10 interesting facts about the champions league

Discover what game was the first of the European Cup, who has been the youngest player to participate or the quickest goal scored

1The first match

First Champions League match feature in t’he Sportinf Club Portugal newspaper (Sporting CP)

The first edition of the European Cup was played in the season 1955/1956 and the opening game was played by Sporting Club Portugal and Partizan Belgrade. The arena was the National Lisbon Stadium, on the 4th of September 1995 at 17.00h.

There was no winner as the final result was 3-3, but local fans were able to celebrate the first goal in the history of the competition which was scored by their striker Joao Martins 14 minutes after the game started.

2The first and the last champion

Real Madrid is the Champions League king (AFP)

The first and the last champion of the maximum European competition is the same team: Real Madrid. A not so strange coincidence, as the Spanish club is the king of the main tournament milestones: it is the team that has participated the most times (47), the one that has won the most editions (11), the one that has played the most games (409), that has celebrated the most victories (244) and that has scored the most number of goals (905).

However, it is also the club that has lost the most games in the Champions and the one who has had the most goals scored against them. Europe is their home.

3Bad luck?

Atletico de Madrid has lost three Champions League finals (Getty)

Atletico de Madrid is the only club that has been in the final three times and has lost them all. Two of them in the last three years and against its big opponent, Real Madrid, after reaching minute 90 with a draw. The goddess of Fortune is not a fan of Atletico de Madrid.

On the contrary, Porto and Nottingham Forest are the only teams that have repeated final, twice each, and they have always ended as the champion.

4The important thing is to participate

Teams of very different levels participate in t’he Champions League (LVD-LVD)

A total of 500 teams have participated in some of the 61 editions of the European Cup, including the previous stages. Only 22 of these clubs know what being the champion is.

Instead, three times more teams ( 67 ) have played the Champions and have only known the defeat, without having won nor tied a single game. The team that has the worst numbers is Avenir Beggen from Luxemburg: they played 12 games and lost them all, with a goal in favour and 56 against.

5The match routine

The match routine

The Spanish Iker Casillas is the footballer that has played the most games in the Champions League with a total of 168, defending the T-shirts of Real Madrid and Porto. The number is so high that there are only 14 teams that have played more games than the goalkeeper from Madrid. And he has not hang up his boots yet, so Casillas could improve his European curriculum.

6Age (almost) does not matter

Céléstine Babayaro debuted in t’he Champions League three months after turning 16 (UEFA.com)

Almost 30 years separate the youngest player and the most veteran who have participated in a Champions League game. Nigerian Céléstine Babayaro has the record of underaged player, who debuted when he was 16 years old and 87 days wearing the Belgian T-shirt from Anderlecht.

On the contrary, the oldest player is the Italian Marco Ballotta, Lazio de Roma’s goalkeeper, who played his last game in the European competition at age 43 and 253 days .

7The quickest gunman

Makaay celebrated the quickest goal scored in t’he Champions League history. (Getty)

Out of the thousands of goals that have been scored in the Champions League, the quickest in entering the football goal was scored by Roy Makaay playing for Bayern Munich against Real Madrid. The Spanish team served from the middle of the field, but the Germans rapidly took the ball and the Dutch striker opened the score at 10.12 seconds on the Round of 16 return in 2007. The best way to start a game.

The opposite from Iñigo Martínez, author of the quickest own goal in the League of Champions history. The Real Sociedad defense scored it after 2 minutes and 9 seconds in the Manchester United Stadium in a game where there were no more goals. A defeat for the minimum.

8A well-dressed ball

Champions League Final ball 2016/2017 (UEFA.com)

One of the modern Champions League changes is designing a new ball for each edition of the tournament. This season the design will be based on the scenery of the final: the Welsh city of Cardiff.

So much so that the ball named Cardiff Finale has a printed dragon on its leather. Dragons are Wales’ national emblem as a symbol of power and strength in Celts mythology.

9Better with family

Sergio Busquets and his dad, Carles, have been present in 4 out of 5 Champions Leagues won by Barça (Dani Duch)

The Champions history observes three families with father and son as European Champions: the Sanchís with Real Madrid, Manuel Sanchís Martínez and Manuel Sanchís Hontiyuelo; the Maldini, Cesare and Paolo, with Milan; and the Busquets, Carles and Sergio with Barça.

There are also four pairs of brothers that have lifted the title: Michael and Brian Laudrup (Barça and Milan); Frank and Ronald de Boer (Ajax); Gary and Phil Neville (Manchester United); and Gabi and Diego Milito (Barça and Inter Milan).

10A different geography

European geography does not match with the Champions (omersukrugoksu)

UEFA, entity that organises the Champions League, includes a total of 53 national federations. One for each country? Not exactly: there are states, like the United Kingdom, with different federations which contribute with teams individually. (England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and Gibraltar).

Furthermore, UEFA includes some Eurasian countries like Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Russia, Armenia, Turkey or Israel, states which also enjoy to have representatives in the Champions.

Find out more in Junior Report.

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