The European Cup has been around since 1955, but the Champions League brand only came to be in the 1992-1993 season, with a group stage introduced for the first time. Since then, no club has been able to repeat as champions. Six teams have been to four finals or more, winning at least one time: Manchester United, Real Madrid, Juventus, Bayern Munich, Barcelona and AC Milan.
6. Manchester United – Four Finals, Two Wins
It’s hard to believe how far away from all this Manchester United seem to be. One time European Cup winners, they made the final in 1999 and beat Bayern Munich in that incredible late turnaround. Their next final was in 2008, beating Chelsea in penalty kicks. Their next two finals were both against Barcelona, twice losing by two goals, including in front of somewhat home support at Wembley in 2011.
5. Real Madrid – Four Finals, Four Wins
It took Real Madrid 32 years since their last trophy in the European Cup until they got a Champions League tradition going. They beat Juventus in the 1998 final, Valencia in the 2000 final, Leverkusen in the 2002 final with that famous Zidane volley, and in 2014 against Atletico Madrid, winning 4-1 after 120 minutes.
4. Juventus – Five Finals, One Win
Despite their dominance in Italian football, Juventus are always behind AC Milan when it comes to European conquests. They won in their first final since 1985 by beating Ajax after a penalty shootout, but lost two years in a row against Dortmund and Real Madrid. They made the final again in 2003, losing to Milan in penalties, and after a 12-year absence, lost 3-1 to Barcelona in the 2015 final.
3. Bayern Munich – Five Finals, Two Wins
Like Juventus, Bayern have something of a losers stereotype when it comes to the Champions League. They lost their finals in 1999 (against Manchester United), 2010 (against Inter) and 2012 (against Chelsea in penalty kicks). They beat Valencia in the 2001 final, breaking a 25-year wait, and won it again in 2013 facing Dortmund in an all-German final.
2. Barcelona – Five Finals, Four Wins
It’s quite astonishing to think that a club this size only won its first European Cup in 1992. Barcelona lost in the 1994 final to Milan, but have gone four-for-four since then, beating Arsenal in the 2006 final, Manchester United in both the 2009 and 2011 finals, and Juventus in the 2015 final.
1. AC Milan – Six Finals, Three Wins
Milan played in the first three finals under the new Champions League format, losing to Marseille in 1993 and to Ajax in 1995, in between destroying Barcelona 4-0 in the 1994 final, which many saw as the epitome of style-clash football. They didn’t make another final until 2003, beating Juventus after a penalty shootout in an All-Italian final. In 2005 they lost against Liverpool despite leading by three goals, this time being on the losing end of the penalty kicks. They got their revenge in 2007, beating Liverpool 2-1.