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How many times have Real Madrid won the Champions League?

Real Madrid beat Liverpool in the 2021/22 Champions League, with a goal from Vinicius giving them a 1-0 win.

Real Madrid beat Liverpool in the 2021/22 Champions League, with a goal from Vinicius giving them a 1-0 win.
Julian FinneyGetty

No team has dominated European football’s top club competition quite like Real Madrid. They made it to, and won, the inaugural edition, (known then as the European Champion Clubs’ Cup) which originally featured, in theory, only the winners of the continent’s major domestic leagues. Real Madrid’s grip on the tournament, rebranded as the Champions League in 1992, is just as strong today as it was back in the 1950s.

This evening, Saturday, in Paris, Real Madrid continued their love affair with European soccer’s elite tournament, beating Liverpool 1-0, thanks to a goal from Vinicius to give them their 14th European Cup.

No club has won the competition as many times as they have, 14 times now, scored as many goals (1021) or made the most appearances in the tournament (47) or the final itself.

Real Madrid showed once again that they are the comeback kings in this competition after beating Manchester City with Rodrygo levelling the tie in stoppage-time to land their place in the 2021/22 final. In Paris, they were up against Liverpool - in a repeat of the 1981 final, their first meeting in European competition. Since then, the two clubs have crossed paths several times at various stages but this was the third time they have faced each other in the final.

It was a chance for Liverpool to equal AC Milan’s seven titles - the second club to have won it the most, but Madrid, once again, did what they had to do, despite only taking 3 shots to Liverpool’s 23. Ancelotti’s side goes home with their 14th European Cup.

Real Madrid’s first game in official European competition

Real Madrid’s first game in the European Cup was against Servette in the First Round in September 1955 - the first edition of the tournament which featured an opening round, the quarter finals, semi-finals and final. Unlike today when a team must play a minimum of 12 games to reach the final, back then it was only six games. They beat their Swiss rivals 0-2 in Geneva and 5-0 at the Bernabéu. They beat Partizan 4-3 on aggregate in the quarter finals, then played out a close semi-final with AC Milan before beating Stade Reims 4-3 to become the first champions of Europe in the final in Paris in June 1956.

That set Madrid on their way. They made it to the next four consecutive finals and won them all - beating Fiorentina in the 1957 final, AC Milan in 1958, Stade Reims once again in 1959 and thumping Eintracht Frankfurt 7-3 on a memorable afternoon in Glasgow in 1960.

The following year, the tournament was expanded to 28 participating clubs and Real Madrid discovered what it was like to be dumped out - they were eliminated for the first time, losing 4-3 to Barcelona in the First Round.

Real Madrid lose their first European Cup final

One year on, in 1961/2, they also found out how it feels to lose a final. Madrid faced Eusébio’s mighty Benfica. the cup holders, in Amsterdam. Even a Ferenc Puskás hat trick wasn’t enough to stop them crashing to a 5-3 defeat, as the Portuguese hoisted their second title.

It was a similar story in 1963/4 when Madrid saw off Rangers, Dinamo Bucharest, AC Milan and Zurich to reach the final only to lose 3-1 to Inter Milan, playing a new breed of football under master tactician Helenio Herrera.

By the mid-60s, little was left of the Madrid side of the late 1950s. The Yé-yé team as it was known, (a nod to The Beatles), reached and won the 1966 final, beating Partizan Belgrade 2-1 at Heysel but Madrid’s dominance in Europe was coming to an end. Another 32 years would pass before they would be proclaimed European champions.

Vujadin Boskov guided Madrid to the 1981 final in Paris where they faced two-time winners Liverpool. Played on a poor pitch, it was a dull, scrappy, forgettable game which was settled late on by Reds full-back Alan Kennedy.

Three final defeats

That defeat to Bob Paisley’s Liverpool was the last time that Real Madrid lost a European Cup final. In total, Madrid have played a total of 16 European Cup/Champions League finals, winning 13 and losing three. The 2021/22 final will be their 17th.

In 1998, Madrid won the trophy for the first time under the new format, Pedr Mijatovic’s winner delivered La Séptima in Amsterdam. Triumphs against Valencia and Bayer Leverkusen followed in 2000 and 2002 - the latter memorable for Zidane’s breathtaking volley and heroics from a young Iker Casillas. Carlo Ancelotti’s Madrid finally secured the club’s tenth European crown, La Décima, in 2014. Then a Madrid side led by Zidane became the first team to win three titles in a row with victories in 2016, 2017 and 2018.

Real Madrid’s European Cup/Champions League finals

1956: Real Madrid 4-3 Stade Reims

1957: Real Madrid 2-0 Fiorentina

1958: Real Madrid 3-2 AC Milan

1959: Real Madrid 2-0 Stade Reims

1960: Real Madrid 7-3 Eintracht Frankfurt

1962: Benfica 5-3 Real Madrid

1964: Inter Milan 3-1 Real Madrid

1966: Real Madrid 2-1 Partizan

1981: Liverpool 1-0 Real Madrid

1998: Real Madrid 1-0 Juventus

2000: Real Madrid 3-0 Valencia

2002: Real Madrid 2-1 Bayer Leverkusen

2014: Real Madrid 4-1 Atlético Madrid

2016: Real Madrid 1-1 (5-3 pens) Atlético Madrid

2017: Real Madrid 4-1 Juventus

2018: Real Madrid 3-1 Liverpool

2022: Liverpool 1-0 Real Madrid


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