How far can you go? European football's longest away journeys

How far can clubs travel in pursuit of UEFA club competition glory? UEFA.com maps the furthest reaches of the footballing continent.

Benfica's Pizzi tries to evade Astana's Serikzhan Muzhikov during their long-haul draw in Kazakhstan
Benfica's Pizzi tries to evade Astana's Serikzhan Muzhikov during their long-haul draw in Kazakhstan AFP via Getty Images

When UEFA was first founded in 1954, there were only 25 member nations, with Moscow and Lisbon – the most easterly and westerly capitals in the footballing continent – lying 4,000km apart.

The world has moved on since then, with the expansion of UEFA's membership and political changes in Europe broadening the playing surface significantly. UEFA.com maps the four corners of the continent.

Longest journeys in UEFA club football history

Bruno Fernandes after scoring in Sporting CP's home game against Astana
Bruno Fernandes after scoring in Sporting CP's home game against AstanaGetty Images

Benfica 2-0 Astana
Astana 2-2 Benfica

2015/16 UEFA Champions League group stage

Astana 1-3 Sporting
Sporting 3-3 Astana
2017/18 UEFA Europa League round of 32

A European record was set in the 2015/16 UEFA Champions League group stage when Benfica beat Astana 2-0 at home and drew 2-2 in the return leg in Kazakhstan – the away sides making the longest journeys in the history of UEFA's club competitions, around 6,173km.

A similar trip followed when Astana met Sporting CP in the 2017/18 UEFA Europa League round of 32. Sporting's Estádio José Alvalade is a little to the east of the Estádio do Sport Lisboa e Benfica, meaning Astana nominally had a few thousand metres less to travel as the crow flies than they did in 2015.

Longest UEFA club journey

Kairat players in Lisbon ahead of UEFA's longest victory parade
Kairat players in Lisbon ahead of UEFA's longest victory parade©Sportsfile

Kairat Almaty
2015 UEFA Futsal Cup finals
Sporting CP
2017 UEFA Futsal Cup finals
Sporting CP

2019 UEFA Futsal Champions League finals

The longest victory parade in European competition history took Kairat back to Kazakhstan after they had won the top prize in club futsal in Lisbon in April 2015 – the 6,911km journey west not flustering Cacau's side. Sporting CP made the return voyage when the 2017 final-four event was held in Almaty, but lost 7-0 in the decider. However, they had a happier visit in April 2019, winning the tournament for the first time under its new name.

Longest European/South American Cup journey

Racing Avellaneda 2-1 Celtic

Between 1960 and 2004, the champions of Europe and South America competed for the UEFA-endorsed European/South American Cup – or Intercontinental Cup. The furthest any team had to travel was 11,304km, when Celtic flew south to take on Argentina's Racing Avellaneda in the 1967 edition. Having won the home leg 1-0, they lost 2-1 in Buenos Aires.

Shortest journeys in UEFA club football history

AC Milan 0-0 Inter Milan
Inter Milan 1-1 AC Milan

2002/03 UEFA Champions League semi-finals

AC Milan 2-0 Inter Milan
Inter Milan 0-3 AC Milan

2004/05 UEFA Champions League quarter-finals

In the early days of European football, smaller clubs were occasionally persuaded to play both their home and away games at their opponents' stadiums, but no actual away assignment involved a shorter round trip than these two Milan derbies. The clubs always have the same – different! – dressing rooms at San Siro, ensuring an away trip of 0km for these ties. Ironically, the first of the encounters was won on away goals.

Most northerly UEFA games

Tromsø's Alfheim Stadium
Tromsø's Alfheim Stadium©Getty Images

Norway's Tromsø have played 27 UEFA home matches at their Alfheim Stadium.
The city of Tromso's coordinates are 69° 40' 58" N, which is inside the Arctic Circle. The longest UEFA mission to Tromsø was undertaken by İnter Bakı from Azerbaijan, who had to trek 3,717km for a 2-0 UEFA Europa League second qualifying round loss in July 2013.

Most southerly UEFA games (excluding European/South American Cup)

Spain's Las Palmas have played five UEFA home games at their Estadio de Gran Canaria.
Las Palmas is in the Canary Islands, coordinates 28° 9' 0" N, which lie off the coast of Morocco and are further south than Cairo.
The longest UEFA journey to Gran Canaria was made by Sloboda Tuzla from Bosnia and Herzegovina, who travelled 3,548km for a 5-0 UEFA Cup first round defeat in September 1977.

Most easterly UEFA games

Sibir played two UEFA home games
Sibir played two UEFA home games©Alexey Ignatovich

Russia's Sibir Novosibirsk played two UEFA home fixtures at their Spartak Stadium Novosibirsk.
The coordinates are 82° 56' 0" E: about as far east as Nepal. The longest of the two journeys to play Sibir was a 4,951km haul braved by PSV Eindhoven for a 1-0 UEFA Europa League play-off defeat in August 2010.

Most westerly UEFA games (excluding European/South American Cup)

Santa Clara played two UEFA home games at the São Miguel Stadium in Ponta Delgada.
The main city in the Azores, Ponta Delgada's coordinates are 25° 44' 50" W, meaning it lies about as far west as Cape Verde.
The longest journey to Ponta Delgada was tackled by Armenia's Shirak, who travelled 5,824km west for a 2-0 UEFA Intertoto Cup first round reverse in June 2002.

Longest possible journeys

Luch-Energiya spent three seasons in the Russian top division
Luch-Energiya spent three seasons in the Russian top division©Getty Images

Confine the search to clubs who have participated in UEFA competitions and the longest possible odyssey would be a 8,046km trip for a game between Sibir Novosibirsk and Tenerife – another side from the Canaries who are even further west than Las Palmas, though not as far south – but even more arduous journeys could theoretically happen.

Luch Vladivostok spent three seasons in the Russian top flight from 2006 to 2008; their Dynamo Stadium lies 100m from the Sea of Japan. A theoretical game between Luch-Energiya and Tenerife would require an 11,460km trip each way.

Europe's boundaries can be stretched even further though. Teams from overseas territories are entitled to play in the Portuguese and French domestic cups.

If Santa Clara's base in the Azores is a long way west, the situation in France is even more startling, given that sides from Mayotte, Reunion, Guadeloupe, Martinique and French Guyana can all theoretically qualify for European competition as French Cup winners.

Should current French Guyanese champions Agouado ever have to play Luch-Energiya in a European match, it would entail a round trip of the best part of 30,000km – and it would be closer for them to fly west than east. The circumference of the planet, incidentally, is around 40,000km.