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When do Champions League winners keep the trophy permanently?

Six sides have qualified to be awarded the European Cup permanently in the competition’s history, but only five of them kept the trophy.

How many clubs have kept the Champions League trophy?

The current Champions League trophy, or the European Champion Clubs’ Cup, is not the original gong that was awarded to the European champions or yore. In March, 1967, UEFA decided to award the original cup, which was given to the competition by French newspaper L’Equipe, to Real Madrid for winning the first five editions of the tournament from 1956 to 1960. As of that year, the trophy was redesigned and rules were established for the awarding of the European Cup on a permanent basis to clubs. As of 2022, 22 different sides have won the European Cup / Champions League in the 66-year history of the competition, and one of Real Madrid and Liverpool will add their names to the list of victors after Saturday’s final in Paris.

How many clubs have permanently kept the trophy?

Not every club gets to keep old big ears on a permanent basis: in order for UEFA to hand over the European Cup a team has to win it five times, or three times consecutively, which only three sides have ever done in the history of the competition: Madrid, Ajax and Bayern Munich.

Madrid were the first side to be awarded the trophy permanently in 1967, and Ajax followed in 1973 on the back of three straight European Cups under the total football system set up by Rinus Michels, fine-tuned by Stefan Kovács and performed through Johan Cruyff.

Bayern Munich were next up after Franz Beckenbauer captained the German giants to three consecutive European Cups between 1974 and 1976.

The other clubs to be awarded the trophy permanently, and to earn the right to wear the multiple winner badge on their shirts, all did so by dint of winning the competition five times overall. AC Milan reached the milestone in 1994, shortly after their back-to-back triumphs in 1989 and 1990. Liverpool joined the elite club in 2005 following the Miracle of Istanbul. Rafa Benítez’s side became the last to receive the cup permanently due to a rule change in 2009 that made the trophy the permanent property of UEFA, and as such it is no longer awarded to sides that won five European Cups or won the competition three times consecutively.

Barcelona make do with the badge

Barcelona became the sixth side to win the European Cup / Champions League in 2015 after they beat Juventus in the final. They were not awarded the trophy but retained the right to wear the multiple-winner badge.