 0 1979, 1980
Porto 2 0 1987, 2004
Atlético Madrid 1 2 2016 1974, 2014
Celtic 1 1 1967 1970
Hamburg SV 1 1 1983 1980
Steaua Bucharest 1 1 1986 1989
Marseille 1 1 1993 1991
Borussia Dortmund 1 1 1997 2013
Chelsea 1 1 2012 2008
Feyenoord 1 0 1970
Aston Villa 1 0 1982
PSV Eindhoven 1 0 1988
Crvena Zvezda 1 0 1991
Stade de Reims 0 2 1956, 1959
Valencia 0 2 2000, 2001
Fiorentina 0 1 1957
Eintracht Frankfurt 0 1 1960
Partizan 0 1 1966
Panathinaikos 0 1 1971
Leeds United 0 1 1975
Saint-Étienne 0 1 1976
Borussia Monchengladbach 0 1 1977
Club Brugge 0 1 1978
Malmo FF 0 1 1979
Roma 0 1 1984
Sampdoria 0 1 1992
Bayer Leverkusen 0 1 2002
Monaco 0 1 2004
Arsenal 0 1 2006

By countryEdit

Nation Winners Runners-up
Spain 15 11
England 14 8
Italy 12 15
Germany 7 10
Netherlands 6 2
Portugal 4 5
France 1 5
Scotland 1 1
Romania 1 1
Yugoslavia 1 1
Greece 0 1
Belgium 0 1
Sweden 0 1

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