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UEFA Champions League

The UEFA Champions League (usually referred to as just the Champions League) is an annual football cup competition organized by Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) for the top football clubs in Europe. The competition is played between the European national league champions. See also the UEFA Europa League, another annual competition for European football clubs.

European Champion Clubs' CupEuropean Champion Clubs' Cup

The winner of the UEFA Champions League earns the right to play against the winner of the UEFA Europa League in the UEFA Super Cup. The Champions League winner also automatically qualifies for the following year's UEFA Champions League group stage.

This competition was first held for the 1955-56 season, and up until 1992 the tournament was called the European Cup or European Champions' Cup (officially the European Champion Clubs' Cup, or Coupe des Clubs Champions Européens in French). Originally only 16 teams participated, In 1960 the tournament expanded to 32 teams. The 2024/25 UEFA Champions League will be the first under the new 36-team league phase format.

Originally, the competition involved only the winning team in each national league, but since the 1997–98 season multiple entrants from certain countries was allowed. The strongest leagues now provide up to four teams.

Real Madrid hold the record for the most victories, having won the competition 14 times, including the inaugural competition in 1956 (actually including the first five seasons), and their latest in 2022. (see the List of Champions League Winners)

The 2013-14 final was the first in the tournament's history to feature teams from the same city. The same two clubs faced each other again in the 2016 final. In 2000, two Spanish teams battled in the final, though they were from different cities.

Which Teams Play?

Only 32 club teams from Europe make it to the group stage of the of the Champions League tournament. 26 teams given direct entry, while six teams qualify for the Champions League group stage via qualifying.

The teams with direct entry include those finishing in the top of the major European club tournaments, Premier League, La Liga, Serie A and Bundesliga, with spots also guaranteed for the leading clubs in France and Portugal.

Teams that do not qualify, transfer into the Europa League group stage.

Tournament Format

The 32 qualifying teams are split into eight groups of four, with each team playing the other three teams in their respective group in a double round-robin format. The winner and runner-up of each group advanced to the round of 16 knockout phase, continuing with quarterfinals, semifinals and the final.

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