The UEFA Champions League is the best competition at the European clubs’ level. Each year, the best clubs of each European country participate with a show contributing with the unique essence of the champion team of each country. It was established during the 1955-56 season under the name of European Champions Clubs. UEFA approved the organisation of a competition among European clubs, a competition at a European level to designate the best club of the old continent with a direct form of elimination. In 1992, the competition was restructured and improved for the first time by adding the group stage in a mini-league format, thus changing the name to the current UEFA Champions League. Only the champions of the national leagues were admitted in the first editions. In 1997, the runners-up also began to participate and in 1999, the teams which were classified up to the fourth position, depending on the regulations established by the UEFA for each league.
Eighteen teams signed up and supported the initiative for the implementation of today´s magical champions: Switzerland, Spain, Portugal, Yugoslavia, Austria, Netherlands, Italy, the Saar Protectorate, Denmark, France, Hungary, Belgium, Sweden, Poland, Germany and Scotland were the final representatives. Initially, England did not support the project, however, years later, Manchester United became the first English representative. The initial year of the project was a big success, with 18 participating teams, which led the second year to increase to 22, including two teams from the same country.
The first 5 years were dominated by Di Stefano and his 'Viking' boys. The Real Madrid team so far managed to win 5 of 5 disputed cups, a feat that entered history, as since then, nobody could beat this record. Real Madrid lost its champion title during the sixth edition of the Sporting Lisbon after being defeated in the second round by its eternal rival, the F.C. Barcelona. The years went by and competition grew and the competition acquired a good level of respect, globally.
One of the marks of pride and status in the world of football are a team´s coats of arms and emblems. Since the beginning of the 2000-01 season, six clubs conquered the privilege of wearing the multiple champion´s logo on the left sleeve of their team shirts. To acquire this privilege, these teams must win three consecutive or five alternative cups, with the design of an oval circle in a vertical position against a silver background, with a white-coloured internal area, the current logo of the competition´s trophy, as well as the number of titles won by the Club, with the official UEFA typography.
Several clubs wear the emblem granted by UEFA for the conquered achievements: Real Madrid (11 Cups emblem), BC Milan (7 Cups emblem), Ajax (4 Cups emblem), Bayern Munich (5 Cups emblem), Liverpool F.C. (5 Cups emblem), F.C. Barcelona (5 Cups emblem). Taking advantage of the number of cups of these teams, it is important to know which Cup is the original and which a replica. A team has the right to retain an original Cup without being obliged to deliver it to a new champion, should it be substituted during the subsequent season, if it wins the UCL three consecutive or five alternate times, this rule was established in 1966. Below, is a list of the teams that can boast of having a glass of original UCL and authentic: Real Madrid (5 followed, alternate 6), F.C. AJAX (3 consecutive) F.C. Bayern (3 consecutive), A.C. Milan (5 alternate), Liverpool. C.F. (5 alternate) and the F.C. Barcelona (5 alternate).
In the world of football, the most frequently used word is goal, we will not fail to mention the European competition´s top scorers. The list of those players, who scored the highest number of goals in the ultimate competition are; Cristiano Ronaldo, the Portuguese player, who currently leads with more than 95 goals, could not be missing from this list. In second position and close to the top of the list is the Argentine Lionel Messi, with 93 goals. The former Real Madrid Captain Raúl González Blanco is in third place with 71, the latter has retired; we can add further players to this list, such as Ruud Van Nistelrooy, the Frenchmen Thierry Henry and Karim Benzema, Inzaghi, Shevchenko or Di Stefano the white legend.
We will not fail to mention any of those players who would be able to vividly describe the thrill of a UCF match, as this is the team that played the highest number of matches in the top European Cup. The Spanish goalkeeper Iker Casillas tops the list, with a total of 166 matches. He played 90% of these matches with the white Real Madrid club before signing up for Oporto. He is followed by another idol and companion of the Spanish national team, Xavi Hernandez, with 157 matches, as well as the veteran Ryan Giggs, with 151 since his debut in 1992 until his recent retirement in 2014.
It all started in the year 1955 and even today, anyone who hears the UEFA CHAMPIONS LEAGUE hymn is filled with a feeling of excitement. You have the chance to experience something which will go down in history, as well as to enjoy great football with a variety of countries and locations. The stadiums hosting the great European finals can be compared with the Olympus of the Greek gods or the Roman Coliseum. Camp Nou, Santigao Bernabeu, Wembley, Allianz Arena or the Stadium of Berlin are some of the football stadiums in which the finals of this competition have been and will be played and which so many teams strive to win and let us share the enjoyment.