Champions League final: Is anyone close to matching Real Madrid?

By Shamoon HafezBBC Sport
Real Madrid
Real Madrid have dominated Europe for the last three years

Real Madrid underlined their dominance of the European Cup and Champions League by claiming their 13th title in Kiev.

Saturday's 3-1 final victory over Liverpool will be remembered for Welshman Gareth Bale's spectacular overhead kick and two howlers made by goalkeeper Loris Karius.

Real's players wrote their names in European football folklore by winning the Champions League for the fourth time in five years - and it was manager Zinedine Zidane's third in a row.

The Spanish giants have claimed more trophies, won more matches and scored more goals than any other side, but how do the numbers stack up compared with the rest of the continent?

The all-time top 10

European Cup/Champions League record
Real Madrid42125293713
Bayern Munich3271866515
Manchester United2591424713
AC Milan2411193997

Winning in different eras

Real Madrid
Every one of Real's players are multiple Champions League winners

Real Madrid won the first five European Cup finals, between 1956 and 1960, and had three players - Alfredo di Stefano, Francisco Gento and Jose Maria Zarraga - starting in all of them.

They have won the past three finals too, naming the same starting XI in 2017 and 2018, a line-up that showed just two changes from 2016, when Gareth Bale and Pepe started instead of Isco and Raphael Varane.

They have won their past nine European finals across all competitions, last losing in the 1983 Cup Winners' Cup to Sir Alex Ferguson's Aberdeen.

"It is something unbelievable, something historic," said Croatia midfielder Luka Modric. "I don't know if anyone will repeat this in the future. Twice was amazing, this is historic.

"They can call us a dynasty. It seems so easy to come here and win it but it's so much hard work day in and day out. I don't think anyone will repeat this."

How do other teams compare?

Phil Neal
Phil Neal (left) won four European Cups with Liverpool

Including Real, eight teams in the competition's history have lifted the trophy three or more times and five of those have defended their titles.

Of the starting line-up that won the 1964 final, Italian side Inter Milan retained nine players when they retained the trophy in 1965. Dutch greats Ajax had seven players, including the legendary Johan Cruyff, who started all of their final victories in 1971, 1972 and 1973.

Germans Bayern Munich, the last team before the current Real side to win three in a row, also had seven players in each of their starting line-ups in 1974, 1975 and 1976, led by Franz Beckenbauer.

Liverpool won four European Cups between 1977 and 1984, with defender Phil Neal starting all those matches, while a further six players played in three of those finals.

Lionel Messi, Andres Iniesta, Gerard Pique and Victor Valdes all played in three of Barcelona's four Champions League triumphs between 2006 and 2015.

Meanwhile, Italian defender Paolo Maldini won a total of four titles in his distinguished career with AC Milan, picking up the cup in 1990, 1994, 2003 and 2007.

Of the teams to win it on at least three occasions, only Premier League side Manchester United named different starting line-ups for each of their victories - which is little surprise considering how far apart they were, coming in 1968, 1999 and 2008.

Record by decade

TeamGamesMost winsGoals
1950sReal Madrid322393
1960sReal Madrid6337171
1990sAC Milan553081
2000sManchester United11663197
2010sReal Madrid10270249

As you can see from the table, Real Madrid have been the dominant force in European football across three separate decades.

In the 1970s, Bayern Munich played a game more than Ajax, but collected two fewer wins, while in the 90s, although Portuguese side Porto played more games (61) than any other team, it was AC Milan who collected the most win (30), as well as two final victories.

Zizou the GOAT?

Champions League
Zidane is the only manager to win the Champions League three times in a row

Real Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane won everything as a player and he has turned on its head the theory that great players do not become great managers.

His side's victory in Kiev means the Frenchman set or equalled a number of records to strengthen his case for being regarded as Europe's GOAT (greatest of all time).

All this on the back of a season in which his job at the Bernabeu was under threat.

  • Zidane is the first coach to win the European Cup/Champions League three times in a row.
  • He has joined Bob Paisley (three at Liverpool) and Carlo Ancelotti (AC Milan two, Real Madrid one) as the only managers to have won the trophy three times.
  • At 45, Zidane is the youngest manager to lift the trophy for the third time. Ancelotti was 54 and Paisley was 63.
  • Zidane has a 100% success rate in all 18 international knockout ties as manager since taking charge of Real in January 2016. This includes the Champions League, Uefa Super Cup and Club World Cup.
  • Zidane has been in charge at Real for 149 games, winning nine trophies, meaning the club claim silverware, on average, every 17 games under him.

"This is a legendary club," said Zidane. "This is a club that has won 13 European Cups, so I'm happy to be part of this history.

"We are going to think about what we achieved, enjoy the moment first. This is the most important thing now."

Zinedine Zidane