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.
All the winners and runners-up through the years of the European Cup.
|1990-1991||Red Star Belgrade||Olympique Marseille|
|1981-1982||Aston Villa||Bayern Munich|
|1979-1980||Nottingham Forest||Hamburger SV|
|1978-1979||Nottingham Forest||Malmö FF|
|1975-1976||Bayern Munish||Saint Etienne|
|1974-1975||Bayern Munich||Leeds United|
|1973-1974||Bayern Munich||Atlético Madrid|
|1965-1966||Real Madrid||Partizan Belgrade|
|1959-1960||Real Madrid||Eintracht Frankfurt|
|1958-1959||Real Madrid||Stade de Reims|
|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:
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.