Real Madrid top the all-time Champions League and European Cup league table

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Where would we be without the Champions League?

There's nothing better can kicking your feet up after work on a Tuesday or Wednesday night and watching the best teams in European football slug it out for one of sport's biggest prizes.

And just when it looked as though Real Madrid had attained some sort of monopoly over the competition, the 2018-19 season served us up with some truly spine-tingling moments.

Just as Lionel Messi had scored one of the best free-kicks in football history, Liverpool produced one of the greatest comebacks ever with their astonishing 4-0 victory at Anfield.

Then, just the next day, Tottenham delivered the most unexpected blow to Ajax's fairytale story with a dramatic comeback in Amsterdam virtue of Lucas Moura's hat-trick.

Champions League history

The final between the two Premier League sides was admittedly pretty boring, but last year still added plenty more memories and moments to the already vast Champions League mythos.

So, with the group-stage draw for this season now just a few hours away, it makes sense to indulge in the history of a competition that - albeit rebranded along the way - has lasted 65 years.

The aforementioned Real remain the most decorated team with no less than 13 trophies to their name, closely followed by AC Milan and Liverpool on seven and six victories respectively.

Tottenham Hotspur v Liverpool - UEFA Champions League  Final

All-time European Cup table

However, let's imagine for one second that the 'League' in Champions League was taken a little more seriously and the format was reorganised into one massive table.

We wouldn't do anything to change the current layout and its knockout stage thrills, but the data and customisation tools on Transfermarkt have allowed us think hypothetically.

As a result, we've converted every result in Champions League and European Cup history into the traditional league format: three points for a win, one point for a draw and nothing for a loss.

And when you apply that to over half a century of footballing history, it makes for quite the result: 

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The fact that Real Madrid have the lead by over 200 points is nothing short of staggering.

There's just something about the Champions League that brings the best out of Los Blancos and Bayern Munich would need a huge era of dominance to even vaguely close the gap.

It might come as a surprise to see Manchester United as the top Premier League side, despite having won less titles than Liverpool, but they have clearly been rewarded for consistency. 

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Then, Arsenal have the ignominious title of being the highest ranked team to have actually never won the trophy, followed by the trio of Dynamo Kiev, Atletico Madrid and Anderlecht.

You can even trace far enough down to the table for teams like Nottingham Forest, CSKA Sofia and Leeds United who have all been long absent from the competition.

However, it's the cold, hard silverware that matters most and there's no award for Arsenal in 11th.

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