Since its inception in 1956, a total of 66 elite European finals have been played. In its later life, the continental competition was rebranded as the Champions League, having previously been known as the European Cup. It has gone through a variety of format changes in its history, and its evolution reflects the development of the beautiful game.
Here we take a look at every winner of this prestigious competition, starting with the very first edition.
European Cup Winners
1955-56: Real Madrid 4-3 Reims
Parc des Princes – Attendance: 38,239
In what would become a familiar sight over the course of the next five years, Real Madrid won the first European Cup, triumphing over French champions Reims. An all-star team featuring the likes of Alfredo Di Stefano and Jose Maria Zarraga won 4-3 in a blockbuster final.
1956-57: Real Madrid 2-0 Fiorentina
Santiago Bernabeu – Attendance: 124,000
Real Madrid won their second successive European title the following season. In doing so, they established themselves as the dominant force throughout the continent. And this time they did it on home soil too, winning 2-0 against Fiorentina in front of 124,000 fans at the Bernabeu.
1957-58: Real Madrid 3-2 Milan
Heysel Stadium – Attendance 67,000
Again, Los Blancos were triumphant in 1958. Again, against Italian opposition. This time it was Milan, with extra-time needed to overcome their rivals. By this time, Real Madrid had added even more superstars to their squad, including club legend Raymond Kopa.
1958-59: Real Madrid 2-0 Reims
Neckarsrtadion – Attendance: 72,000
A fourth title triumph followed in 1959. History repeated itself as Real Madrid edged out Reims, just as they had done in 1956, this time by a 2-0 scoreline. Though he didn’t feature in the final, the royal team had now added the indomitable Ferenc Puskas to their roster. The silverware wasn’t going to dry up anytime soon.
1959-60: Real Madrid 7-3 Eintracht Frankfurt
Hampden Park – Attendance: 127,621
A heaving crowd of nearly 130,000 watched Real Madrid win a fifth European crown in succession in bewildering, epoch-making fashion. Los Blancos triumphed 7-3, with Puskas scoring four. Di Stefano got three more on top of that, meaning the Argentinian had scored in all five of the first European Cup finals – a record which will surely never be surpassed.
1960-61: Benfica 3-2 Barcelona
Wankdorf Stadium – Attendance: 26,732
Madrid’s monopoly was finally ended by Portuguese giants Benfica. But it was so nearly Real’s arch-rivals, Barcelona, which put an end to their hegemony. They lost 3-2 to a great Benfica side who would begin a phase of mini domination themselves.
1961-62: Benfica 5-3 Real Madrid
Olympisch Stadion – Attendance: 61,257
If the 7-3 in Glasgow in 1960 was the game of the century, it was run close by the final in 1962. Benfica denied Real Madrid a sixth European trophy as they came back from 2-0 down to win 5-3. Puskas scored a hat trick that day, taking his tally in European finals to seven in just two matches. But the real star of the show was the young Eusebio.
1962-63: Milan 2-1 Benfica
Wembley Stadium – Attendance: 45,715
Benfica could have made it three in a row at Wembley Stadium in 1963 but had aspirations of a famous treble squashed by Milan. A 2-1 victory sparked a spell of Italian supremacy in the competition. It was the start of a European dynasty for Milan, who would go on to win six more European Cups over the decades.
1963-64: Inter 3-1 Real Madrid
Praterstadion – Attendance: 71,333
In 1964, it was the turn of Milan’s city rivals Inter to snatch the crown. Using the now trademark Italian “catenaccio” system, Helenio Herrera’s side won the first of two successive European Cups titles with a 3-1 win over Real Madrid in the Spaniards’ seventh final appearance.
1964-65: Inter 1-0 Benfica
San Siro – Attendance: 89,000
The early stages of the European Cup were marked out by streaks. This time it was Inter’s turn. Again, they denied a European stalwart another continental title. This time it was Benfica, as they won 1-0 in front of 89,000 of their own fans at the San Siro. Their success was later marred by allegations of doping.
1955-66: Real Madrid 2-1 Partizan
Heysel Stadium – attendance: 46,745
Finally, five years after their last title, Real Madrid won a coveted sixth European Cup in 1966. The 1966 title is among the most treasured in the club’s illustrious history, as they achieved it with 11 Spaniards and a great deal of homegrown talent.
1966-67: Celtic 2-1 Inter
Estadio Nacional – Attendance: 45,000
The Celtic team that triumphed in 1967 was nicknamed the “Lisbon Lions.” Led by the incomparable Jock Stein, the Bhoys roared to victory with a 2-1 win over an Inter Milan fluent in the so-called dark arts. Of all Celtics 109 titles, the European Cup is the most prized.
1967-68: Manchester United 4-1 Benfica
Wembley Stadium – Attendance: 92,225
Another British team, this time Manchester United, triumphed in ’68. It took extra-time, but the Red Devils eventually overcame Benfica by a 4-2 scoreline. Under the guidance of Matt Busby, the players on the team sheet that day are still remembered as United greats today – Bobby Charlton, Bryan Kidd, Nobby Stiles and George Best.
1968-69: Milan 4-1 Ajax
Santiago Bernabeu – Attendance: 31,782
Milan drew level with rivals Inter in terms of European Cup titles in 1969 as they beat Johan Cruyff’s side 4-1 in Madrid. It was a historic win for Milan. Ajax would have to wait to make their own history – but it would come.
1969-70: Feyenoord 2-1 Celtic
San Siro – Attendance: 53,187
It was a Dutch side which lifted the first European title of the 70s, but not Ajax. Feyenoord denied Celtic a second title after a 2-1 win in extra-time at the San Siro. Their victory was the first for a generation manager, the Austrian Ernst Happel, regularly considered one of the most revolutionary figures in the history of tactics.
1970-71: Ajax 2-0 Panathinaikos
Wembley Stadium – Attendance: 83,179
When it finally arrived, it was well worth the wait. Ajax won their first European Cup title in 1971 with a comfortable 2-0 victory over Greek champions Panathinaikos. Rinus Michels’s staggeringly advanced team featured some of the most futuristic players and passing combinations the game had ever seen. It was the beginning of a dominant phase for this great Ajax side.
1971-72: Ajax 2-0 Inter
De Kuip – Attendance: 61,354
History repeated itself in 1972 as Ajax again enjoyed a comfortable 2-0 victory in the final. This time it was against fiercer opposition in the form Inter Milan. Michels had left a year earlier, but Johan Cruyff and company continued his legacy.
1972-73: Ajax 1-0 Juventus
Red Star Stadium – Attendance: 89,484
Ajax became the second team to have won three successive European Cups in 1973 with another win over Italian opposition, this time Juventus. It was a feat which would be repeated three years later by a certain Germany heavyweight.
1973-74: Bayern Munich 4-0 Atletico Madrid
Heysel Stadium – Attendance: 72,047
The 1973-74 final is the only edition which has been decided by a replay. Bayern Munich and Atletico Madrid drew 1-1 after extra-time in Brussels before Bayern smashed the Spaniards 4-0 in the second leg. Bayern legend Gerd Muller got two for a team packed with star power.
1974-75: Bayern Munich 2-0 Leeds United
Parc des Princes – Attendance: 48,360
Another year, another Bayern title. Leeds United missed the chance to bring the European Cup back to England as they were beaten 2-0 in France. Franz Beckenbauer lifted the trophy for the second year running. But more was still to come.
1975-76: Bayern Munich 1-0 Saint-Etienne
Hampden Park – Attendance: 54,864
A turgid 1-0 win over French opposition was enough to bring a third European Cup to Germany. Their victory meant that, in the first 20 years of the European Cup, three teams had won three successive titles. Another team wouldn’t achieve this feat for nearly five decades.
1976-77: Liverpool 3-1 Borussia Monchengladbach
Stadio Olimpico – Attendance: 57,000
Another German team made the final in 1977, this time it was Borussia Monchengladbach instead of Bayern. But they fell at the hands of Bob Paisley’s magnificent Liverpool. It was the start of an English sweep of trophies with seven of the next eight European champions coming from Blighty.
1977-78: Liverpool 1-0 Club Brugge
Wembley Stadium – Attendance: 92,500
A second title followed quickly after the first for Liverpool. This side was arguably much stronger than the one which lifted the trophy in ’77, despite losing star player Kevin Keegan to Hamburg. Kenny Dalglish, Graeme Souness, Alan Hansen and Phil Thompson wrote themselves into Scouse lore with this victory.
1978-79: Nottingham Forest 1-0 Malmo FF
Olympiastadion – Attendance: 57,500
After winning the English league title in 1978, Nottingham Forest had done away with Liverpool’s domestic dominance, and in 1979 they ended their European hegemony too. It was an achievement made all the more remarkable considering where they had been just two years earlier: the second division of English football. They owed so much to their legendary manager, Brian Clough.
1979-80: Nottingham Forest 1-0 Hamburger SV
Santiago Bernabeu – Attendance: 51,000
As if one European title wasn’t already the stuff of dreams, Forest fans’ wildest fantasies were fulfilled in 1980 when they won a second consecutive title. They overcame Kevin Keegan’s terrific Hamburg side, winning 1-0 at the spiritual home of the European Cup, the Santiago Bernabeu.
1980-81: Liverpool 1-0 Real Madrid
Parc de Princes – Attendance: 48,360
Liverpool reclaimed the trophy in 1981 with a 1-0 win over a Real Madrid who would have to wait a little longer for a seventh European crown. Alan Kennedy got the winner, scoring with eight minutes remaining in Paris.
1981-82: Aston Villa 1-0 Bayern Munich
De Kuip – Attendance: 46,000
In 1982, Aston Villa interrupted the Forest-Liverpool duopoly but continued the English dominance that had defined the late 70s and early 80s. They beat Bayern Munich 1-0 in Rotterdam and secured the most memorable result in the club’s history.
1982-83: Hamburger SV 1-0 Juventus
Olympic Stadium – Attendance: 73,500
It was German giants Hamburger who finally put an end to the English ascendancy in 1983. Juventus lost their second European Cup final 1-0. Remarkably, it was the sixth European Cup final in a row that had ended with this scoreline.
1983-84: Liverpool 1-1 Roma (4-2pens)
Stadio Olimpico – Attendance: 69,693
Liverpool won their fourth European Cup in Rome via penalties, the first team to do so. Alan Kennedy scored the winning penalty after a 1-1 draw with Roma. It was the end of a glorious period of domination for English teams, who would have to wait until 1999 for another victory in Europe’s premier competition.
1984-85: Juventus 1-0 Liverpool
Heysel Stadium – Attendance: 58,000
Juventus finally won the European Cup in their third final appearance, but it was events off the pitch which dominated this final. 39 people were killed and hundreds more injured after rioting inside the stadium before kick-off. English clubs were subsequently banned from European competition for five years.
1985-86: Steaua Bucuresti 0-0 Barcelona (2-0 pens)
Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan – Attendance: 70,000
In the first goalless European Cup final, Steaua Bucuresti became the first Eastern European champions after beating Barcelona 2-0 on penalties. The reaction to the defeat in Catalonia was awful, with supporters frustrated at a lack of European success despite being one of the biggest names in the game.
1986-87: Porto 2-1 Bayern Munich
Praterstadion – Attendance: 57,500
Porto became the second Portuguese champions in 1987, setting them on the road to matching the trophy haul of rivals Benfica. They denied Bayern Munich the chance of a fourth title with victory in Vienna.
1987-88: PSV Eindhoven 0-0 Benfica (6-5 pens)
Neckerstadion – Attendance: 68,000
PSV became the third Dutch team to win the European Cup in ’88 as they stopped Benfica in their tracks in the Portuguese’s sixth final.
1988-89: Milan 4-0 Steaua Bucuresti
Camp Nou – Attendance: 97,000
Milan won their third title in style, beating the 1986 champions Steaua Bucuresti 5-0 in front of nearly 100,000 people at Camp Nou. The Milan team featured the likes of Frank Rijkaard, Marco van Basten, Ruud Gullit and Carlo Ancelotti.
1989-90: Milan 1-0 Benfica
Praterstadion – Attendance: 57,558
Losing in European Cup finals was becoming something of a bad habit for Benfica. They lost again in the first final of the 90s as Milan won a second trophy in succession. Their attacking prowess was clear, but it was in defence where Milan were truly special. Legendary manager Arrigo Sacchi had assembled a back four of Franco Baresi, Paolo Maldini, Alessandro Costacurta and Mauro Tassotti.
1990-91: Red Star Belgrade 0-0 Marseille (5-3 pens)
Stadio San Nicola – Attendance: 51,587
Red Star Belgrade became one of a select few clubs from outside the “big five” European leagues to win the European Cup when they beat Marseille in the ’91 edition of the final. With a homegrown team, they overcame the French favourites who boasted a very strong team featuring the likes of Chris Waddle and Jean-Pierre Papin.
1991-92: Barcelona 1-0 Sampdoria
Wembley Stadium – Attendance: 70,827
Finally, after decades and decades of waiting, Barcelona lifted the European Cup. It was a win that got them nowhere near Real Madrid’s total of six, but the Catalans boasted that at least Barcelona had won the tournament “in colour.” A now-iconic Ronald Koeman free-kick was enough to secure victory at Wembley, the club’s first of five championships over the next 30 years.
Champions League Winners
1992-93: Marseille 1-0 Milan
Olympiastadion – Attendance: 64,000
Marseille is a club with a long and rich history. It stung when they were denied the chance to lift the trophy in 1991, so a chance to right those wrongs and become the first French champions was grasped with both hands. They bettered Fabio Capello’s Milan side 1-0 and captain Didier Deschamps lifted the trophy. This was the first edition of the tournament to be christened the “Champions League”, and Marseille has always claimed to be the tournament’s first modern champions.
1993-94: Milan 4-0 Barcelona
Olympic Stadium – Attendance: 70,000
Barcelona had the chance to add a second big-eared trophy to their collection in ’94, and under the stewardship of club icon Johan Cruyff too. But his mesmerising, fluid side bowed out to a Capello’s pragmatic Milan, who obliterated them in the final. The victory announced the Italian manager as one of Europe’s finest and cemented the legacy of Milan’s famous back four.
1994-95: Ajax 1-0 Milan
Ernst Happel Stadion – Attendance: 49,730
Milan reached the final again in 1995 but were overcome by another managerial great: the magnetic Louis van Gaal. His team, made up of the likes of Edwin van der Sar, Frank Rijkaard, Clarence Seedorf, Edgar Davids and Marc Overmars triumphed thanks to a late Patrick Kluivert goal. Ajax had a fourth title.
1995-96: Juventus 1-1 Ajax (4-2 pens)
Stadio Olimpico – Attendance: 70,000
Ajax could have made it five and overtaken Bayern Munich and Liverpool in the process but were bettered by Juventus in the 1996 final – albeit from the spot.
1996-97: Borussia Dortmund 3-1 Juventus
Olympiastadion – Attendance: 59,000
Borussia Dortmund became the third German side to win club football’s top prize when the previous champions Juventus 3-1 in the 1997 final. It was a victory made all the sweeter because they did it in Munich. Karl-Heinz Riedle scored twice for Dortmund before Del Piero pulled one back for the Old Lady. But substitute Lars Ricken made sure of a historic victory with the decisive goal just a few minutes later.
1997-98: Real Madrid 1-0 Juventus
Amsterdam Arena – Attendance: 48,500
After 32 years, it finally happened. Real Madrid were European champions once more. They beat Juventus who were appearing in their third successive final, the winning goal in a 1-0 victory coming from the boot of Predrag Mijatović. It was their seventh triumph and the start of a Real Madrid renaissance in the Champions League.
1998-99: Manchester United 2-1 Bayern Munich
Camp Nou – Attendance: 90,245
What everyone forgets about the 1999 final is that it was actually rather dull – up until the final few minutes that is. Bayern had taken the lead from a Mario Basler free-kick just six minutes in and looked to be seeing out the game as the clock ticked past 90 minutes. But Teddy Sheringham equalised for Alex Ferguson’s Manchester United in the first minute of added time. Two minutes later, and super-sub Ole Gunnar Solskjaer completed a famous turnaround. 2-1 and United brought the Champions League back to England for the first time since 1984.
1999-00: Real Madrid 3-0 Valencia
Stade de France – Attendance: 80,000
After waiting decades for a Champions League triumph, Real Madrid had two in three years. They beat Valencia 3-0 in an all-Spanish final, the first to feature two teams from the same country. It was fitting that, at the beginning of a new millennium, Real Madrid – the Champions League’s high priests – were crowned champions.
2000-01: Bayern Munich 1-1 (5-4 pens)
San Siro – Attendance: 79,000
Valencia fell short once again in 2001, although only just. They lost out to Bayern Munich on penalties after a 1-1 draw in Milan. It was the Bavarians’ fourth Champions League triumph, drawing them level with Liverpool and Ajax.
2001-02: Bayer Leverkusen 1-2 Real Madrid
Hampden Park – Attendance: 50,499
127,000 watched as Real Madrid beat Eintracht Frankfurt 7-3 in 1960. It was just 50,000 in 2002, but the triumph is no less treasure in Madrid. It moved them onto nine Champions League trophies and in touching distance of “La Decima” – the tenth. The match is best remembered for an absolutely sensational Zinedine Zidane left-foot volley on the stroke of half-time, the goal which would ultimately prove decisive.
2002-03: Milan 0-0 Juventus (3-2 pens)
Old Trafford – Attendance: 62,315
In one of the dullest finals in history – apt in an encounter between two famously defensive Italian sides – Milan won 3-2 on penalties and earned a sixth title. They did so with an exceptional team. Clarence Seedorf was one of its most prominent figures, and in winning the competition with Milan he became the first player to have won the Champions League or European Cup with three different sides.
2003-04: Porto 3-0 Monaco
Arena AufSchalke – Attendance: 53,053
Porto drew level with Portuguese rivals Benfica with their 3-0 victory over Monaco in Germany. It was a match best remembered for the introduction of Jose Mourinho to the global stage. The manager masterminded a remarkable underdog victory – a rarity in this most unforgiving of competitions.
2004-05: Milan 3-3 Liverpool
Ataturk Olympic Stadium – Attendance: 69,000
If the 7-3 at Hampden Park in 1960 was the greatest final of all time, then Liverpool’s victory over Milan in 2005 has an excellent claim to second place. Milan’s side boasted the likes of Cafu, Maldini, Pirlo, Kaka and Andriy Shevchenko. They were comfortably the best side in Europe at the time, and when they went into the break with a three-goal cushion, the world thought the title was theirs. But within 15 minutes of the restart, Liverpool were level – with no one quite sure what had just happened. The rest, as they say, is history. Liverpool won on penalties and lifted a fifth Champions League trophy.
2005-06: Barcelona 2-1 Arsenal
Stade de France – Attendance: 79,610
Arsenal were unable to win a second successive Champions League for an English side when they shipped two goals in the last 15 minutes to lose to Barcelona. The Champions League would have been the jewel in the crown for Arsene Wenger, but it wasn’t to be.
2006-07: Milan 2-1 Liverpool
Olympic Stadium – Attendance: 63,000
In 2007, a chance for revenge presented itself to Milan. There was to be none of the dramatics of two years previous, and Liverpool were this time defeated comfortably. Two goals from Filippo Inzaghi meant a Dirk Kuyt strike a minute from time was inconsequential. A seventh title for a great Milan side.
2007-08: Manchester United 1-1 Chelsea (6-5 pens)
Luzhniki Stadium – Attendance: 67,310
Sir Alex Ferguson added a second Champions League title to his and Manchester United’s cabinet after victory in a famous all-English final. Ronaldo’s header was cancelled out by Frank Lampard’s astute finish and the game went to penalties. John Terry had the chance to win it from the spot but slipped. United went on to win 6-5 with Van der Sar saving the decisive penalty from Nicolas Anelka.
2008-09: Barcelona 2-0 Manchester United
Stadio Olimpico – Attendance: 62,467
Manchester United failed to make it two in a row in the 2009 final. They were stopped by a Barcelona side who would come to define a generation. Their tiki-taka style set the blueprint for the next decade’s football. Pep Guardiola made a triumphant – to say the least – entrance to management. But the glory didn’t end there.
2009-10: Inter 2-0 Bayern Munich
Santiago Bernabeu – Attendance: 73,490
All the signs pointed to another Barca victory in 2010. But they were frustrated by Jose Mourinho’s Inter in the semi-finals, and the Milanese would go on to win the trophy after a 2-0 victory over Bayern Munich. It completed a historic treble for Jose and Inter.
2010-11: Barcelona 3-1 Manchester United
Wembley Stadium – Attendance: 87,695
Not for the first time in this great competition, history repeated itself in the 2011 final. Again, Barcelona defeated Manchester United by a two-goal margin. Again, Barcelona won the Champions League at Wembley. The Catalans blew United away in the final, with goals from Pedro, Lionel Messi and David Villa cancelling out Wayne Rooney’s strike. This was peak Pep.
2011-12: Chelsea 1-1 Bayern Munich (4-3 pens)
Allianz Arena – Attendance: 62,500
Chelsea were huge underdogs going into the 2012 final. But an awful domestic season was given the most stupendous of silver linings when they stunned Bayern Munich with a victory on penalties in their rival’s own stadium. Muller looked to have won the game, scoring with seven minutes remaining, but a Drogba header took the match to extra-time and, ultimately, penalties, where Chelsea triumphed.
2012-13: Bayern Munich 2-1 Borussia Dortmund
Wembley Stadium – Attendance: 86,298
Wembley was the venue for the first all-German final in 2013. Bayern Munich were triumphant as they edged past their rivals Borussia Dortmund courtesy of goals from Mario Mandzukic and Arjen Robben, the latter coming in the last minute of normal time. Bayern moved level with Liverpool on five Champions League titles.
2013-14: Real Madrid 4-1 Atletico Madrid
Estadio da Luz – Attendance: 60,976
In the first one-city final, Atletico were just seconds away from lifting a first Champions League trophy until a late, late Sergio Ramos header took the match to extra-time. Real found another gear and won the match 4-1. It was a stunning 10th title for the club and the start of a purple patch which would rival their early history in the competition.
2014-15: Barcelona 3-1 Juventus
Olympiastadion – Attendance: 70,442
Juventus were no match for a front three of Luis Suarez, Neymar and Lionel Messi as Barcelona won their fifth Champions League trophy in Berlin. It remains Barcelona’s most recent European triumph.
2015-16: Real Madrid 1-1 Atletico Madrid
San Siro – Attendance: 71,942
Real Madrid once again met their rivals Atletico in the 2016 final. A largely dull match ended 1-1 and went to penalties, where Ronaldo settled things from the spot and kick-started Los Blancos’ European dominance.
2016-17: Real Madrid 4-1 Juventus
Millennium Stadium – Attendance: 65,842
Real Madrid were triumphant yet again in 2017, winning 4-1 just as they had three years previous. Cristian Ronaldo scored twice as Real Madrid lifted the trophy for a staggering 12th time.
2017-18: Real Madrid 3-1 Liverpool
NSC Olimpiyski Stadium – Attendance: 61,561
The 2018 final was remarkable for a number of reasons. Firstly, it was Real Madrid’s 13th title. Secondly, Gareth Bale scored arguably the greatest goal in Champions League final history. And thirdly, for Loris Karius’ mistakes which ultimately secured the trophy for Madrid.
2018-19: Liverpool 2-0 Tottenham Hotspur
Metropolitano Stadium – Attendance: 63,272
Liverpool laid the demons of the 2018 final to rest at the first attempt. They beat Tottenham Hotspur 2-0 in a largely dull all-English final. Mo Salah scored from the spot after a contentious penalty was awarded in the second minute, and fan favourite Divock Origi made things certain with a goal three minutes from time. A sixth Champions League for Liverpool.
2019-20: Bayern Munich 1-0 Paris Saint-Germain
Estadio da Luz – Attendance: 0
To future readers, the attendance for this match might look like a typo. But is actually a result of the strangest Champions League tournament in history. The coronavirus pandemic disrupted the competition, forcing the latter stages to be played behind closed doors. In the end, a mini-tournament ended with two finalists: PSG and Bayern Munich. Bayern won the match 1-0, securing a sixth title in bizarre circumstances.