UEFA CHAMPIONS LEAGUE
Have Real Madrid ever failed to qualify for the Champions League knockout rounds?
The LaLiga giants extended their astonishing UCL group-stage run by defeating Braga at Estadio Santiago Bernabéu on Wednesday.
Real Madrid are synonymous with the UEFA Champions League. Between the current format and the European Cup, Los Blancos have been crowned European champions 14 times, seven more than AC Milan, who are second on the list. They won the tournament four times in five years from 2014 to 2018 and have already made it through to the knockout rounds this season, with two matches to spare, after Wednesday’s comfortable win over Braga at the Santiago Bernabéu.
When did Real Madrid first play in the Champions League?
The European Cup became the Champions League in time for the 1992-93 season, which is when the group stage concept was introduced. As only domestic champions qualified for the first five editions, Madrid’s first appearance didn’t come until 1995-96, when they reached the quarter-finals.
That same season, they finished sixth in LaLiga and missed out on Europe altogether in 1996-97, which would be unthinkable nowadays. But they haven’t once failed to appear in the Champions League since 1997-98, which is when they won the competition for the first time under its “new” moniker.
How many times have Los Blancos qualified from the Champions League group stage?
But not only have they qualified for the Champions League in 27 successive seasons, they have incredibly made it through the group stage in all of them too. When that debut appearance in 1995-96 is factored in, they have now progressed to the knockout rounds 28 times out of 28 (and out of 32 groups, with seasons 1999-2000 through to 2002-03 having two group stages).
Madrid looking to secure top spot in Group C on matchday five
With qualification already sealed, the task for Carlo Ancelotti’s side in 2023-24 is to ensure they go through from Group C as leaders. With two matches left to play, they are five points ahead of second-placed Napoli, who are their next opponents in the Spanish capital. A win or a draw against the Italians will secure top spot.