Often considered to be the pinnacle of a team's success, the Champions League title is undoubtedly the most elusive prize in club football. Ever since its inception in 1955, as many as 22 clubs from all across Europe have gotten their hands on the famous trophy. According to the current Champions League format, 32 teams clash with each other in an attempt to secure European glory.
Breakdown of the current Champions League season
After a pandemic-riddled 2020-21 season, things have finally started to settle down in the sporting world. Following Bayern Munich's predicted victory in an updated Champions League format in 2020, Chelsea shocked everyone by winning it last season. In the current season, every participant has had the opportunity to play their opening games, however, to contrasting fortunes.
Barcelona continued their continental misery with yet another defeat at the hands of Bayern Munich, losing 0-3 to them on home soil. Despite Cristiano Ronaldo's efforts, Manchester United ended up losing 2-1 to Young Boys through a sensational last-minute winner. Meanwhile, Manchester City romped to a 6-3 win against RB Leipzig, with Jack Grealish scoring his first Champions League goal for the Sky Blues.
In light of so many shockers, it is almost impossible to predict the clubs that'll contest this season's Champions League final. Having said that, a certain group of teams have the required experience to make a name for themselves, yet again. On that note, let's take a look at the five clubs with the most appearances in Champions League finals:
#5 Juventus - 9 finals
A surprise entry in this list, Juventus have won the highly coveted Champions title only twice in their 123 years of existence. As a result, the Bianconeri have an unwanted record of losing most continental finals to their name. Having been part of nine finals, Juventus have been on the losing end a mind-boggling seven times.
The Italian giants have an abysmal Champions League track record in recent history. For the last four seasons, Juventus have failed to progress past the quarterfinal stage and have been knocked out in the Round-of-16 stage since 2020. Even with Cristiano Ronaldo leading their attacking line, the Old Lady disappointingly crashed out of the competition early last season.
With such a jagged history, Juventus have thoroughly earned the nickname of continental bottlers. Their last Champions League title came in 1996, before the tournament's rebranding. Following Ronaldo's exit this season, Juventus' chances of winning this year's edition of the competition have been dampened even further.
#4 Liverpool - 9 finals
At number four are the Premier League giants with the most turbulent Champions League history. Liverpool enjoyed a dominant period on the European front in the late 70s and early 80s. The Reds contested an impressive five finals during this era, winning four of them.
In total, Liverpool have been involved in nine Champions League finals, coming out victorious on six occasions. Their most recent European win came in the 2018-19 season, famously thumping Barcelona 4-3 on aggregate in the semifinals and edging past Tottenham in the final.
However, the 19-time Premier League champions are best known in Europe for their lead role in the 'miracle of Istanbul', orchestrating a fabled comeback against AC Milan in 2005. Liverpool reigned supreme on the night, securing their fifth Champions League title through a penalty shootout after coming from 3-0 behind in the second half. With Jurgen Klopp at the helm, the Reds have once again cemented their place among the top European teams.
Also read: 5 superstars sold by Jose Mourinho