A goal from Vinicius Junior was enough to see Real Madrid past Liverpool to clinch the 2021/22 Champions League at the Stade de France.
Despite somehow coming into the final as underdogs, Los Blancos delivered on the big stage once again and came up with the goods, as Thibaut Courtois’ inspired performance kept Jurgen Klopp’s side from finding the net.
Victory secured an incredible 14th Champions League crown for Real Madrid and a fourth for manager Carlo Ancelotti. His side have put together an awe-inspiring campaign to emerge as winners, having looked down and out in every knockout round before somehow finding a way through.
Real did win five out of their six games played in the group stage, but showed their vulnerability as they were beaten by minnows Sheriff Tiraspol at the Santiago Bernabeu. And when they found themselves 1-0 down to a star-studded Paris Saint-Germain after the first leg of the last 16, their work was cut out for them.
An inspired hat-trick from Karim Benzema fired them through to the quarter final, however, and the Frenchman would continue to fire on all fours to drag Real past Chelsea and Manchester City, both in comeback victories after extra time, in order to book a spot in the final, despite not looking anything like a dominant Real side of previous seasons.
But, crucially, Los Blancos powered through. And now they have lifted the trophy, it makes that run to the final look even better. The way they powered through despite looking banged to rights on several occasions is testament to their quality and unwavering winning mentality, which so few clubs possess.
In what is now certified as one of the best runs in the tournament’s history, GIVEMESPORT has compiled a list of the greatest Champions League campaigns of all time.
13. Barcelona 2010/11
Advancing through an admittedly easy group, you can only beat what’s in front of you, and Barcelona did that.
They then beat Arsenal, surprise package Shakhtar and Spanish rivals Real Madrid to book their spot in the final against Manchester United, who they beat for a second time in three seasons.
12. Porto 2003/04
The ultimate underdogs, Porto stunned the world by blitzing their way to lift the Champions League with the help of a young, up and coming Jose Mourinho in the dugout.
Beating Manchester United in the quarter final was key, as they then went on to dispatch of Lyon, Deportivo in their prime, and Monaco in the final.
11. Real Madrid 2001/02
Losing once in the first group stage and going unbeaten in the second, Real got better with every game in the 2001/02 tournament.
The Galactico Era was just getting started. A comeback victory vs Bayern Munich, a semi-final win over Barcelona, and that Zinedine Zidane goal to win the final against Bayer Leverkusen. Heritage.
10. Inter 2009/10
What makes Inter’s 2010 triumph with Mourinho so special is that it was the final trophy they needed to secure a first treble in the club’s history. And they delivered.
Knocking out Chelsea, CSKA Moscow, Barcelona and Bayern Munich on the way, nobody was stopping the Nerazzurri.
9. Liverpool 2004/05
Beating the likes of Bayer Leverkusen and Chelsea on the way to the final, it all looked over at half-time in Istanbul for Liverpool, who were trailing AC Milan 3-0.
Then came that infamous comeback. And when they took the game to penalties at 3-3, history was made. One of the greatest fight backs ever.
Ivan Perisic to sign for Tottenham (Football Terrace)
8. Real Madrid 2013/14
Dominating the group stages with five wins and a draw, Real made it count in the knockouts as they beat three German sides in Schalke, Borussia Dortmund and Bayern Munich to set up a final with city rivals Atletico Madrid.
A late Sergio Ramos equaliser took the game to extra time where they won 4-1, setting up a run of European dominance that would follow soon after.
7. Real Madrid 2016/17
How Los Blancos powered through to dominate the Champions League so frequently in the 2010s is still a mystery.
In 2016/17, they ousted Napoli, Bayern Munich and Atletico to set up a final with Juventus, who had finally reached the promised land after years of trying to get back there. Real smoked them 4-1.
6. Chelsea 2011/12
Memories of Gary Neville’s goal-gasm that has seemingly inspired his commentary ever since, Chelsea won their first ever Champions League in unforgettable fashion.
An incredible 2-2 draw at the Camp Nou saw them advance to the final against Bayern Munich, where they dramatically won on penalties after a 1-1 draw.
5. Bayern Munich 2012/13
Bayern bounced back a year after losing the tournament on penalties, which is impressive enough in itself.
They didn’t have an easy ride doing it, however, having to knock out Valencia, PSG and Barcelona before beating one of Borussia Dortmund’s strongest sides ever in the final.
4. Real Madrid 2017/18
Champions League number three in a row and the fourth in five years, Real were relentless in pursuit of their 13th crown.
Beating PSG, annihilating Juventus and then ousting Bayern Munich, Los Blancos topped it off by punishing the Reds for a lacking performance, with Gareth Bale stealing the show. Absolutely ruthless.
3. Manchester United 1998/99
United fans will never forget that night in Barcelona.
Having wrapped up the Premier League and FA Cup and working their way past Juventus over a two-legged semi-final, the treble dream looked over as Bayern Munich were 1-0 up with only injury time to play. That was until two quickfire goals from Teddy Sheringham and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer completely turned the game on its head and secured the Red Devils a continental treble.
2. Bayern Munich 2019/20
Absolute, unrelenting dominance. Bayern Munich returned to the top of the European mountain in 2020 under Hansi Flick, who turned them into one of the most frightening teams in history.
Able to outscore, outrun and outlast anyone they came up against, Die Roten weren’t put off by the delay of the COVID-19 pandemic, making Barcelona literally implode by beating them 8-2 in the quarter final, before beating PSG in the final, crushing their dream after they had finally made it within touching distance of the trophy.
1. Barcelona 2014/15
We’ve had dominance and we’ve had trebles, but Barcelona’s 2014/15 Champions League win had it all. That esteemed style of play had returned with Luis Enrique, and their legendary squad enjoyed one last hurrah at the top, in pursuit of another treble of their own.
La Blaugrana had found their flow once again, playing their way through Manchester City, PSG and Bayern Munich, before sealing the treble with a 3-1 victory over Juventus. It marked their return to the top and was even more iconic knowing they did so with the likes of Xavi and Andres Iniesta in the latter stages of their careers.