Since the 1955-56 season the European Cup, now Champions League has provided some wonderful footballing moments Many say that the Champions League is the pinnacle of football, better than the World Cup. Due to the talent on show, the Champions League drums up huge excitement, especially in the latter stages. It is the only competition that allows the best teams in Europe to play each other competitively, at the highest level.
Since its inception in 1955 many records have been broken, and some have stood for the majority of that time. Below are some of the more interesting records to have been set in Europe's leading competition.
Six players have scored a hat-trick on their debut in the Champions League
Marco Van Basten (AC Milan), Faustino Asprilla (Newcastle United), Yakubu (Maccabi Haifa), Wayne Rooney (Manchester United), Vincenzo Iaquinta (Juventus), Grafite (Wolfsburg)
The fastest ever goal scored in the Champions League
Roy Makaay holds this record from his time at Bayern Munich. He scored after just 10.12 seconds against Real Madrid on 7th March 2007.
Only one side has progressed past the first group stage after losing their first three games
Newcastle United achieved this in 2002-2003. They progressed through to the second group stage as it was then thanks to a last minute Craig Bellamy goal against Feyenoord in their final group match. Juventus and Dynamo Kiev were the other two sides in Newcastle's difficult group.
Only one side has drawn all six group games
AEK Athens drew all of their games in the 2002-2003 competition. They finished third in their group, and advanced to the UEFA Cup. These included games against Real Madrid and Roma.
The city of Milan is the only city to have two clubs win the Champions League
Inter Milan and AC Milan have won the competition ten times between them. Madrid is the second most successful city, with Real Madrid having won nine trophies with Atletico Madrid runners-up in 1974.
Most points achieved, yet knocked out of the group stage
In the 1997-98 competition, Paris Saint-Germain gained 12 points but did not advance to the knockout stages. At this point the competition only had 24 teams in it; six groups of 4. The winners of each group advanced along with the two best runners-up. PSG were only the third best runners-up.
Only four teams have negotiated all three rounds of qualifying to make it to the group stage
Liverpool in 2005–06
Artmedia Bratislava in 2005–06
Anorthosis in 2008–09
BATE in 2008–09
The longest undefeated home record
Bayern Munich were undefeated in 31 home Champions League games stretching from 1998 to 2002. They were finally defeated 3-2 by Deportivo La Coruna.
The longest undefeated record
Manchester United were unbeaten in 25 games. From the opening game of the 2007-2008 competition to the final of the 2008-2009 competition when they lost to Barcelona 2-0.
Only one player has won the Champions League with three different clubs
Clarence Seedorf first won the competition with Ajax in 1995. He then won it with Real Madrid in 1998, and AC Milan in 2003 and 2007.
image: © El Ronzo