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.

Will Madrid end Champions League holders' curse?
Will Madrid end Champions League holders' curse? ©AFP/Getty Images

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*

SeasonTeamStage
1992/93Barcelonasecond round
1994/95AC Milanrunners-up
1995/96Ajaxrunners-up
1996/97Juventusrunners-up
1997/98Dortmundsemi-finals
1998/99Madridquarter-final
1999/2000Man. Unitedquarter-finals
2000/01Madridsemi-finals
2001/02Bayernquarter-finals
2002/03Madridsemi-finals
2003/04AC Milanquarter-finals
2004/05Portoround of 16
2005/06Liverpoolround of 16
2006/07Barcelonaround of 16
2007/08AC Milanround of 16
2008/09Man. Unitedrunners-up
2009/10Barcelonasemi-finals
2010/11Interquarter-finals
2011/12Barcelonasemi-finals
2012/13Chelseagroup stage
2013/14Bayernsemi-finals
2014/15Madridsemi-finals
2015/16Barcelonaquarter-finals

*Marseille were barred from entering in 1993/94