Who Has the Most UEFA Champions League Titles?

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Helios de la Rubia / Contributor

So, you're wondering which clubs have the most Champions League titles? Let's get in to it!

The Union of European Football Association (UEFA) Champions League represents the epitome of European football. Clubs across Europe are selected to go head-to-head in hard fought battles until one team prevails as the top team on the continent.

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Since 1955, the tournament has been played annually starting in the summer, and is broken down into stages, culminating in elimination rounds that take place throughout the year. This leads up to the final round, which takes place the following summer. The 2023 Champions League–the most watched club competition in the world–will begin in late June.

How do clubs qualify to play in the Champions League?

There are 32 teams that qualify for the Champions League; with teams being selected based on a UEFA coefficient. This is a score that is calculated based on the results of clubs representing each association in the five most recent UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League seasons. Associations with higher coefficients will have more clubs that represent them in the tournament. Of the 32 teams, 22 qualify automatically, either because they are the defending UCL or UEL champion, or the defending champion of their domestic league.

If a team does not receive an entry this way, there are 10 more spots reserved in which they may receive entry through two streams: the first is by virtue of being a domestic league champion, and the other being second through fourth in their domestic league.

The 32 teams who get entries to the tournament play in a succession of group stages, down to knockout rounds, and finally culminating in the finals. As is the case with most European football, The Champions League does not disappoint when it comes to thrills and drama.

To get you excited for the start of the 2023-2024 Champions League, here are the top teams with the most Champions League titles.

1. Real Madrid (14)

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  • Years Won: (1956, 1957, 1958, 1959, 1960, 1966, 1998, 2000, 2002, 2014, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2022)
  • Final Appearances: 17 total

When the Champions League first came to be in 1955, Real Madrid swept the first five championships. They also won three in a row from 2016-2018. Their most recent championship in 2022 gave them twice as many wins as the runner up. Real Madrid has won in each of the finals that they have made it to since 1981.

2. AC Milan (7)

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Severin Aichbauer/SEPA.Media /Getty Images

Years Won: (1963, 1969, 1989, 1990, 1994, 2003, 2007)

Final Appearances: 11

AC Milan has consistently been a top performer in Italian football. Their 2007 win was extra sweet for a handful of the players on Milan who had been on the team just two years prior when they lost in the finals to Liverpool.

T-3. Bayern Munich (6)

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  • Years Won: (1974, 1975, 1976, 2001, 2013, 2020)
  • Final Appearances: 11

FC Bayern’s three consecutive Champions League titles from 1974-1976 came in the midst of a successful decade domestically and internationally for the club. Their six Champions League titles are a German record.

T-3. Liverpool FC (6)

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  • Years Won: (1977, 1978, 1981, 1984, 2005, 2019)
  • Final Appearances: 10

Liverpool is a Premier league team that has historically been a powerhouse in English football. They are one of the most valuable clubs in the world, boasting 19 League titles, eight FA Cups, nine League Cups and 16 FA Community Shields.

5. Barcelona (5)

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  • Years Won: (1992, 2006, 2009, 2011, 2015)
  • Final Appearances: 8

Barcelona became just the first European club to achieve the continental treble twice when they won in 2015. The treble is achieved when a team wins 3 championships in a single season. A true treble requires a club to win their premier national league competition, the main national cup championship, and the main continental trophy.

6. Ajax Amsterdam (4)

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  • Years Won: (1971, 1972, 1973, 1995)
  • Final Appearances: 6

AFC Ajax became the first team to win back-to-back-to-back Champions League titles since Real Madrid’s reign two decades prior. Ajax is the most successful club from The Netherlands.

T-7. Manchester United (3)

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  • Years Won: (1968, 1999, 2008)
  • Final Appearances: 5

Manchester United’s championship win in 1968 made them the first British club to win the European Cup (before it was rebranded as the Champions League). The club holds the record for English League titles (20) and FA Cups (12). Manchester United is the first English club to have won a treble. Their extensive list of championships makes them one of the most decorated clubs in England.

T-7. Inter Milan (3)

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  • Years Won: (1964, 1965, 2010)
  • Final Appearances: 6

Inter Milan has 35 total domestic trophies, including 19 league titles. The club is a part of the Serie A league, which is the top league in Italy. Their Champions League win in 2010 came after their Coppa Italia and Scudetto win in the same year, which successful completed the treble for the club.

T-9. Juventus (2)

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  • Years Won: (1985, 1996)
  • Final Appearances: 9

Juventus, also a part of Serie Ae, has won a whopping 36 league titles including 14 Coppa Italia and 9 Supercoppa Italiana. Some of the best players in the world have played for Juventus, which is the most widely supported club across Italy.

T-9. Benfica (2)

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  • Years Won: (1961, 1962)
  • Final Appearances: 7

Benfica, founded in Lisbon, Portugal, is the most popular and successful team in the Primeira Liga. The club has never been relegated from the top flight of their league, and their 38 Primeira Liga titles are a record for the league.

T-9. Chelsea (2)

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  • Years Won: 2012, 2021
  • Final Appearances: 3

Chelsea is a Premier League team based in Fulham, West London. They are one of the most valuable teams in the world, and their rivalries with teams such as Arsenal, Tottenham Hotspurm and Leeds United are some of the most storied in English football.

T-9. Nottingham Forest (2)

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  • Years Won: 1979, 1980
  • Final Appearances: 2

Nottingham Forest is one of the most famous clubs in English football. Forest was relegated from the Premier League in 1999, and it was not until 2022 that they were finally promoted back into England's top league.

T-9. Porto (2)

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  • Years Won: (1987, 2004)
  • Final Appearances: 2

FC Porto is a Primera Liga team based on Porto, Portugal. They have won the league 29 times, which is the second most to Benfica. In 2002, Porto won the UEFA Cup, Primeira Liga, and Taca de Portugal to give them their first treble.

Note: The Champions League was previously known as the European Cup until 1992. The total number of titles won by each team includes both European Cup and Champions League titles.

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