Simply known as the Champions League, this is one of the most prestigious club competitions in European Football. Formed in 1992, the competition replaced the European Cup and added a group stage and allowed multiple entrants from certain countries. Previously, one club champion from each country competed in knockout format in the European Cup. Real Madrid, the 2014 champion, is the most successful football club in Champions League history and have won it 10 times. Spanish clubs have won the tournament 14 times. England and Italy have won it 12 times each.
Champions League begins in mid-July and is comprised of three knockout qualifying rounds and a playoff round. Europe’s strongest national leagues provide up to four teams for the competition (will expand to five in 2015-16). The 10 teams that survive the knockout rounds enter the group stage with 22 other teams that qualified in advance by winning league championships or by finishing 2nd – 4th in their National Championship. The 32 teams are placed into 8 groups of four teams and play each other in a double round-robin system. The eight group winners and runner-ups move on to the knockout phase with the finals taking place in May.
European Leagues that Compete in Champions League
Here is a list of European Football Leagues that send teams to the Champions League tournament:
- Spanish La Liga – the strongest league in Europe according to the UEFA’s league coefficient. Real Madrid, Sevilla, Barcelona and Atletico Madrid are a few of the elite clubs.
- English Premier League – currently ranked second according to the UEFA’s league coefficient. Manchester United, Manchester City, Arsenal and Chelsea are a few of the elite clubs.
- Germany Bundesliga – currently ranked third according to the UEFA’s league coefficient. FC Bayern has won Budesliga 23 times.
- Italy Serie A – currently ranked fourth according to the UEFA’s league coefficient. Host of three of the world’s most famous clubs – Juventus, Milan and Internazionale
Here are the list of clubs with multiple UEFA Championsa League titles:
- Real Madrid (10)
- Milan (7)
- Bayern Munich (5)
- Liverpool (5)
- Barcelona (4)
- Ajax (4)
- Internazionale (3)
- Manchester United (3)
- Benefica (2)
- Juventus (2)
- Nottingham Forest (2)
- Porto (2)