The UEFA Champions League is the most prestigious football club competition in Europe and has gained popularity around the whole world, including Iraqi football fans, of course. Today, at Iraq Bet, we will discuss this first-tier football competition.
The Champions League originally was founded in 1955 as the European Cup, it acquired its current name in 1992 and has expanded ever since, adding more clubs to the competition and introducing a group stage.
Champions League Format
The champions of national leagues are automatically qualified to the Champions League group stage. Some top league like the Premier League, La Liga, Serie A, Bundesliga… have 4 teams participating in the Champions League.
The competition consists of 32 teams, although there are plans to expand it to 36 teams in 2023-24 season. These 32 teams compete in a round-robin group stage consisting of 8 groups, including 4 teams each.
The top two teams of each group advance to the knock-out stage or round of 16 whereas teams that have finished 3rd in their group, enter the second-tier European club competition, Europa League.
In the knock-out stage, 16 teams proceed and 2 teams, chosen via a draw, will go head-to-head home and away. The team winning on aggregate will proceed to the quarter-finals.
The final is played once in a pre-determined stadium (before the league even starts) and the winner participates in the FIFA Club World Cup.
UEFA Champions League Prize Money
- Group Stage Match Victory: €2,800,000
- Group Stage Match Draw: €900,000
- Qualification to Round of 16: €9,600,000
- Qualification to Quarter-finals: €10,600,000
- Qualification to Semi-finals: €12,500,000
- Runners-up: €15,500,000
- Champions: €20,000,000
Champions League Club Records
|Club||Country||Titles Won||Runner Ups||Seasons Won|
|Real Madrid||Spain||14||3||1956, 1957, 1958, 1959, 1960, 1966, 1998, 2000, 2002, 2014, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2022|
|AC Milan||Italy||7||4||1963, 1969, 1989, 1990, 1994, 2003, 2007|
|Bayern Munich||Germany||6||5||1974, 1975, 1976, 2001, 2013, 2020|
|Liverpool||England||6||4||1977, 1978, 1981, 1984, 2005, 2019|
|Barcelona||Spain||5||3||1992, 2006, 2009, 2011, 2015|
|Ajax||Netherlands||4||2||1971, 1972, 1973, 1995|
|Manchester United||England||3||2||1968, 1999, 2008|
|Inter Milan||Italy||2||2||1964, 1965, 2010|
|Nottingham Forest||England||2||0||1979, 1980|
|Red Star Belgrade||Yugoslavia||1||0||1991|
The most successful clubs are Spanish, with Spain holding a total of 19 titles. Second place is England with a total of 14 titles, then comes Italy with a total of 12 titles.
Champions League Player Records
Thousands of players have participated in the Champions League ever since its foundation in 1955, but only few players leave a mark. Let’s take a look below at the top scorers of all time, as well as players with the most Champions League appearances.
|Rank||Player Name||Country||Number of Apps||Years Active|
Top Goal Scorers
|Rank||Player Name||Country||Number of Goals||Years Active|
|6||Ruud van Nistelrooy||Netherlands||56||1998–2009|
|9||Alfredo Di Stéfano (Deceased)||Argentina||49||1955–1964|