The UEFA Champions League also known as UCL is an annual club football competition. It is organized by the Union of European Football Associations abbreviated as UEFA. Top-division European clubs compete in this contest. The competition progresses with winners through a round-robin group stage to qualify for a double-legged knockout format and a single-leg final. It is one of the most prestigious football tournaments in the world. Meanwhile, it is the most prestigious club competition in European football. The competition is played by the national league champions and, for some nations, one or more runners-up of their national associations.


The competition was introduced in 1955 as the Coupe des Clubs Champions Européens which is French for European Champion Clubs’ Cup. Meanwhile, it was commonly known as the European Cup at that point in time. Moreover, it was initially a straight knockout tournament open only to the champions of Europe’s domestic leagues. Meanwhile, its winner was reckoned as the European club champion.

The competition took on its current name in 1992. Moreover, a round-robin group stage was added in 1991 and allowing multiple entrants from certain countries since the 1997–1998 season. The Champions League has since been expanded.

Meanwhile, most of Europe’s national leagues can still only enter their champion, the strongest leagues now provide up to four teams. Moreover, clubs that finish next-in-line in their national league, having not qualified for the Champions League, are eligible for the second-tier UEFA Europa League competition. By 2021, teams not eligible for the UEFA Europa League will qualify for a new third-tier competition called the UEFA Europa Conference League.


In its present format, the Champions League begins in late June with a preliminary round. Three qualifying rounds and a play-off round, all played over two legs. The six surviving teams enter the group stage and join 26 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. Meanwhile, this knockout phase ends with the final match in late May or early June. The winner of the Champions League qualifies for the following year’s Champions League, the UEFA Super Cup, and the FIFA Club World Cup.

Successful teams and Records

Spanish clubs have the highest number of victories. The Spanish clubs have dominated the competition with 18 wins. They are followed by England with 14 wins and Italy with 12 wins. England has the largest number of winning teams. A total of five English clubs have won the title.

The competition has been won by 22 clubs. Meanwhile, 13 of them have won it more than once. A total of eight times the title has been successfully defended. Real Madrid is the most successful club in UCL history. The Los Blancos have won it 13 times. They have won it in their first five seasons and also three in a row from 2016 to 2018. Bayern Munich remains to be the only club to have won all of their matches in a single tournament in the 2019–2020 season.

Cristiano Ronaldo remains the top scorer of the competition with 140 goals. The Portuguese striker also holds the record for most appearances in UCL.

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