The football clubs who have won the most continental trophies

Barcelona win the Champions League.

Winning trophies is a magical feeling that not every fan gets the pleasure of watching their club do, even if they support someone who has a wildly rich history.

For fans of European football, it is admittedly very easy to undervalue the importance of trophies further afield, however.

While everyone panders to see their side lift the league title, or maybe go on an epic domestic cup run, it’s those nights on the continental stage that truly separate the best from the rest.

There are a number of clubs outside of the status quo of the European sphere whose trophy cabinets are simply astonishing. And with it being all too easy to not pay attention to those sides throughout the different continents across the world, it can be shocking to see how they compare with Europe’s top sides.

Seriously, the silverware on offer around the world is endless, and endlessly prestigious. Grab your pens and paper, get ready to take notes, and more importantly, brace yourself for the arguments that may well ensue with friends after learning a little more about trophy hauls – here are the 11 clubs with the most continental trophies to their name.

11. River Plate – 12 continental trophies

Alongside a record 37 Argentine top flight titles, River Plate have a more than healthy cabinet for their continental achievements.

Founded in 1901, ‘La Banda’ boast four Copa Libertadores wins, the first of which in 1986 was accompanied by the International Cup and Copa Interamericana. Also in that cabinet is the Copa and Recopa Sudamericana, Supercopa Libertadores, and Copa Sudamericana Championship.

River Plate have enjoyed major continental success
BUENOS AIRES, ARGENTINA – NOVEMBER 25: Julián Alvarez and teammates of River Plate celebrate winning the championship with the trophy after a match between River Plate and Racing Club as part of Torneo Liga Profesional 2021 at Estadio Monumental Antonio Vespucio Liberti on November 25, 2021 in Buenos Aires, Argentina. (Photo by Rodrigo Valle/Getty Images)

10. Sao Paulo – 12 continental trophies

One of just three sides to never be relegated from the Campeonato Brasileiro Série A, Sao Paulo are true footballing royalty, with their fanbase and achievements.

Having won the Copa Libertadores three times, Sao Paulo have struggled to dominate on an international stage in more recent times, with their first Copa Sudamericana win in 2012 being the most recent continental honour they have won, out of their 12.

Sao Paulo lift the Club World Cup
YOKOHAMA, JAPAN – DECEMBER 18: Ceni Rogerio the Sao Paulo captain lifts the trophy after the FIFA Club World Championship Toyota Cup 2005 Final between Liverpool and Sao Paulo at The Yokohama International Stadium on December 18, 2005 in Yokohama, Japan. (Photo by Junko Kimura/Getty Images)

9. Zamalek SC – 14 continental trophies

Egyptian outfit Zamalek are one of seven sides in the country to have never been relegated to the second division, and have set themselves apart from the majority of the rest with a significant domestic and continental trophy haul.

Boasting five CAF Champions League titles and four CAF Super Cups within those 14 continental trophies, Zamalek became the first Egyptian side to win the Afro-Asian Cup in 1987 and won a second some ten years later.

Zamalek are one of Egypt's most successful sides
CAIRO, EGYPT – NOVEMBER 27: Mahmoud Shekabala (L) of Zamalek celebrates a goal during CAF Champions League Final between Zamalek and Al Ahly at Cairo stadium on November 27, 2020 in Cairo, Egypt. (Photo by Mahmoud Khaled/Getty Images)

8. Bayern Munich – 14 continental trophies

We never hear the end of Bayern Munich‘s unrelenting dominance over the Bundesliga, and while it is mightily impressive, it perhaps isn’t as interesting as their pursuit of continental gold.

They are one of the most successful European sides on an international front, having won six Champions Leagues, a UEFA Cup (now Europa League), the Cup Winners’ Cup and two Super Cups. Their second and most recent FIFA Club World Cup triumph in 2020 ensured they became only the second side ever to win the sextuple of silverware.

The Club World Cup sealed a sextuple for Bayern Munich
DOHA, QATAR – FEBRUARY 11: . Manuel Neuer of FC Bayern Muenchen lifts the FIFA Club World Cup Qatar 2020 trophy after the finale FIFA Club World Cup Qatar 2020 match between FC Bayern Muenchen and Tigres UANL on February 11, 2021 in Doha, Qatar. (Photo by Gaston Szerman/DeFodi Images/Getty Images)

7. Liverpool – 14 continental trophies

Liverpool are the only English side to make it into this list, which highlights just how difficult it is to maintain dominance on more than one front.

Despite the ban on English clubs in Europe following the 1985 Heysel Stadium disaster, the Reds still boast six Champions Leagues, three UEFA Cups/Europa Leagues, four Super Cups and most recently added the FIFA Club World Cup to their collection in 2019.

Jurgen Klopp has brought European success back to Liverpool
BAKU, AZERBAIJAN – MAY 29: Jurgen Klopp, Manager of Liverpool celebrates with the Champions League Trophy after winning the UEFA Champions League Final between Tottenham Hotspur and Liverpool at Estadio Wanda Metropolitano on June 01, 2019 in Madrid, Spain. (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)

Jurrien Timber to Man Utd imminent (Football Terrace)

6. Barcelona – 17 continental trophies

Amid the mass panic of their perilous financial situation in recent times, Barcelona haven’t been able to add to their continental trophy haul for a while now, so it’s a good thing it’s already stacked.

The Blaugrana, on top of their five Champions Leagues, have amassed a record four Cup Winners’ Cups, a joint record five Super Cups, and three Club World Cups. Better yet, they’ve done the continental treble twice over in the 21st Century.

Barcelona have won their trophies in trebles
BERLIN, GERMANY – JUNE 06: Barcelona players including Javier Mascherano, Lionel Messi, Neymar and Luis Suarez celebrate victory with the trophy after the UEFA Champions League Final between Juventus and FC Barcelona at Olympiastadion on June 6, 2015 in Berlin, Germany. (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)

5. Independiente – 18 continental trophies

One of the ‘Big Five’ in Argentine football, Independiente hold the record for the most Copa Libertadores won with an eye-watering seven titles.

It’s been a while since the Argentine giants have climbed the continental mountain, however, with the Copa Sudamericana Championship win in 2018 being their most recent triumph on the international stage.

4. AC Milan – 18 continental trophies

Boasting more FIFA and UEFA trophies than any other Italian side, AC Milan are true footballing heritage. Within their seven Champions League triumphs was an unbelievable period of dominance in the 2000s that was a joy to witness.

The Rossoneri have also won a joint record three Intercontinental Cups and five Super Cups, and have been winning European silverware since the early 1960s.

AC Milan have dominated in the Champions League
ATHENS, GREECE – MAY 23: Milan players celebrate with the trophy following their 2-1 victory during the UEFA Champions League Final match between Liverpool and AC Milan at the Olympic Stadium on May 23, 2007 in Athens, Greece. (Photo by Jamie McDonald/Getty Images)

3. Boca Juniors – 18 continental trophies

One of football’s most iconic sides due to their rampant fanbase, bright colours, esteemed history and raucous stadium, Boca Juniors is a true footballing institute.

Boca are Argentina’s most successful outfit and have translated their domestic dominance into international success, reigning supreme over their rivals River Plate with continental trophies won, even while excluding a small handful of silverware that isn’t officially recognised. A special club.

Boca Juniors have the same number of continental honours as Milan
SANTIAGO DEL ESTERO, ARGENTINA – DECEMBER 08: Carlos Izquierdoz of Boca Juniors and teammates celebrate with the trophy after winning the final match of Copa Argentina 2021 between Boca Juniors and Talleres at Estadio Unico Madre de Ciudades on December 08, 2021 in Santiago del Estero, Argentina. (Photo by Hernan Cortez/Getty Images)

2. Al Ahly – 24 continental trophies

Based out of Cairo, Egypt, Al Ahly’s history is absolutely gargantuan and sees them regarded as the most successful side in Africa.

Their domestic dominance is, frankly, nauseating and their international exploits are also mightily impressive. Al Ahly have won the CAF Champions League a record ten times, the Super Cup a record eight times and the African Cup Winners’ Cup a record four times. They don’t do things by the half measure. Iconic.

Al Ahly are Africa's most successful club
CAIRO, EGYPT – NOVEMBER 27: Players of Al Ahly celebrate with the trophy of CAF Champions League after winning the final match between Zamalek and Al Ahly at Cairo stadium on November 27, 2020 in Cairo, Egypt. (Photo by Mahmoud Khaled/Getty Images)

1. Real Madrid – 26 continental trophies

Topping the list, it’s not surprising to hear that Real Madrid rule the roost when it comes to footballing achievements. Los Blancos are the blueprint for unrelenting success and maintain such levels by keeping the expectations so high.

Plying your trade at the Santiago Bernabeu is no easy job, but the reward is that players are spurred on to accept nothing less than perfection – for themselves, the fans and the club. Winning the Champions League a record 13 times, their first came all the way back in 1956 and the standard has been set ever since. True football heritage.

Real Madrid have the most continental trophies in world football
KIEV, UKRAINE – MAY 26: Real Madrid CF players ceebrates with the trophy following his side victory in the UEFA Champions League final between Real Madrid and Liverpool on May 26, 2018 in Kiev, Ukraine. (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)

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