Champions League: 5 great sides that dominated Europe

Real Madrid's Sergio Ramos (L) and Luka Modric celebrate after Real score their fourth goal during the UEFA Champions League final football match against Juventus in Cardiff on June 3, 2017

Real Madrid made history on Saturday by beating Juventus to become the first side to retain the Champions League for 27 years.

Real Madrid made history on Saturday by beating Juventus to become the first side to retain the Champions League for 27 years.

Victory also means Madrid have won three Champions Leagues in the past four years to solidify their status as Europe‘s most successful club with 12 European Cups in total.

Here, AFP Sports looks at five other great sides that dominated Europe in their peak.

Real Madrid (1955-1960)

The belief in Madrid that the European Cup is their competition goes back to the tournament’s origins in the fifties.

French sports newspaper L’Equipe was the mastermind for a competition to decide who was the best club side in Europe.

Madrid emphatically stamped their mark on the competition winning all five of the first editions of the trophy, beating France’s Stade de Reims twice in the final either side of victories over Italian sides Fiorentina and AC Milan.

However, the crowning glory of a side containing legendary names like Alfredo di Stefano and Ferenc Puskas came in thrashing Eintracht Frankfurt 7-3.

In front of a record attendance for a European Cup final of more than 127,000 at Glasgow’s Hampden Park, Puskas and Di Stefano combined for all seven goals.

Ajax (1970-1973)

The side that gave birth to the fabled Dutch philosophy of “Total Football”, Ajax won three European Cups in a row.

Despite losing coach Rinus Michels to Barcelona after their first final victory over Panathinaikos in 1971, the talent of Johann Cruyff led Ajax to a hat-trick of titles by seeing off Italian giants Inter Milan and Juventus before Cruyff left to join Michels in Catalonia.

Bayern Munich (1973-1976)

The dissolving of that great Ajax side cleared the path for Franz Beckenbauer’s Bayern Munich to begin their own reign of dominance by matching Ajax’s achievement with three straight European Cups.

However, the Bavarians had some fortune on their side as a goalkeeping error in the final minute of extra-time from Miguel Reina forced their first final against Atletico Madrid to a replay, which they duly cruised 4-0.

Leeds United were Bayern’s next victims the following year before they saw off Saint Etienne thanks to another few slices of luck.

Twice Saint Etienne hit the crossbar in what has gone down in folklore as the final of the “square posts” in France due to the unusual shape of the woodwork at Hampden.

Liverpool (1976-1984)

During an unprecedented period of success for English sides in Europe, Liverpool led the way with four European Cups in eight years in the late seventies and early eighties.

Equally as dominant on the domestic front, a side boasting the likes of Kenny Dalglish also won seven league titles in nine years.

Borussia Moenchengladbach and Club Brugge were defeated in the final for back-to-back triumphs in 1977 and 1978 before the might of Madrid was tamed in the 1981 final.

And a glorious era was rounded off by defying a baying home crowd to defeat Roma on penalties in the Italian capital in 1984.

Barcelona (2008-2013)

Barca also won four Champions Leagues over a decade between 2005 and 2015, but it was the side coached by Pep Guardiola for four years that is truly considered one of the best of all time.

The Catalans beat a Manchester United team containing Cristiano Ronaldo 2-0 in the 2009 final thanks to goals from Samuel Eto’o and Lionel Messi to win the first treble ever achieved by a Spanish side.

However, the performance in sweeping aside United 3-1 two years later at Wembley was the peak of Guardiola’s glorious reign with Messi once again on the scoresheet.

posted by ConnectMe

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s