Definition of Champions League

The UEFA Champions League is one of the most sought after trophies in the world, perhaps only behind the World Cup in terms of footballing glory. It is a competition of Europe's most elite clubs, with league winners going up against one another to decide who is the best in Europe.

The meaning of the term Champions League is defined and explained, when it comes to the sport of soccer / football.The competition began in 1955 and was known as the European Cup. It was a knockout tournament that only league champions could play in, leading to smaller tournaments and somewhat less likely winners. These teams included Scottish team Celtic, former Yugoslavia's Red Star Belgrade and Romania's Steaua Bucuresti.

In 1992, the competition changed to its current form, where teams play qualification matches to get into a round robin group stage. The top 2 teams progress into a traditional tournament. No longer are only league champions permitted, but the top 4 (or 3) teams from the top leagues (Spain, Italy, Germany, England and France) qualify. As a consequence, it is quite rare to see underdog stories, as smaller teams from smaller leagues have to overcome many more obstacles to reach the final.

Real Madrid is the most successful team in the tournament, having won it 13 times (including 3 consecutive trophies from 2016-18). AC Milan and Bayern Munich are the next most successful, with 7 and 6 victories respectively. Unsurprisingly, Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionesl Messi have shot straight to the top of the scoring records in the Champions League, with 134 and 118 respectively. Meanwhile Iker Casillas has the most appearances in the competition, although at the time of writing, Cristiano Ronaldo is only 3 appearances away from overtaking him.

The Champions League continues to draw eyes from all over the world. People want to see the best compete, and there's nowhere else to see it on such a regular basis like the UEFA Champions League.