The UEFA Champions League also known as UCL is a year on year club football competition organised by UEFA (Union of European Football Associations), where top-division European clubs compete against each other to win the much-desired title.
As one of the most respected tournaments around, as well as the most prestigious club competition in European football, the Champions League is played by the nationwide league champions (and, for certain countries, with one or more runners-up) of the strongest UEFA national clubs. With its debut back in 1955, first coined as the European Champion Clubs' Cup, or European Cup, the competition acquired its present name in 1992, adding a group stage to the rivalry and permitting several participants from selected countries.
Before 1992, the competition was originally a completely sensationalist tournament, solely open only to the champion club of each nation. However, during the 1990s, the format underwent an expansion, integrating a round-robin group stage to take in some nations' top-level league clubs that finished runner-up. Nowadays, it’s really no wonder how sports fans around the world tune in to watch the Champions League on TV.
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A Brief Background
Even though the majority of Europe's national leagues can still only enter their national league champion, Europe's strongest national leagues now grant up to five teams for the competition. Clubs which end up next-in-line in each nation's upper level league, would still qualify for the second-tier UEFA Europa League competition.
UEFA Champions League’s current set-up begins in late June, comprising of four knockout qualifying rounds and a play-off round. The 6 remaining teams then advance to the group stage, joining 26 teams who would qualify 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 progress to the knockout segment culminates with the ultimate match in May. The winner of the UEFA Champions League qualifies for the UEFA Super Cup and the FIFA Club World Cup. And while your fingers are itching to get your hands on the latest Champions League TV schedule, we thought it’d make sense to give you a quick recap on some of the best clubs, memorable performances and most importantly significant players who have contributed to some of the most historical football tv moments.
Some Stats About the Most Successful Clubs
Sure, watching live sport on tv comes with its fair share of excitement, but let’s look at some interesting stats on some of the most successful clubs in Champions League history. Having 13 tournament wins under its belt – including its first five seasons – Real Madrid is the most successful club in the competition's history. Spanish clubs have accrued the greatest number of triumphs (18 victories), followed by England and Italy (12 wins each). When it comes to the largest number of winning teams, England dons this achievement, with five clubs having won the title.
The league has been won by 22 clubs – 12 of which have won it more than once, with the leading champions being Real Madrid, having secured their 13th title in the competition after beating Liverpool 3–1 in the 2018 final. This victory allowed them to become the first team in the UEFA Champions League epoch to win the title for three years in a row.
Performances by Club
Following live sport on tv comes with a great element of excitement, that’s why we decided on listing some of the most memorable performances by the best Champions League teams out there…
Real Madrid FC – estimated to be worth €3.47 billion ($4.1 billion) in 2018, Real Madrid is ranked as the highest-earning football club worldwide. Real Madrid galvanised its reputation as a force to be reckoned with in the 1950s, having won five consecutive European Cups and reaching the final seven times.
Domestically, the club has won 64 trophies; a record-breaking 33 La Liga titles, 19 Copa del Rey, 10 Supercopa de España, a Copa Eva Duarte, and a Copa de la Liga. In European and worldwide competitions, the club has won a fantastic 26 trophies; 13 European Cup/UEFA Champions League titles, two UEFA Cups and four UEFA Super Cups. In international football, they have achieved a record seven club world championships.
Milan – A.C. Milan's UEFA trophy collection is the fourth highest out of any club and the most out of any Italian club. Milan has won a joint record three Intercontinental Cups and one FIFA Club World Cup, seven European Cup/Champions League titles, the UEFA Super Cup a joint record five times and the Cup Winners' Cup twice. With 18 league titles, Milan is also the joint-second most successful club in Serie A, along with local rivals Internazionale and behind Juventus (34 league titles).
FC Bayern Munich – as a whole, Bayern has reached ten European Cup/UEFA Champions League finals, winning their fifth title in 2013 as part of a continental treble. Bayern has also won one UEFA Cup, one European Cup Winners' Cup, one UEFA Super Cup, one FIFA Club World Cup and two Intercontinental Cups, making it one of the most successful European clubs internationally and the only German club to have won both international titles. Since the formation of the Bundesliga, Bayern has been the leading club in German football with 28 titles and has won 10 of the last 14 titles.
Liverpool Football Club – this football club has won 5 European Cups, more than any other English club, 3 UEFA Cups, 3 UEFA Super Cups, 18 League titles, 7 FA Cups, a record 8 League Cups, and 15 FA Community Shields. Liverpool established itself as a major force in English and European football in the 70s and 80s when Bill Shankly and Bob Paisley led the club to 11 League titles and seven European trophies. Under the management of Rafael Benítez and captained by Steven Gerrard, Liverpool became European champions for the fifth time in 2005. Liverpool was the 9th highest-earning football club in the world in 2016–17, with an annual revenue of €424.2 million, and the world's 8th most valuable football club in 2018, valued at $1.944 billion. The club is one of the best supported teams in the world.
Futbol Club Barcelona – unlike other football clubs, this club is owned and operated by supporters. It is the fourth-most valuable sports team in the world, worth $4.06 billion, and the world's second-richest football club in terms of revenue, with an annual turnover of €690.4 million.
Domestically, Barcelona has won 25 La Liga, 30 Copa del Rey, 13 Supercopa de España, 3 Copa Eva Duarte, and 2 Copa de la Liga trophies, as well as being the record holder for the latter four competitions. Internationally, Barcelona has won 20 European and World titles: 5 UEFA Champions League titles, a record 4 UEFA Cup Winners' Cup, a joint record 5 UEFA Super Cup, a record 3 Inter-Cities Fairs Cup, and a joint record 3 FIFA Club World Cup.
Cristiano Ronaldo – when playing for Real Madrid, Ronaldo won 15 trophies, including two La Liga titles, two Copas del Rey, four UEFA Champions League titles, two UEFA Super Cups, and three FIFA Club World Cups. Considered as Real Madrid's unparalleled top goalscorer, Ronaldo scored a record-shattering 34 La Liga hat-tricks, including a record-tying eight hat-tricks in the 2014–15 season. He is also the only player to scoop 30 goals in six consecutive La Liga seasons.
Lionel Messi – Messi has won a record-tying five Ballon d'Or awards, four of which he won consecutively, and a record five European Golden Shoes. Having spent his entire professional career with Barcelona, he has won a club-record 32 trophies, including nine La Liga titles, four UEFA Champions League titles and six Copas del Rey.
Both a fantastic goalscorer and an inventive player, Messi holds the records for most goals scored in La Liga, a La Liga season, a club football season in Europe, a calendar year, El Clásico, most hat-tricks in the UEFA Champions League, along with those for most assists in La Liga and the Copa América. In his career, he has scored over 670 senior career goals for club and country.
Iker Casillas – is known for his litheness, quick reflexes and great shot-stopping ability. In his highly successful time in Madrid, he won five La Liga titles, two Copa del Rey titles, four Supercopa de España titles, three UEFA Champions League titles, two UEFA Super Cups, one Intercontinental Cup and the FIFA Club World Cup. He also accumulated 725 appearances for Real Madrid, the second most in club history, before leaving in 2015 to join Porto on a free transfer.
Xavi – the first player in the club's history to play 150 European and Club World Cup matches. Highly regarded for his modest personality and team spirit, Xavi is viewed as being the personification of the tiki-taka passing style of play and is extensively considered to be one of the best central midfielders of his generation, if not ever.
With Spain, Xavi won the FIFA World Youth Championship in 1999, and the Olympic silver medal at the 2000 Olympics. After making his senior team debut in 2000, he was topped 133 times for the Spain national team and was a significant figure in the team's successes. Apart from playing a fundamental role in Spain's victory at the 2010 World Cup, he has also contributed to their wins at both Euro 2008 and Euro 2012.
Raúl – with 228 goals, Raúl is known as the fifth-highest goalscorer in the history of the competition, behind Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, Telmo Zarra and fellow Real Madrid legend Hugo Sánchez. He is also the highest Spanish scorer in European leagues, with 256 goals, scoring 228 goals in La Liga and 28 goals in the Bundesliga.
He is even the second-most capped player in the history of the Spanish competition, with 550 matches played, just behind Andoni Zubizarreta (622 matches). Leaving Real Madrid in 2010 and signing for Schalke 04, he scored the 400th goal of his career in February 2012. Raúl was named the best striker in the world by International Federation of Football History & Statistics in 1999 and is the only player to be named UEFA Club Forward of the Year three times in a row.
When it comes to watching football on tv, everyone and anyone around the world loves to get in on the action – particularly for the greatest competition – The Champions League. Wanna be part of the latest and greatest updates? Then tune in to tvsportguide, we’ll be sure to give you all the necessary scoops with our updates with our fantastic Champions League TV Schedule!