Will Madrid end Champions League holders' curse?

It is one of the more remarkable pieces of football trivia: no team has ever won back-to-back titles in the UEFA Champions League era. Real Madrid are now just one game away.

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If Real Madrid – who reached the final at Atlético's expense on Wednesday – are to lift the trophy in Cardiff on 3 June they will spoil one of the more remarkable pieces of football trivia: no team has won back-to-back titles in the UEFA Champions League era (1992/93 onwards).

Close calls

Four clubs defending the trophy have made it all the way to the final, only to come off second best:
1994/95: AC Milan lost 1-0 v Ajax
1995/96: Ajax lost 4-2 on penalties v Juventus
1996/97: Juventus lost 3-1 v Dortmund
2009/10: Manchester United lost 3-1 v Barcelona

Highlights: Milan are the last team to retain the European Cup
Highlights: Milan are the last team to retain the European Cup

European Cup

It was a very different story in the early days of the competition: Madrid won the first five editions! Seven other sides also successfully defended their title pre-1992/93: Benfica, Internazionale Milano, Ajax (twice), Bayern (twice), Liverpool, Nottingham Forest and AC Milan.

Successful defences

European Cup era: 13/37
UEFA Champions League era: 0/24

How holders have fared*

Season Team Stage
1992/93 Barcelona second round
1994/95 AC Milan runners-up
1995/96 Ajax runners-up
1996/97 Juventus runners-up
1997/98 Dortmund semi-finals
1998/99 Madrid quarter-final
1999/2000 Man. United quarter-finals
2000/01 Madrid semi-finals
2001/02 Bayern quarter-finals
2002/03 Madrid semi-finals
2003/04 AC Milan quarter-finals
2004/05 Porto round of 16
2005/06 Liverpool round of 16
2006/07 Barcelona round of 16
2007/08 AC Milan round of 16
2008/09 Man. United runners-up
2009/10 Barcelona semi-finals
2010/11 Inter quarter-finals
2011/12 Barcelona semi-finals
2012/13 Chelsea group stage
2013/14 Bayern semi-finals
2014/15 Madrid semi-finals
2015/16 Barcelona quarter-finals

*Marseille were barred from entering in 1993/94