Throughout history, the European Cup (today called the Champions League) has seen how historic and unrepeatable teams won several titles in a few years, in a row or alternate, raising a whole generation of footballers to the top. Here we review some of the most important sagas.
Di Stéfano’s Real Madrid
Alfredo Di Stéfano’s Real Madrid was the first European Cup champion in 1956. And the second. And the third. And the fourth. And the fifth. In fact, he has a feat that no one has repeated so far: winning five consecutive titles. The Spanish-Argentine star was accompanied by other phenomena, mainly Paco Gento and Ferenc Puskas. A unique team that, for many who saw it, is the best in history.
Ajax Amsterdam, led by Johan Cruyff, dominated the championship three consecutive editions, from 71 to 73. But, above all, it has the honor of being considered the first modern team, with a ‘total football’ in which the fast and offensive game of the ‘Flaco’ and other players like Johan Neeskens, under the baton of the coach Rinus Michels.
Ajax’s leadership was ousted by another: Franz Beckenbauer’s Bayern Munich. His equipment was more pragmatic and rocky, but just as effective. In that saga that won the 74, 75 and 76 championships, other phenomena such as forward Torpedo Müller and goalkeeper Sepp Maier stood out.
Arrigo Sacchi’s AC Milan
“Only” they won two European Cups (89 and 90), but Arrigo Sacchi’s AC Milan did so with such an astonishing superiority that they beat Real Madrid of La Quinta del Buitre 5-0. In that group the Dutch trio (Van Basten, Rijkaard and Gullit) shone, as well as their Italian backbone, with Baresi and Ancelotti among others.
Leo Messi’s FC Barcelona
Observing the record, it cannot be said that Leo Messi’s FC Barcelona has been absolute dominator in the Champions League, as La Pulga has won 4 titles from 2006 to today. However, if we stick to the years of Pep Guardiola on the bench, his 2 titles in 3 years (2009 and 2011) left their mark on their brilliance, something only possible thanks to two other geniuses: Xavi and Iniesta. 2015, with Luis Enrique at the helm, was a worthy epilogue for this generation, which also had Neymar and Luis Suárez at the time.
Cristiano Ronaldo’s Real Madrid
4 championships in 5 years are numbers of absolute dominance. And that’s what Cristiano Ronaldo’s Real Madrid achieved from 2014 to 2018, three of which were consecutively with Zinedine Zidane as coach. A feat that no one had achieved since the Champions League format was adopted, in which figures such as Sergio Ramos, Luka Modric or Karim Benzema were also at fault.