5 facts about the Champions League

Re-introduced in 1992, the UEFA Champions League replaced the European Cup, which had run since 1955, adding a group stage to the competition and allowing more than one team to compete from certain countries.

Since then, the competition has continued to grow, and is watched by hundreds of millions of people from all over the world. Football fans from every country gather in excited anticipation to watch the top club teams in Europe battle it out for the right to lift the 7.5kg UEFA Champions League trophy.

Due to the long, rich history of the competition, there are plenty of small records and interesting facts that you might not know about. We’ve sifted through the lot and narrowed it down to five of the most interesting facts about the UEFA Champions League.

Goals, goals, and more goals

Cristiano Ronaldo overhead kickImage source: USAtoday.com

There have been some incredible goals scored in the Champions League over the years, from Cristiano Ronaldo’s sensational overhead kick against Juventus in 2018, to Gareth Bale’s solo effort for Spurs at the San Siro.

The fastest goal ever scored in the Champions League came in just 10.12 seconds, compliments of the boot of Bayern Munich’s Roy Makkay against Real Madrid in 2007. While the record for the fastest hat trick in the Champions League is held by Bafétimbi Gomis, who netted three times in just 7 minutes for Lyon in 2011.

Lionel Messi holds the record for the most goals scored by a player in a single match, with five, although this record was later equaled by Luis Adriano. The highest scoring game in Champions League history took place between Borussia Dortmund and Legia Warszawa in 2016. A total of 12 goals were scored between the two sides with Dortmund walking away 8-4 winners.

Iker Casillas, the old guard

Iker Casillas Champions LeagueImage source: SI.com

In February 1999, Iker Casillas was handed his first Champions League cap. Fast-forward 20 seasons and the Spanish goalkeeper is still holding his own among Europe’s best.

Casillas has played in more than 170 matches and throughout that time, he has racked up 59 clean sheets and three Champions League titles. No player has featured in more Champions League seasons than the World Cup winning goalkeeper has.

He is also the youngest goalkeeper to lift the trophy. In 2000, at the age of just 19 years and four days, Casillas help Los Blancos to a Champions League triumph over Valencia. While there have been many teenaged winners of the trophy, he remains the youngest in his position to do so.

Playing for keeps

Liverpool 5 Champions League titlesImage source: sportingnews.com

In 1968/69, a rule was introduced that stated that any club who won the competition a total of five times, or won three competitions over three consecutive years, would earn the right to keep a life-sized replica of the Champions League trophy in their trophy cabinet.

So far, Real Madrid, Ajax, Liverpool, Bayern Munich, Milan, and Barcelona are the only clubs to have achieved this feat.

Messi and Ronaldo are the only players to score more than 100 goals

Lionel Messi 100 Champions League goalsImage source: sportingnews.com

At the time of writing, Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi are the only two players to have scored more than 100 goals in the UEFA Champions League, with Ronaldo’s 121 slightly ahead of Messi’s 106.

However, Messi has scored the most number of goals for a single club in the competition with 106 - just one more than Ronaldo, who scored 105 for Real Madrid before leaving for Juventus. Ronaldo has also been the leading goal scorer for the competition for the last six years.

Real Madrid is the real deal

Real Madrid Champions LeagueImage source: Thenational.ae

Spain is the most successful country in the competition having won a total of 18 trophies between all the Spanish clubs. But when we say “all the Spanish clubs”, we’re really only referring to Real Madrid and Barcelona. 13 of the 18 titles have been won by Real Madrid, with Barcelona the only other Spanish club to have won the competition – a total of five times.

Real Madrid holds by far the most titles of all other clubs in the competition (13), followed by AC Milan (seven), Bayern Munich, Liverpool, and Barcelona (five each).

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Published: 02/18/2019