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Real Madrid
European Cup victories, nine: 1956, 1957, 1958, 1959, 1960, 1966, 1998, 2000 & 2002
The halcyon years: 1956, 1957, 1958, 1959 & 1960

Following the formation of the European Champion Clubs’ Cup in 1955, renamed the Champions League in 1992, Real Madrid romped to an incredible five successive titles, an achievement that has never been matched.

Victories over Stade Reims (1956), Fiorentina (1957), AC Milan (1958) and a repeat of the inaugural final in 1959 saw Alfredo di Stéfano score in all finals.

However, it was Hampden Park that witnessed Real’s greatest moment when the Spaniards beat Eintracht Frankfurt 7-3 in the 1960 final.

Di Stéfano, once again, found his name on the scoresheet after the Argentine scored a hat-trick. It was, though, Ferenc Puskas that stole the headlines after the Hungarian scored one more than his team-mate and included a 15-minute hat-trick in a match that many have called the greatest ever.

AC Milan
European Cup victories, seven: 1963, 1969, 1989, 1990, 1994, 2003 & 2007
The halcyon years: 1989 & 1990

AC Milan, the second most decorated club in European Cup history, has produced many great sides over the years but it is Arrigo Sacchi’s 1989 and 1990 sides that are remembered with fondness by many.

Following a 20-year gap Milan ended their wait for a third title in glorious style when they dismantled Steaua Bucharest in Barcelona’s Nou Camp.

In a starting line-up that featured homegrown players such as Paolo Maldini, Alessandro Costacurta, Franco Baresi, Roberto Donadoni and Carlo Ancelotti it was Holland internationals Frank Rijkaard, Marco van Basten and Ruud Gullit that earned the plaudits.

After just 47 minutes Sacchi’s side had won the match after taking an unassailable 4-0 lead as they made the Romanian champions and 1986 winners look ordinary with two goals apiece for Gullit and Van Basten.

A year later Milan retained their title, the last team to achieve the feat, after Rijkaard scored the only goal of the game against Benfica in Vienna.

European Cup victories, five: 1977, 1978, 1981, 1984 & 2005
The halcyon years: 1977, 1978, 1981 & 1984

Liverpool’s dominance of Europe started in 1977 when Bob Paisley’s side beat Borussia Mönchengladbach 3-1 in Rome with goals from Terry McDermott, a collectors item from Tommy Smith and a Phil Neal penalty.

The match, played just days after an FA Cup final defeat to Manchester United, marked Kevin Keegan’s last ever appearance for the club before he joined Hamburg of the Bundesliga.

A year later Paisley’s side reached the final at Wembley where they beat Brugge thanks to a neat dink from Kenny Dalglish, Keegan’s replacement, as the Merseysiders became the first English club to win back-to-back titles.

In 1981, after a two-year hiatus that saw compatriots Nottingham Forest match Liverpool’s successive wins, the Merseysiders returned to the top table of European football when they beat Real Madrid in Paris following a late goal from Alan Kennedy.

Liverpool’s fourth title, despite needing to go to penalties, was in many ways their most remarkable. After beating Dinamo Bucharest in the semi-final they had to play Roma in the Olympic Stadium, Rome.

Joe Fagan’s side, though, played a clever game and refused to buckle in an intimidating atmosphere. After taking an early lead through Neal Roberto Pruzzo equalised for the Italians before the game went to a shoot-out.

Bruce Grobbelaar, the club’s eccentric goalkeeper, famously did his “spaghetti legs” routine as Roma players prepared to take their kicks. Both Bruno Conti and Francesco Graziani missed before Kennedy, again, scored the decisive goal to win a fourth European Cup for the club.

Bayern Munich
European Cup victories, four: 1974, 1975, 1976 & 2001
The halcyon years: 1974, 1975 & 1976

Following Ajax’s hat-trick of European Cup wins it was Bayern Munich’s turn to dominate European club football.

Their first triumph came in a replay against Atlético Madrid in the Heysel Stadium, Belgium, after the two sides had drawn 1-1 after extra time in the first meeting.

The Bayern team, managed by Udo Lattek, that featured an embarrassment of riches including Sepp Maier, Paul Breitner, Franz Beckenbauer and Gerd Müller brushed aside Atleti in the replay with Uli Hoeness and Müller scoring two goals apiece in their 4-0 victory.

A year later Bayern beat Leeds United, only the second English team to reach a final, in a controversial match in Paris that ended with the Germans winning 2-0 after Franz Roth and the prolific Müller both scored.

Bayern’s third European Cup win broke the hearts of the French after they beat the popular Saint-Étienne at Hampden Park.

Roth, once again, scored but not before Saint-Étienne’s Jacques Santini and Dominique Bathenay had missed a slew of goalscoring opportunities and the chance to become France’s first winners of the competition founded by L’Équipe, a French sports newspaper.

European Cup victories, four: 1971, 1972, 1973 & 1995
The halcyon years: 1971, 1972 & 1973

The champions of Holland, managed by Rinus Michels, won their first European Cup after beating Panathinaikos at Wembley Stadium in 1971 with just one non-Dutch player, Velibor Vasovic of the former Yugoslavia, in their starting line-up.

After Michels left Amsterdam to manage Barcelona his footballing ideals lived on as Ajax went on to win a second title after two goals from Johan Cruyff was enough to beat Inter Milan in Rotterdam.

The following year Johan Neeskens and Johnny Rep joined Cruyff in the Belgrade final where Ajax beat Juventus 1-0. A year later the Ajax triumvirate were reunited with Michels who led Holland to the World Cup final where millions around the world witnessed Michels’ Total Football philosophy that had been developed on the training grounds at Ajax.

Source: Telegraph

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