When it comes to club football, the UEFA Champions League, which replaced the European Cup, is the top annual competition in Europe.
In order to demonstrate just how competitive the championship is, it’s worth nothing that, since its new format and rebranding in 1992, only Real Madrid have won it in consecutive years – winning titles in 2016, 2017 and 2018.
The competition’s finale attracts a larger audience than the World Cup Final or the Olympics and is generally regarded as the highlight on the football calendar.
The history of the Champions League
In the old days, entry to the European Cup was restricted to those who ranked first in their respective European leagues. The teams also played knockout football from the opening whistle.
However, it was in the 1990’s when UEFA decided to adopt a new strategy to raise the quality of the competition. As a result, in 1992, the more reputable leagues were allowed to enter up to four of its teams in what would be known as the Champions League.
Since 1955, we have been treated to a major European club competition. That year saw 16 teams battling it out. Real Madrid was the most successful club even in those days. Los Blancos won five tournaments in a row from 1956 to 1960.
However, the competition entered a new realm when it was renamed the Champions League, with television money and sponsorship now worth billions.