It began as the European Cup, and only domestic champions took part in it. However, the major prize in the continent has developed through the years, and already known as the UEFA Champions League since 1992, it started to expand to more teams. In 1997, runners-up from local leagues began to take part, and in 1999, UEFA's best-ranked leagues were granted up to four berths. Still, the road to achieving the trophy was not for everyone. Chelsea have won the 2021 Final, in an exciting all-English duel against Man City.

From the early years in which Real Madrid reigned and cemented themselves as one of the mightiest soccer clubs in the world, the prestigious European competition established itself as the most coveted trophy not only in the continent but for most of the players all around the world

Throughout its history, this tournament has seen teams becoming powers of the region as well as underdog sides pulling off unexpected triumphs. Here, check out every winner of the famous Champions League since its inception in 1955, when it was named European Cup.

Every UEFA Champions League winner by year

Chelsea won the 2021 UEFA Champions League over Manchester City (Getty).

The first-ever European Cup took place in 1955, and from that very initial edition, Los Blancos began to build their legacy as arguably the strongest team in the world. Alfredo Di Stéfano was one of the first superstars that featured in this competition, leading the way for the ones who emerged many years later. 

For the first five years, Real Madrid didn't let anyone else get their hands in the trophy, as they lifted it five straight times. Afterwards, though, other European giants started to rise. In 1992, the tournament was renamed as we know it nowadays, with the addition of the group stage, and it became an even more famous, high profile event in the world. These are all the European Cup - Champions League winners by year:

Year Club
1956 Real Madrid
1957 Real Madrid
1958 Real Madrid
1959 Real Madrid
1960 Real Madrid
1961 Benfica
1962 Benfica
1963 AC Milan
1964 Inter
1965 Inter
1966 Real Madrid
1967 Celtic
1968 Manchester United
1969 AC Milan
1970 Feyenoord
1971 Ajax
1972 Ajax
1973 Ajax
1974 Bayern
1975 Bayern
1976 Bayern
1977 Liverpool
1978 Liverpool
1979 Nottingham Forest
1980 Nottingham Forest
1981 Liverpool
1982 Aston Villa
1983 Hamburger SV
1984 Liverpool
1985 Juventus
1986 Steaua Bucuresti
1987 Porto
1988 PSV
1989 AC Milan 
1990 AC Milan
1991 Red Star Belgrade
1992 Barcelona
1993 Olympique de Marseille
1994 AC Milan
1995 Ajax
1996 Juventus
1997 Borussia Dortmund
1998 Real Madrid
1999 Manchester United
2000 Real Madrid
2001 Bayern 
2002 Real Madrid
2003 AC Milan
2004 Porto
2005 Liverpool
2006 Barcelona
2007 AC Milan
2008 Manchester United
2009 Barcelona
2010 Inter
2011 Barcelona
2012 Chelsea
2013 Bayern Munich
2014 Real Madrid
2015 Barcelona
2016 Real Madrid
2017 Real Madrid
2018 Real Madrid
2019 Liverpool
2020 Bayern Munich

Chelsea have won the 2020/21 edition of the Champions League in a thrilling final against Manchester City, being the second time the Blues got their hands in the continental trophy.

UEFA Champions League titles by club

Real Madrid are the UCL winningest team with 13 trophies (Getty).

Real Madrid have been the most successful club in the competition, having achieved a record 13 trophies. Behind them stand AC Milan with seven titles, while Liverpool and Bayern Munich hold six, and Barcelona claimed it five times. This is the list of UCL titles by club:

  • Real Madrid x 13
  • AC Milan x 7
  • Bayern x 6 
  • Liverpool FC x 6
  • FC Barcelona x 5
  • Ajax x 4
  • Inter x 3
  • Manchester United x 3
  • Juventus x 2 
  • Benfica x 2
  • Nottingham Forest  x 2
  • Porto x 2
  • Chelsea x 2
  • Celtic x 1
  • Hamburger SV x 1
  • Steaua București x 1 
  • Olympique de Marseille x 1
  • Borussia Dortmund x 1
  • Feyenoord x 1
  • Aston Villa x 1
  • PSV x 1
  • Red Star Belgrade x 1