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The 10 most successful teams in Champions League history

We take a look at the 10 most successful teams in Champions League history ahead of Saturday night's final at Wembley.

Real Madrid, Champions League winners

Real Madrid are eyeing their 15th Champions League title when they meet Borussia Dortmund at Wembley tonight.

Los Blancos remain the most successful team in the competition’s history and they will fancy their chances to record another historic night.

Borussia Dortmund are previous winners themselves, but have not made it to the final since 2013 and are huge underdogs with the bookies against Carlo Ancelotti’s men.

As two football giants prepare to do battle, we take a look at 10 of the competition’s most successful teams.

Chelsea – 2 titles

At No.10 on our list is London’s most successful European club, Chelsea.

The Blues are two-time winners of the Champions League and both victories have come in the last 15 years.

Their maiden title came in 2012 against German giants Bayern Munich in one of the most famous matches in Chelsea’s history.

Didier Drogba’s extra-time header earned the Blues victory in Bayern’s own stadium, leaving fans and players of the club stunned.

In 2021, they won it again. Kai Havertz’s effort was enough to down Manchester City, who were on a quest to win the competition for the first time before eventually getting over the line in 2023.

Inter Milan – 3 titles

Inter Milan are not Italy’s most successful team in the Champions League but having three titles to their name should not be looked down on.

The Nerazzurri won the final for the first time in 1964 before returning a year later and winning it again.

Inter’s first success came against Real Madrid in a thriller that saw the Serie A side win 3-1 before they beat Benfica in a slightly scrappier 1-0 victory.

Most recently, the title headed to the San Siro in 2010.

It was the club’s golden era under Jose Mourinho and that year they were simply unstoppable, brushing Bayern Munich aside in the final to add the Champions League to their collection and become the first Italian side to win the Treble.

Manchester United – 3 titles

Considering the success and history behind Manchester United, it is perhaps surprising that they have won the Champions League only three times.

It is still a remarkable achievement, but they have not appeared in the final since 2011.

In fact, they have lost twice at the final stage since winning their last Champions League trophy in 2008.

Both losses were to a formidable Barcelona side but there are still fond memories for Red Devils fans to look back on in the competition.

Chelsea were United’s most recent victims, losing on penalties in a famous match where John Terry slipped during his spot-kick.

Their other victories came against Bayern Munich in 1999 – the conclusion of another famous Treble win – and against Benfica in 1968.

Ajax – 4 titles

Ajax have a rich history when it comes to the Champions League and they sit sixth on our list with four titles.

The Amsterdam club are yet to claim the trophy in the current decade but they were particularly dominant in the 1970s.

They won the competition three times in a decade, but that is not the most impressive part.

Ajax went back-to-back-to-back between 1971-1973, beating Panathinaikos, Inter Milan and Juventus and not conceding a single goal.

Their other success came in 1995 against AC Milan and that remains their most recent Champions League triumph.

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Barcelona – 5 titles

Spanish giants Barcelona take us into the top five and like Ajax, they enjoyed a golden era in the Champions League.

Three of Barca’s five titles came between 2009-2015, most recently beating Juventus nine years ago.

Their first win came in 1992 against Sampdoria before they denied Arsenal a maiden crown in 2006.

La Blaugrana then defeated Manchester United twice in three years, including in a classic at Wembley, where tonight’s bout is being held.

Barca sported one of the competition’s most iconic teams that included Lionel Messi, Andres Iniesta, Xavi, David Villa and so many other iconic names in football.

Bayern Munich – 6 titles

Only two teams have won the Champions League six times and Bayern Munich are one of the clubs with a glittering history in the competition.

They, like Ajax, are able to boast that they have won the trophy three times in a row.

And like the Eredivisie club, their dominant era came in the 1970s.

After beating Atletico Madrid 4-0 in 1974, Bayern then defeated Leeds 2-0 a year later, before slaying St-Etienne 12 months after that.

They famously beat rivals Borussia Dortmund and Wembley in 2013 but had to wait seven years after that to lift the trophy again.

The Bundesliga giants defeated Paris Saint-Germain in 2020 and were close to making the final again four years later but were stunned by a late Real Madrid comeback in the semi-finals.

Liverpool – 6 titles

Sitting at the base of our top three is Liverpool.

They are responsible for one of the Champions League’s greatest comebacks and you will have a tough time finding a football fan who has not heard about that famous night in Istanbul.

Liverpool found themselves 3-0 down to AC Milan in 2005 but managed to fight back and eventually win on penalties.

It was their fifth title at the time and their previous wins came in 1977, 1978, 1981 and 1984.

In 2019, the Reds bested Tottenham to win their sixth but they could have even more honours to their name.

They have made the final nine times, including in 2022 when they lost to Real Madrid.

AC Milan – 7 titles

Coming in at No.2 on the list of most successful teams in the Champions League is Italian royalty AC Milan.

With seven trophies in their cabinet, it may be a little shocking to hear that the Rossoneri are without a UCL title since 2007.

A 17-year wait to reclaim their European throne will go on for at least another 12 months but the fans will always be able to reflect on their illustrious history in the competition.

Milan’s first title came in 1963 and four more followed before the new millennium.

In 2003, they defeated Serie A rivals Juventus on penalties before getting revenge on Liverpool in 2007 for their famous Istanbul comeback.

Real Madrid – 14 titles

Real Madrid are in a league of their own when it comes to European pedigree.

14 Champions League titles is unprecedented and it would hardly be surprising if they did add to their tally in 2024.

Their first title came all the way back in 1956 when they beat Reims, but that is not the impressive part.

Los Blancos then went on to win the competition four more times in a row and five times consecutively, a simply remarkable achievement.

Since 2000, the Spanish giants have won the coveted trophy a further seven times, including most recently in 2022.

To put it simply, they are the most successful team in Champions League history but a long, long way.

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Mitch Fretton

Mitch is a freelance sports journalist with experience working for LiveScore, GOAL and Colchester United. He has experience working from both his desk at home and in the press box at games covering the Champions League and international football.