UEFA Champions League anthem: lyrics, background, facts

Who wrote it? What is it called? What are the lyrics? Get all the key information here.

The Champions League anthem
The Champions League anthem

What is the UEFA Champions League anthem?

Known to set the hearts of many of the world's top footballers aflutter, the UEFA Champions League anthem accompanies the ceremony at the start of all games in the competition, and is also played in the opening and closing sequences of all UEFA Champions League broadcasts.

Does it have an official title?

No. UEFA Champions League anthem will do fine.

Who wrote and performed the original UEFA Champions League anthem?

The music, which cannot be bought or legally downloaded from any website, was written by British composer Tony Britten, a graduate of the Royal College of Music. Britten was commissioned in 1992 to devise a piece in the style of George Frideric Handel, and the iconic recording of his work is performed by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and sung by the Academy of Saint Martin in the Fields Chorus.

What are the lyrics?

Violinist David Garrett serenades the trophy ahead of the 2012 final in Munich
Violinist David Garrett serenades the trophy ahead of the 2012 final in MunichAFP via Getty Images

The lyrics mix elements from the three official UEFA languages: English, French and German.

Ce sont les meilleures équipes
Es sind die allerbesten Mannschaften
The main event

Die Meister
Die Besten
Les grandes équipes
The champions

Une grande réunion
Eine grosse sportliche Veranstaltung
The main event

Die Meister
Die Besten
Les grandes équipes
The champions

Ils sont les meilleurs
Sie sind die Besten
These are the champions

Die Meister
Die Besten
Les grandes équipes
The champions

© The Music Agency 1992

What do players think of the UEFA Champions League anthem?

What the anthem means to me - Lionel Messi
What the anthem means to me - Lionel Messi

Juventus goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon, who has heard the anthem more than most, said: “It’s always emotional to hear the Champions League anthem.”

Cristiano Ronaldo was captured on video singing along to the tune ahead of a UEFA Champions League quarter-final against Atlético in spring 2015.

Lionel Messi told UEFA.com it is an important song for him, explaining: "It's actually pretty nice when you walk out onto the pitch and you listen to it. You then know it’s a different match. It reminds you how special and important this competition is."

Dortmund forward Erling Braut Haaland used the anthem as his wake-up call on his alarm clock, explaining: "I wake up to it every day – it's the last song I'm tired of. I always get a perfect start to the day." More recently, he posted a video on Instagram of him listening to the anthem in his car.

Paris’ Kylian Mbappé cheekily put out of a video of him lifting a tiramisu out of his fridge while listening to the song.

Who has sung the anthem at past UEFA Champions League finals?

Since 2009, several artists have performed the anthem live at the final, with opera singer Andrea Bocelli appearing ahead of the 2009, 2016 and 2017 deciders.

Mariza gets ready to perform the anthem ahead of the 2014 decider
Mariza gets ready to perform the anthem ahead of the 2014 deciderGetty Images

2009, Rome: Andrea Bocelli (operatic tenor)
2010, Madrid: Juan Diego Flórez (operatic tenor)
2011, London: All Angels (classical crossover group)
2012, Munich: Jonas Kaufmann (operatic tenor) and David Garrett (violinist)
2013, London:
2014, Lisbon: Mariza (fado singer)
2015, Berlin: Nina Maria Fischer (operatic soprano) and Manuel Gómez Ruiz (operatic tenor)
2016, Milan: Andrea Bocelli (operatic tenor)
2017, Cardiff: Andrea Bocelli (operatic tenor)
2018, Kyiv: 2Cellos (cello duo)
2019, Madrid: Asturia Girls (electric string quartet)