With Manchester City winning their first ever European Cup or UEFA Champions League title in 2022-23, we run through all of the teams to win the competition (in either of its guises) the most times.
There have been 22 different winners of the European Cup or Champions League, so we’ve listed them all here. The vast majority of European Cup and Champions League titles have been dominated by a few teams, with one in particular keeping hold of the two trophies for much of their existence.
14 wins: Real Madrid (six European Cups, eight Champions Leagues)
Real Madrid went 32 years without winning the European Cup or Champions League between 1966 and 1998 (I know, poor them!), but have otherwise enjoyed unparalleled success in Europe’s premier competition.
The bulk of their trophies came in three remarkable bursts: a run of five in a row for an Alfredo Di Stéfano-inspired side when the competition first started in the 1950s; three in five years between 1998 and 2002; and the modern-day greats who won five in nine years between 2014 and 2022. Add in the one in 1966 and you have a return of 14 – some seven more than any other team.
7 wins: Milan (four European Cups, three Champions Leagues)
AC Milan are going through what for most teams would still be considered a successful period, but by the standards they have set themselves, this is basically the doldrums.
They won two European Cups in the 1960s, back-to-back titles in 1989 and 1990, and then three Champions League crowns over a 14-year period between 1994 and 2007.
It’s now 16 years since they beat Liverpool 2-1 in Athens in 2007, when they got their revenge for Istanbul 2005, and they don’t appear very likely to add to their haul any time soon. With three giants hot on their tails in this list, they might not hold onto second place for that much longer.
6 wins: Liverpool (four European Cups, two Champions Leagues), Bayern Munich (three European Cups, three Champions Leagues)
Liverpool have always loved Europe. If they’re not winning the Champions League, they’re still reaching the final (they’ve been beaten finalists three times in the Champions League era), and if they’re not doing that, they’re winning other European competitions (they’ve won 13 trophies in Europe in total – five more than any other English team). They have won Europe’s biggest title six times: four under Bob Paisley and then Joe Fagan between 1977 and 1984, and then two in the Champions League in more recent times – under Rafa Benítez in 2005 and Jürgen Klopp in 2019.
Bayern Munich have also won six, but they have also lost in the final five times, which is the second-most alongside Benfica and behind only Juventus (seven). Their three European Cup wins came in consecutive years between 1974 and 1976, and their three Champions League titles came in 2001, 2013 and 2020. Interspersed in that time is five runners-up medals. The German giants could be far higher up this table but for their many near misses.
5 wins: Barcelona (one European Cup, four Champions Leagues)
Barcelona’s sole European Cup was won in 1992, in what was the competition’s final match before it was revamped to the Champions League – in which they have added four more titles.
They are a modern giant of the game, with only rivals Real Madrid (eight titles) able to better, or even match, their success across the period that they’ve won their five. Incredibly, two of their last three Champions League wins have come in treble-winning seasons. When Barcelona are good, they are very, very good.
4 wins: Ajax (three European Cups, one Champions League)
Something of a sleeping giant, Ajax won the European Cup three years in a row in the early 1970s, before adding a Champions League title in 1995, but have since not won any European trophies.
There was the 2018-19 Erik ten Hag side that made it to within a few seconds of making the UCL final, and the runners-up of 1996 but, right now at least, it appears as though Ajax’s days of dominating Europe are behind them.
3 wins: Manchester United (one European Cup, two Champions Leagues) and Inter (two European Cups, one Champions League)
Inter had a chance to make it four when they faced Manchester City in the 2022-23 Champions League final, but they lost 1-0 in Istanbul. They added to their two European Cup wins in the 1960s when they won the treble under José Mourinho in 2010.
Man United, meanwhile, won two Champions League titles under Sir Alex Ferguson, including that 1999 treble, having also become the first ever English winners of the European Cup – and they have left it very late each time they’ve won the competition.
Only one of the three finals they won didn’t go to extra-time – they beat Benfica in extra-time in 1968 and Chelsea on penalties in 2008 – and even the 1999 win over Bayern came through two famous injury-time goals from Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Teddy Sheringham.
2 wins: Chelsea (two CLs), Nottingham Forest (two ECs), Benfica (two ECs), Juventus (one EC, one CL), Porto (one EC, one CL)
Five teams have won the European Cup or Champions League on two occasions, with two of them (Forest and Benfica) winning them in consecutive years and two of them (Chelsea and Juventus) winning their second titles within 12 years of the first. Porto are the only of these five sides whose European Cup/Champions League success spans different eras, with their two wins coming 17 years apart (1987 and 2004).
Juventus and Benfica have lost in the final a whopping 12 times in total (Juventus – seven, Benfica – five). Juventus have fallen at the last hurdle five times in the Champions League era alone, while all five of Benfica’s defeats in the final came between 1963 and 1990 – in the era of the European Cup. The other three sides with two titles to their names have lost only one final between them – in 2008 when Chelsea came within a John Terry slip of lifting the trophy.
1 win: Manchester City (CL) Borussia Dortmund (CL), Feyenoord (EC), Marseille (CL), Aston Villa (EC), PSV Eindhoven (EC), Celtic (EC), Hamburg (EC), Red Star Belgrade (EC), Steaua Bucharest (EC)
Ten teams have won Europe’s biggest club competition just the once, with seven of them doing so when it was the European Cup, and just three – Man City, Borussia Dortmund and Marseille – having won the Champions League since it was rebranded in 1992.