Champions League: What Country Has Been the Most Successful
Since the Champions League's inception in 1992, there has been 118 participants from 31 countries. We all know who's been the most successful clubs: Barcelona, Real Madrid, Manchester United, AC Milan etc. But who has been the most successful nation?
That's what I'm trying to find out.
I've looked at every Champions League season since 1992, and after some work I have been able to make a top 10; well I can make a top, 31 but most of the countries after 10 are small nations that don't really make an impact in Champions League.
On with the list!
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I've worked this out using a simple point system, which appears pretty accurate.
Champions League Win 12
Champions League Final 10
Champions League Semi-Final 8
Champions League Quarter-Final 6
Champions League Second Round 4
Champions League Group Stage 2
Note: From 1992 until 1994 the Champions League only consisted of 12 teams so there was no second round or quarter-finals.
From 1994 until 1997 the Champions League only consisted of 16 teams so there was no second round.
From 1997 until 1999 the Champions League only consisted of 24 teams so again there was no second round with the two best runners-up from the group stage going through to the quarter-finals.
The current Champions League format was introduced in 1999, until 2003 the second round consisted of the 16 teams being split into four groups.
Those Who Missed out
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These are the countries who didn't get enough points to crack the top 10.
Scotland 38 (Celtic, Rangers)
Belgium 32 (Anderlecht, Club Brugge, Genk, Lierse, Standard Liège)
Norway 30 (Molde, Rosenborg)
Czech Republic 22 (Slavia Prague, Sparta Prague)
Romania 18 (CFR Cluj, Steaua București, Unirea Urziceni)
Sweden 16 (AIK, Göteborg, Helsingborgs)
Switzerland 16 (Basel, Grasshopper, FC Thun, Zürich)
Austria 14 (Rapid Wien, Red Bull Salzburg, Sturm Graz)
Denmark 12 (Aalborg, Brøndby, Copenhagen)
Croatia 10 (Dinamo Zagreb, Hajduk Split)
Israel 8 (Maccabi Haifa, Maccabi Tel Aviv)
Poland 8 (Legia Warsaw, Widzew Łódź)
Slovakia 6 (FC Petržalka, KoŠice, Žilina)
Cyprus 4 (Anorthosis Famagusta, APOEL)
Hungary 4 (Debreceni, Ferencvárosi)
Serbia 4 (Partizan)
Belarus 2 (BATE Borisov)
Bulgaria 2 (Levski Sofia)
Finland 2 (HJK Helsinki)
Slovenia 2 (Maribor)
10. (Tied) Ukraine
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Clubs: Dynamo Kyiv, Shakhtar Donetsk
Semi-Final 1 (Dynamo Kyiv 1998/1999
Quarter-Final 2 (Dynamo Kyiv 1997/1998 Shakhtar Donetsk 2010/2011)
Second Round 1 (Dynamo Kyiv 1999/2000)
Group Stage 15 (Dynamo Kyiv (10) 1994/1995, 2000/2001, 2001/2002, 2002/2003, 2003/2004, 2004/2005, 2006/2007, 2007/2008, 2008/2009, 2009/2010 Shakhtar Donetsk (5) 2000/2001, 2004/2005, 2006/2007, 2007/2008, 2008/2009)
Ukrainian clubs have always performed well enough in European competition that they have been granted two Champions League places for well over a decade now. Ironically, that's just how many Ukrainian clubs have qualified for the Champions League with Dynamo Kyiv and current Ukrainian kings Shakhtar Donetsk.
For most of the 1990's, the champion from every major European country qualified for the Champions League, so Dynamo Kyiv were involved a lot. In the late 1990's, powered by the strikeforce of Sergei Rebrov and Andriy Shevchenko they actually went pretty far in the competition, reaching the last eight in 1998 before going all the way to the semi-finals in 1999 where they were knocked out by Bayern Munich. Since 2000 they have appeared in the competition nine times but have failed to go beyond the group stage.
In the early 2000's, Shakhtar Donetsk began challenging Kyiv for the title as the best club in Ukraine,and they've achieved it. They've qualified for the Champions League six times this century, and after failing to go beyond the group stage in their first five years, they reached the quarter-finals in 2011. They were knocked out by eventual champions Barcelona. Shakhtar Donetsk are currently seen as one of the best sides in Europe.
10. (Tied) Turkey
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Clubs: Beşiktaş Bursaspor, Fenerbahçe Galatasaray
Quarter-Final 2 (Fenerbahçe 2007/2008 Galatasaray 2000/2001)
Second Round 1 (Galatasaray 2001/2002)
Group Stage 20 (Beşiktaş (6) 1997/1998, 2000/2001, 2003/2004, 2007/2008, 2009/2010 Bursaspor 2010/2011 Fenerbahçe (5) 1996/1997, 2001/2002, 2004/2005, 2005/2006, 2008/2009 Galatasaray (8) 1993/1994, 1994/1995, 1997/1998, 1998/1999, 1999/2000, 2002/2003, 2003/2004, 2006/2007)
Much like Ukraine and the other countries low on this list, their clubs have had a lot of Champions League experience but much of it has been in the group stage.
Turkey's most successful club in the Champions League has been Galatasaray who have reached the Champions League 10 times. At the turn of the century they were one of the best teams in Europe with players like Hasan Sas, Hakan Suker, Emre and Umit Karan. They reached the quarter-finals of the Champions League in 2001, losing to Spanish giants Real Madrid. In recent years their domestic form has dipped, preventing them from qualifying.
Fenerbahçe and Beşiktaş have both qualified for the Champions League six times with Fenerbahce being the most successful. They reached the quarter-finals in 2008, losing to Chelsea by one goal. They both passed out Galatasaray as Turkeys most successful clubs, qualifying for the Champions League for most of the last decade.
The last couple of years the power has shifted in Turkey, as the three-big Istanbul haven't been so dominant domestically. This is shown by Bursaspor qualifying for the 2010-2011 Champions League and the current season, where Trabzonspor were Turkey's sole representatives because of a corruption scandal that involved champions Fenerbahçe who were banned from the competition.
Turkey has two Champions League places.
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Quarter-Final 2 (CSKA Moscow 2009/2010 Spartak Moscow 1995/1996)
Second Round 3 (Lokomotiv Moscow (2) 2002/2003, 2003/2004 Spartak Moscow 2000/2001)
Group Stage 16 (CSKA Moscow (4) 1992/1993, 2004/2005, 2006/2007, 2007/2008 Lokomotiv Moscow 2001/2002 Rubin Kazan (2) 2009/2010, 2010/2011 Spartak Moscow (8) 1993/1994, 1994/1995, 1998/1999, 1999/2000, 2001/2002, 2002/2003, 2006/2007, 2010/2011 Zenit Saint Petersburg 2008/2009)
Following Russia's emergence as one of the best international football teams in the world in recent years, the Russian league has become one of the strongest in Europe.
Spartak Moscow is Russia's most experienced club in the Champions League with 10 appearances. However, being successful domestically doesn't mean you're going to be successful in Europe as they only advanced past the group stage twice. In 1996 they reached the quarter-finals in a 24-team tournament where there was no second round.
CSKA Moscow and Lokomotiv Moscow have been Russia's most successful clubs in the Champions League. In just three Champions League appearances, Lokomotiv reached the second round twice and CSKA Moscow reached the quarter-finals of a 32-team tournament in 2010 before losing to eventual champions Internazionale of Italy.
In recent years the power has shifted in Russia with Rubin Kazan and Zenit Saint Petersburg qualifying for the Champions League. Russia has two Champions League places, and Zenit along with CSKA are the two best clubs in Russia at the moment. The Russian league has also changed it's schedule to compete with the other European leagues, starting in August and ending in May.
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Clubs: AEK Athens, Olympiakos, Panathinakos
Semi-Final 1 (Panathinaikos 1995/1996)
Quarter-Final 2 (Olympiakos 1998/1999 Panathinaikos 2001/2002)
Second Round 4 (Olympiakos (2) 2007/2008, 2009/2010 Panathinaikos (2) 2000/2001, 2008/2009)
Group Stage 17 (AEK Athens (3) 2002/2003, 2003/2004, 2006/2007 Olympiakos (9) 1997/1998, 1999/2000, 2001/2001, 2001/2002, 2002/2003, 2003/2004, 2004/2005, 2005/2006, 2006/2007 Panathinaikos (5) 1998/1999, 2003/2004, 2004/2005, 2005/2006, 2010/2011)
Greece is the last of the countries that get on the list from mostly group stage seasons. Since the inception of the Champions League it has mostly had two places, and for a short time it had three.
Olympiakos is Greece's most experienced club in the Champions League with 12 appearances. It has gone beyond the group stages three times with a quarter-final appearance in 1999 in a 24-team season, losing to Juventus. In recent times it has reached the second round twice losing to Chelsea and Bordeaux, respectively.
Panathinaikos has been Greece's most successful club in the Champions League. It has gone beyond the group stage four times in nine appearances. In 1996 it reached the semi-finals before losing to Ajax, and it reached the quarter-finals in 2002 before losing to Spanish giants Barcelona.
AEK Athens has had three unremarkable appearances in the Champions League. Only one team from Greece is allocated a Champions League place now, showing how far the league has fallen. There is no sign of a club other than the three who have appeared qualifying.
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Winners 1 (Ajax 1994/1995)
Final 1 (Ajax 1995/1996)
Semi-Final 2 (Ajax 1996/1997 PSV Eindhoven 2004/2005)
Quarter-Final 2 (Ajax 2002/2003 PSV Eindhoven 2006/2007)
Second Round 3 (Ajax 2005/2006 Feyenoord 1999/2000 PSV Eindhoven 2005/2006)
Group Stage 21 (Ajax (4) 1998/1999, 2003/2004, 2004/2005, 2010/2011 AZ Alkmaar 2009/2010 Feyenoord (3) 1997/1998, 2001/2002, 2002/2003 Heerenveen 2000/2001 PSV Eindhoven (10) 1992/1993, 1997/1998, 1998/1999, 1999/2000, 2000/2001, 2001/2002, 2002/2003, 2003/2004, 2007/2008, 2008/2009 Twente 2010/2011 Willem II 1999/2000)
The first actual successful Champions League nation on this list. It's such a shame that Dutch clubs act as feeder clubs.
PSV Eindhoven is the most experienced club from the Netherlands to appear in the Champions League, with 13 seasons under its belts. While most of its Champions League appearances have ended in the group stage, there was a period in the mid 2000's when it was one of the best clubs in Europe. It went beyond the group stage three years in a row reaching the semi-final, second round and quarter-final in 2005, 2006 and 2007 respectively. It was knocked out by AC Milan, Lyon and Liverpool.
The title of the Netherlands most successful club however goes to Ajax, it's hard to argue. It was easily one of the top five teams in Europe in the mid 1990's, and won it in 1995, beating AC Milan in the final. It very nearly repeated a year later, only to lose to Juventus in the final. After a couple of years away it had begun to resurface in the Champions League again.
Feyenoord has qualified for the competition four times, reaching the second round in 2000 where it was knocked out by Chelsea and Lazio.
AZ Alkmaar, Heerenveen, Twente and Willem II have all reached the group stages once. The Netherlands currently have two Champions League places.
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Clubs: Benfica, Boavista, Braga, Porto, Sporting
Winner 1 (Porto 2003/2004)
Semi-Final 1 (Porto 1993/1994)
Quarter-Final 5 (Benfica (2) 1994/1995, 2005/2006 Porto (3) 1996/1997, 1999/2000, 2008/2009)
Second Round 7 (Boavista 2001/2002 Porto (5) 2001/2002, 2004/2005, 2006/2007, 2007/2008, 2009/2010 Sporting 2008/2009)
Group Stage 15 (Benfica (4) 1998/1999, 2006/2007, 2007/2008, 2010/2011 Boavista 1999/2000 Braga 2010/2011 Porto (5) 1992/1993, 1995/1996, 1997/1998, 1998/1999, 2005/2006 Sporting (4) 1997/1998, 2000/2001, 2006/2007, 2007/2008)
Portugal has one club to thank that it's this high–Porto.
Porto is by far the most experienced and successful Portuguese club in the Champions League with 15 appearances, and more often than not, it has gone beyond the group stage. In 2004, Porto won the Champions League in a final no one would have predicted at the start of the competition as it faced Monaco of France in the final. It has been one of the most consistent clubs in Europe for well over a decade now, and its dominance shows no signs of slowing down.
Benfica has qualified for the Champions League six times since its inception, and has reached the quarter-finals twice since them. Its most recent quarter-finals appearance was in 2006, when it was beaten by eventual champions Barcelona. Portugal's third club, Sporting, has qualified five times, reaching the second round once where it was beaten by Bayern Munich.
Boavista had two seasons in the Champions League around the millennium and recently Braga has qualified for the competition. Portuguese teams continue to compete in the competition and are given three Champions League places.
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Clubs: Auxerre, Bordeaux, Lens, Lille, Lyon, Marseille, Monaco, Nantes, Paris-Saint Germain
Winners 1 (Marseille 1992/1993)
Final 1 (Monaco 2003/2004)
Semi-Final 5 (Lyon 2009/2010 Monaco (2) 1993/1994, 1997/1998 Nantes 1995/1996 Paris-Saint Germain 1994/1995)
Quarter-Final 4 (Bordeaux 2009/2010 Lyon (3) 2003/2004, 2004/2005, 2005/2006)
Second Round 12 (Bordeaux 1999/2000 Lille 2006/2007 Lyon (5) 2000/2001, 2006/2007, 2007/2008, 2008/2009, 2010/2011 Marseille (2) 1999/2000, 2010/2011 Monaco 2004/2005 Nantes 2001/2002 Paris-Saint Germain 2000/2001)
Group Stage 17 (Auxerre (2) 2002/2003, 2010/2011 Bordeaux (2) 2006/2007, 2008/2009 (2) Lens 1998/1999, 2002/2003 Lille (2) 2001/2002, 2005/2006 Lyon (2) 2001/2002, 2002/2003 Marseille (4) 2003/2004, 2007/2008, 2008/2009, 2009/2010 Monaco 2000/2001 Paris-Saint Germain (2) 1997/1998, 2004/2005)
Now we come to the top-heavy part of this list. Most of the clubs from the next five countries feature in the latter stages of the competition more often than not.
Lyon is by far France's most experienced club, and had another not won it, it would probably be the most successful. It has qualified for the Champions League every year since 2000 and only twice has failed to reach the knockout stages. In 2010 it reached the semi-final, where it lost to German giants Bayern Munich. It was probably one of the best clubs in Europe in the mid-2000's, reaching the last eight three years in a row with its talisman, Juninho.
Marseille and Monaco are the only French clubs to reach the Champions League final with Marseille winning the very first in 1993, and Monaco losing out to Porto in 2004. Marseille hasn't been successful otherwise, while Monaco has reached the semi-finals twice. Monaco now find itself in the second tier of French football.
The rest of the French clubs to have qualified from the Champions League have only had a couple of seasons, although Lens was the only club that failed to reach the knockout stage. France currently has three Champions League places.
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Winner 2 (Bayern Munich 2000/2001 Borussia Dortmund 1996/1997)
Final 3 (Bayer Leverkusen 2001/2002 Bayern Munich (2) 1998/1999, 2009/2010)
Semi-Final 4 (Bayern Munich (2) 1994/1995, 1999/2000 Borussia Dortmund 1997/1998 Schalke 2010/2011)
Quarter-Final 9 (Bayer Leverkusen 1997/1998 Bayern Munich (5) 1997/1998, 2001/2002, 2004/2005, 2006/2007, 2008/2009 Borussia Dortmund 1995/1996 Kaiserslautern 1998/1999 Schalke 2007/2008)
Second Round 11 (Bayer Leverkusen (2) 2002/2003, 2004/2005 Bayern Munich (2) 2003/2004, 2005/2006, 2010/2011 Borussia Dortmund 2002/2003 Hertha Berlin 1999/2000 Stuttgart (2) 2003/2004, 2009/2010 Werder Bremen (2) 2004/2005, 2005/2006)
Group Stage 16 (Bayer Leverkusen (2) 1999/2000, 2000/2001 Bayern Munich 2002/2003 Borussia Dortmund (2) 1999/2000, 2001/2002 Hamburg (2) 2000/2001, 2006/2007 Schalke (2) 2001/2002, 2005/2006 Stuttgart 2007/2008 Werder Bremen (5) 1993/1994, 2006/2007, 2007/2008, 2008/2009, 2010/2011 Wolfsburg 2009/2010)
The first country on this list to have two Champions League winners.
Germany's most successful and consistent club in the Champions League has been Bayern Munich. In its 13 Champions League seasons, it has only failed to qualify for the knockout stage once. After losing to Manchester United in the 1999 final, it finally won the Champions League in 2001, beating Valencia on penalties in the final. It has reached the final once more since then, losing to Internazionale in 2010.
Borussia Dortmund is the only other German club to win the Champions League, beating Juventus in the 1996 final. Besides that win though, it has remained relatively unsuccessful in the Champions League due to its fall from grace in the domestic league. Although recently, it has emerged as a force again. It has only qualified for the competition six times, and reached the knockout stages four times.
The other two German clubs to go far in the competition have been Bayer Leverkusen and Schalke. Leverkusen reached the 2002 final only to lose to Real Madrid, and it reached the 1998 quarter-final, losing to Real again who also won it that year. Schalke reached the semi-final in 2011, losing to Manchester United, and it reached the 2008 quarter-finals only to lose to Barcelona.
The other German clubs have been relatively successful but haven't reached the latter stages as much as the ones mentioned because they haven't qualified enough. Werder Bremen has qualified seven time but only reached the knockout stages twice.
Germany currently holds four Champions League places.
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Winner 5 (AC Milan (3) 1993/1994, 2002/2003, 2006/2007 Internazionale 2009/2010 Juventus 1995/1996)
Final 6 (AC Milan (3) 1992/1993, 1994/1995, 2004/2005 Juventus (3) 1996/1997, 1997/1998, 2002/2003)
Semi-Final 3 (AC Milan 2005/2006 Internazionale 2002/2003 Juventus 1998/1999)
Quarter-Final 11 (AC Milan 2003/2004 Internazionale (5) 1998/1999, 2004/2005, 2005/2006, 2006/2007, 2010/2011 (2) Juventus 2004/2005, 2005/2006 Lazio 1999/2000 Roma (2) 2006/2007, 2007/2008)
Second Round 16 (AC Milan (4) 2000/2001, 2007/2008, 2009/2010, 2010/2011 Fiorentina (2) 1999/2000, 2009/2010 Internazionale (2) 2007/2008, 2008/2009 Juventus (3) 2001/2002, 2003/2004, 2008/2009 Lazio 2000/2001 Roma (3) 2001/2002 2002/2003, 2008/2009, 2010/2011)
Group Stage 12 (AC Milan (2) 1996/1997, 1999/2000 Fiorentina 2008/2009 Internazionale 2003/2004 Juventus (2) 2000/2001, 2009/2010 Lazio (3) 2001/2002, 2003/2004, 2007/2008 Parma 1997/1998 Roma 2004/2005 Udinese 2005/2006)
This country has produced five winning clubs, so it's no wonder it is high in this list. Italian clubs will always be a threat.
AC Milan is the most successful Italian club in the Champions League. It reached the first three Champions League finals, losing to Marseille in 1993 and Ajax in 1995, but beating Barcelona 4-0 in the 1994 final. In the mid-2000's it did a similar thing, reaching three finals but winning two. It beat Juventus on penalties in 2003 and beat Liverpool in 2007, which was payback for its loss to Liverpool on penalties in the 2005 final. It has been in the Champions Leagues 14 times, and only failed to reach the knockout stage twice.
Juventus, another Italian giant, won the Champions League once in 1996, as it beat Ajax. It didn't have the luck of Milan in its other three finals, losing back to back finals in 1997 and 1998 to Borussia Dortmund and Real Madrid, respectively; and losing another on penalties to Milan in 2003. If it hadn't been for the match-fixing scandal in 2006, I believe it would have added to its lone trophy–in my opinion, it was the best club in the world at the time.
The final Italian winner was Internazionale, which won its lone final in 2010, beating Bayern Munich. After a tough decade in the 1990's, Inter only began competing domestically again in the late 1990's, and since 1998 has qualified for every tournament, only once not reaching the knockout stages.
The other Italian teams to do well in the competition are the Rome pair–Roma and Lazio.They have three quarter-final appearances between them.
Italian football has taken a step back in recent years, and UEFA has taken a Champions League place off them as Internazional was the only club doing well. Italy now has three.
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Clubs: Arsenal, Blackburn, Chelsea, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester United, Newcastle, Tottenham
Winners 3 (Liverpool 2004/2005 Manchester United (2) 1998/1999, 2007/2008)
Final 5 (Arsenal 2005/2006 Chelsea 2007/2008 Liverpool 2006/2007 Manchester United (2) 2008/2009, 2010/2011)
Semi-Final 10 (Arsenal 2008/2009 Chelsea (4) 2003/2004, 2004/2005, 2006/2007, 2008/2009 Leeds 2000/2001 Liverpool 2007/2008 Manchester United (3) 1996/1997, 2001/2002, 2006/2007)
Quarter-Final 14 (Arsenal (4) 2000/2001, 2003/2004, 2007/2008, 2009/2010 Chelsea (2) 1999/2000, 2010/2011 Liverpool (2) 2001/2002, 2008/2009 Manchester United (5) 1997/1998, 1999/2000, 2001/2001, 2002/2003, 2009/2010 Tottenham 2010/2011)
Second Round 11 (Arsenal (5) 2001/2002, 2002/2003, 2004/2005, 2006/2007, 2010/2011 Chelsea (2) 2005/2006, 2009/2010 Liverpool 2005/2006 Manchester United (2) 2003/2004, 2004/2005 Newcastle 2002/2003)
Group Stage (Arsenal (2) 1998/1999, 1999/2000 Blackburn Rovers 1995/1996 Liverpool (2) 2002/2003, 2009/2010 Manchester United (2) 1994/1995, 2005/2006 Newcastle 1997/1998)
I was going to rank this list from 2001, if I did that England would have surely been number one. Six out of seven years England had a club in the final in the last decade and for three years in a row we had three semi-finalists.
By far the most successful team from England in the Champions League is Manchester United, due in part to how successful it has been in its domestic league. United has played in the Champions League in 16 seasons and only twice has it failed to reach the knockout stages. In 1999 it beat Bayern Munich in a dramatic final to win the trophy and beat another English team Chelsea on penalties in the 2008 final. Besides that, it has had two additional finals, coming up short to Barcelona both times, and has reached the semi-finals another two times.
The other English club to win the Champions League was Liverpool who dominated the competition for years when it was the European Cup. After a decade to forget, Liverpool returned to Europe's elite in 2001 and beat AC Milan on penalties to win the 2005 final. It would end up losing two years later to AC Milan in the final. It has also appeared in one semi-final, but it is currently on a stretch similar to the one it was in during the 1990's.
London duo Arsenal and Chelsea are both beaten Champions League finalists. Barcelona beat Arsenal 2-1 in the 2006 final while Chelsea lost the 2008 final to Manchester United on penalties. Arsenal has also appeared in one semi-final, while in nine Champions League seasons Chelsea has never failed to reach the knockout stages, reaching the semi-final four times.
Blackburn, Leeds, Newcastle and Tottenham are the other English clubs to play in the Champions League. England currently holds four Champions League places.
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Winners 6 (Barcelona (3) 2005/2006, 2008/2009, 2010/2011 Real Madrid (3) 1997/1998, 1999/2000, 2001/2002)
Final 3 (Barcelona 1993/1994 Valencia 1999/2000, 2000/2001)
Semi-Final 9 (Barcelona (4) 1999/2000, 2001/2002, 2007/2008, 2009/2010 Deportivo la Coruña 2003/2004 Real Madrid (3) 2000/2001, 2002/2003, 2010/2011 Villareal 2005/2006)
Quarter-Final 11 (Atlético Madrid 1996/1997, Barcelona (2) 1994/1995, 2002/2003 Deportivo la Coruña (2) 2000/2001, 2001/2002 Real Madrid (3) 1995/1996, 1998/1999, 2003/2004 Valencia (2) 2002/2003, 2006/2007 Villareal 2008/2009)
Second Round 15 (Atlético Madrid 2008/2009 Barcelona (2) 2004/2005, 2006/2007 Celta Vigo 2003/2004 Deportivo la Coruña 2002/2003 Real Madrid (6) 2004/2005, 2005/2006, 2006/2007, 2007/2008, 2008/2009, 2009/2010 Real Sociedad 2003/2004 Sevilla (2) 2007/2008, 2009/2010 Valencia 2010/2011)
Group Stage 10 (Athletic Bilbao 1998/1999 Atlético Madrid 2009/2010 Barcelona (3) 1997/1998, 1998/1999, 2000/2001 Deportivo la Coruña 2004/2005 Mallorca 2001/2002 Real Betis 2005/2006 Valencia (2) 2004/2005, 2007/2008)
Thanks to Barcelona in recent years, Spain has emerged as the top nation in Europe.
Barcelona slightly edges out Real Madrid as Spain's most successful club in the Champions League. It won its first Champions League in 2006, beating Arsenal 2-1 and added two more in 2009 and 2011 beating Manchester United in both finals. It lost its first final in 1994 to AC Milan. In 15 Champions League season it has only failed to advance beyond the Group Stage three times. Barcelona is currently seen as the best club in the world, and should add to its three Champions Leagues sooner rather than later.
Slightly behind Barcelona is Real Madrid which has also won three Champions Leagues. It beat Juventus 1-0 in 1998, fellow Spanish side Valencia 3-0 in 2000 and Bayer Leverkusen 2-1 in 2002 to complete its three Champions Leagues. Since that last Champions League win it has had mixed results after reaching the semi-finals in 2003, only going as far as the second round six years in a row before another semi-final appearance in 2011.
Valencia and Deportivo la Coruna have also performed well in the Champions League. Valencia lost back-to-back finals to Real Madrid and Bayern Munich in 2000 and 2001, respectively, and has usually reached the knockout stages any other time it's appeared. Deportivo was one of the best clubs in Europe in the early 2000's with no real outstanding talent in the team. It reached two Champions League quarter-finals and one semi-final before fading away, and eventually was relegated from La Liga in 2011.
Atlético Madrid, Real Betis, Athletic Bilbao, Celta Vigo, Mallorca, Sevilla, Real Sociedad and Villareal are the other Spanish clubs to compete in the competition. As the current top dogs in Europe they are allocated four places.
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- Manchester United 110
- Barcelona 104
- Real Madrid 102
- AC Milan 100
- Bayern Munich 92
- Juventus 78
- Porto 68
- Arsenal 66
- Chelsea 62
- Internazionale 58
This has been a real hard list to put together; I hope it's enjoyable. After my first attempt at a soccer article failed, hopefully this won't.
Obviously you can't disagree with the list because it's fact, not opinion but I'd love to hear your thoughts anyway so leave them below.
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