Who will win the Champions League this season?
With everyone from Manchester City to Liverpool and Real Madrid to Bayern Munich fancying their chances of lifting ‘Big Ears’ on May 23, you can rest assured that the conclusion of the 2021/22 campaign will be an entertaining one.
The next few weeks and months are set to see some of Europe’s strongest sides slugging it out to join an illustrious list of teams to have gotten their hands on the Champions League trophy.
Champions League-winning teams
There are certain titles in football that instantly install its winners as immortals in the sport with legends such as Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi, Ronaldinho and more having all conquered the continent.
Therefore, as we wait and see how the remaining knockout games of the current Champions League campaign play out, the time feels right to look back on the European kings that have come before.
Here at GIVEMESPORT, we’ve taken on the unenviable challenge of ranking every single Champions League-winning side before, and now FourFourTwo have tried their hand at rating all 29 teams.
Their selection criteria considered the quality of the team, performances across the entire competition, entertainment factor and how memorable their triumph was.
Man Utd vs Atletico Madrid Match Reaction (Football Terrace)
Every Champions League winner ranked
So, from Real Madrid’s ‘Galacticos’ to Manchester United‘s treble-winners, it’s fair to say that FFT had plenty of tough questions to consider when it came to ordering the tournament’s previous winners.
How did they answer them? Well, let’s find out by taking a walk through all 29 teams to have won the Champions League since its 1992 inception from worst to best down below:
29. Marseille (1993)
Should Marseille have been stripped of this title? We’ll leave you to decide, but the fact that the Champions League’s maiden victors were shrouded in match-fixing controversy means they’re deservedly stapled to the bottom rung.
28. Chelsea (2012)
Yeh, let’s be honest here, the Blues certainly rode their luck on the way to glory in Munich, even if that famous night will always be one of the Champions League’s greatest fairytale stories.
27. AC Milan (2003)
Scoring just four strikes in five knockout games, including the competition’s only goalless final, Milan weren’t the all-guns-blazing entertainers that their team sheet might have implied.
26. FC Porto (2004)
Fortune favours the brave and Jose Mourinho’s achievement is one for the ages, but there’s no denying that Porto benefited from more than a few lucky breaks against United and Deportivo La Coruna.
25. AC Milan (1994)
While Milan might have destroyed Barcelona‘s ‘Dream Team’ 4-0 in the final, the negative Italian champions were nevertheless pretty boring to watch having scored just six goals in as many group games.
24. Inter Milan (2010)
It’s almost like Mourinho teams aren’t the most entertaining, isn’t it?
23. Real Madrid (2016)
This seems a tad harsh, but Zinedine Zidane’s lowest-rated Champions League win as Real manager was admittedly the luckiest as they ultimately relied on penalties to get the better of Atletico Madrid.
22. Borussia Dortmund (1997)
There’s a lot to enjoy here with Matthias Sammer thriving off the back of his Ballon d’Or win, Paulo Sousa lifting the title for a second consecutive season and Lars Ricken scoring that lob in the final.
21. Real Madrid (1998)
Jupp Heynckes focused so much on ending Los Blancos’ 32-year wait for Champions League glory that he actually got the sack for finishing fourth in La Liga despite bringing ‘Big Ears’ back home.
20. Liverpool (2005)
Generous? Maybe, but you’ve got to credit the Reds for pulling off one of the greatest sporting comebacks in history, fighting back from 3-0 down against AC Milan when they had absolutely no right to win.
19. Chelsea (2021)
The current holders deserve plenty of respect for seeing off Atletico Madrid, Real Madrid and Manchester City on the way to a historic second win spearheaded by the indomitable N’Golo Kante.
18. Manchester United (2008)
While, yes, the Red Devils needed a John Terry slip to even make the list, the quality in Sir Alex Ferguson’s side from Ronaldo to Nemanja Vidic and Wayne Rooney to Paul Scholes speaks for itself.
17. Juventus (1996)
Despite the Old Lady having endured more misery than magnificence in Champions League finals, the brilliance of Alessandro Del Piero and holding their nerve in a penalty shootout bucked the trend in 1996.
16. Real Madrid (2000)
From Fernando Redondo’s outrageous turn at Old Trafford to Steve McManaman’s classy finish in the final, there was plenty to enjoy about the first of Real’s two Champions League-winning sides under Vicente Del Bosque.
15. Liverpool (2019)
A desperately boring final against Tottenham Hotspur shouldn’t take the shine off a heavy-metal Liverpool side that unforgettably came back from 3-0 down against Barcelona to win 4-0.
14. AC Milan (2007)
Kaka was at his Ballon d’Or-winning best when Carlo Ancelotti’s second Champions League winners, dripping with quality, steamrolled the likes of Bayern Munich and United on their way to glory in Athens.
13. Barcelona (2006)
The Frank Rijkaard era at Camp Nou received the marquee trophy it deserved when Henrik Larsson’s pair of assists off the bench in Paris ensured that Barca capitalised on Arsenal going down to 10 men.
12. Bayern Munich (2001)
A stellar side that exorcised the demons of 1999 with a nerve-shredding win against Valencia where Oliver Kahn produced the heroics, as well as some fabulous fair play, in the deciding penalty shootout.
11. Barcelona (2011)
Hmmm. We’re a little miffed about the Barcelona side that made United look like Wembley’s local pub team finishing so low because it might just have been the most complete final performance of all time.
10. Real Madrid (2002)
A timeless volley from Zidane put the cherry on the cake for a Real team that was up to its ears in quality from Luis Figo to Roberto Carlos and Raul to Fernando Hierro. Iconic.
9. Real Madrid (2014)
Yes, it might have taken a stoppage-time header from Sergio Ramos to save the day, but Real deserved ‘La Decima’ on the basis of Ronaldo’s outrageous 17-goal heroics alone.
8. Ajax (1995)
The return of ‘Total Football’ that launched Clarence Seedorf, Edgar Davids, Jari Litmanen, Finidi George and Marc Overmars to stardom, while 18-year-old Patrick Kluivert popped up with the winner in the final.
7. Bayern Munich (2013)
The redemption of Arjen Robben was enough to defeat Jurgen Klopp’s Dortmund as a Bayern side stacked with legends such as Franck Ribery, Manuel Neuer and Philipp Lahm bagged the title they deserved.
6. Real Madrid (2017)
You knew from the moment that Ronaldo cut through Juventus’ revered defence like a warm knife through butter that Real’s all-conquering side were bigger, better and stronger than their 2016 winners.
5. Real Madrid (2018)
A pair of Loris Karius errors might have carried Real over the line, but rounding off a hat-trick of Champions League wins in Kyiv was the glorious crescendo of the Zidane era at the Bernabeu.
4. Barcelona (2015)
There have been few more beautiful sights in Champions League football than Luis Suarez, Neymar and Messi causing havoc under the floodlights, ultimately culminating in this treble-securing triumph.
3. Bayern Munich (2020)
An omnipotent force of nature that slaughtered Tottenham 7-2 and obliterated Barcelona 8-2, this Robert Lewandowski-led juggernaut was the definition of entertainment.
2. Manchester United (1999)
Believe it or not, United didn’t exactly set the world alight on their way to Champions League glory in 1999, but clearly the nature of their comeback and winning the treble has given them a hearty boost.
1. Barcelona (2009)
Xavi, Andres Iniesta, Samuel Eto’o, Thierry Henry, Carles Puyol, Yaya Toure, Dani Alves, Gerard Pique, Lionel Messi… goodness gracious me. Pep Guardiola’s sextuple-winning squad truly were something else.
A stunning level of quality
Just look at the level of quality. Madness.
You know some truly astonishing teams have won the Champions League when you’re seeing sides galvanised by Paolo Maldini, Steven Gerrard, Didier Drogba and Franco Baresi placing in the bottom half.
However, just as the name of the competition suggests, the Champions League is all about putting the best of the best against the best of the best, so nothing short of world-class brilliance is required to go all the way.
Some teams happen to secure the famous trophy in more dramatic and impressive ways than others, but any Champions League-winning side can rest easy knowing that they achieved something historic.
Only time will tell who joins them at the Stade de France in May. We can’t wait to find out.