European Cup

The European Cup (also known as the European Champion Clubs' Cup) was established in 1955, inspired by the South American Championship of Champions, the South American tournament for club teams. It could also be seen as an expanded version of the Mitropa Cup, that had existed in Europe for a long time but only included clubs from Central and East Europe. The European Cup would include winners of national domestic leagues from all over Europe. These clubs would compete in a knock-out tournament with two-legged home and away ties. It would become the most prestigious club tournament for clubs in Europe until 1991 when the tournament was replaced by the Champions League.

Winners and runners-up

All the winners and runners-up through the years of the European Cup.

Season Winner Runner-up
1990-1991 Red Star Belgrade Olympique Marseille
1989-1990 Milan Benfica
1988-1989 Milan Steaua Bucuresti
1987-1988 PSV Eindhoven Benfica
1986-1987 Porto Bayern Munich
1985-1986 Steaua Bucuresti Barcelona
1984-1985 Juventus Liverpool
1983-1984 Liverpool Roma
1982-1983 Hamburger Juventus
1981-1982 Aston Villa Bayern Munich
1980-1981 Liverpool Real Madrid
1979-1980 Nottingham Forest Hamburger SV
1978-1979 Nottingham Forest Malmö FF
1977-1978 Liverpool FC Brugge
1976-1977 Liverpool Borussia Mönchengladbach
1975-1976 Bayern Munish Saint Etienne
1974-1975 Bayern Munich Leeds United
1973-1974 Bayern Munich Atlético Madrid
1972-1973 Ajax Juventus
1971-1972 Ajax Internazionale
1970-1971 Ajax Panathinaikos
1969-1970 Feyenoord Celtic
1968-1969 Milan Ajax
1967-1968 Manchester United Benfica
1966-1967 Celtic Internazionale
1965-1966 Real Madrid Partizan Belgrade
1964-1965 Internazionale Benfica
1963-1964 Internazionale Real Madrid
1962-1963 Milan Benfica
1961-1962 Benfica Real Madrid
1960-1961 Benfica Barcelona
1959-1960 Real Madrid Eintracht Frankfurt
1958-1959 Real Madrid Stade de Reims
1957-1958 Real Madrid Milan
1956-1957 Real Madrid Fiorentina
1955-1956 Real Madrid Stade de Reims


The biggest European tournament for football clubs began in 1955. In the first edition 16 teams would partake and in the final at Parc des Princes in Paris, Real Madrid beat Stade de Reims by 4 goals to 3.

The very next year the tournament would be expanded to include 22 teams. In the following years the numbers of participating teams continued to grow until it reached 32 teams, which was ideal for playing five rounds (Round of 32, Round of 16, Quarter-finals, Semi-finals and Final). Some years included 33 teams, which resulted in a Preliminary round between two teams.



If the Champions League is excluded and only titles between 1955-56 and 1990-91 are counted, these clubs have won the most titles:

Table 2. Clubs and European Cup titles
Club Titles
Real Madrid 6
Liverpool 4
Milan 4
Ajax 3
Bayern Munich 3
Benfica 2
Internazionale 2
Nottingham Forest 2

In addition, these teams have won once: Aston Villa, Borussia Dortmund, Celtic, Chelsea, Crvena zvezda, Feyenoord, Hamburger SV, Olympique Marseille, PSV and Steaua Bucuresti.

English clubs have been the most successful, winning a total of eight titles (Liverpool 4, Nottingham Forest 2, Manchester United 1 and Aston Villa 1).

Real Madrid has the record with five consecutive titles. Three consecutive titles have been won by Ajax (1991-1973) and Bayern München (1974-1976). In addition, Benfica, Inter, Liverpool, Nottingham Forest and Milan have all won the tournament two years a row.


European Cup timeline

1955 The competition is established.
1960 Real Madrid win the competition for the fifth time in a row.
1991 The tournament is rebranded to Champions League.