A por la undécima. For the eleventh one. That is the rallying cry of all Real Madrid supporters as they have a chance to break their own record and win an 11th Champions League title this Saturday.
Real Madrid has a long, storied history with the Champions League finals and to chronicle the accolades they have earned throughout the years is a tough task, but one that we at 32 Flags bring to you.
Since the inception of the European Cup competition (later renamed the Champions League) in the 1955-56 season, Real Madrid has dominated it. With legendary names like Marquitos, Héctor Rial, Miguel Muñoz and, of course, Alfredo Di Stéfano, Real Madrid faced off against Stade de Reims in the first ever European Cup final at the Parc des Princes in Paris. Two early goals by Reims had the Spaniards reeling, but after a valiant effort by Real (thanks to two goals by Rial) and a goal by Di Stéfano and Marquitos, they were able to hold off to win 4-3 and lift their first European Cup.
It would be the first of five consecutive European Cups for Real Madrid, as they went on the next year to beat Fiorentina by a score of 2-0 to win the 1957 edition of the European Cup with goals by Di Stéfano and the great Paco Gento. History would repeat itself under a new manager as the Argentine boss Luis Antonio Carniglia would lead los Merengues into European glory again in 1958 with a thrilling extra time victory over A.C. Milan thanks to Gento’s 107th minute winner to claim the cup once again.
Real’s fourth European Cup title in 1959 would come against the team they had beat in their first conquest of the cup in Stade de Reims, but would win in a decisive manner by a score of 2-0 in the Neckarstadion in Stuttgart with a first minute goal by Enrique Mateos and an early goal in the second half by the legendary Di Stéfano. Los Merengues’ 1960 victory over Eintracht Frankfurt was a blowout as that season the legendary Hungarian Ferenc Puskás joined Real Madrid, and he was instrumental in the 1960 European Cup final. He scored four goals, complimented by Di Stefano’s three goals, as Madrid was brilliant over Frankfurt handing them a 7-3 defeat on their way to fifth consecutive title.
The next year Real Madrid was finally knocked out of the tournament before reaching the finals, and it was by none other than their fierce rival Barcelona, but they would be back in the 1962 final in a fierce showdown against the late, great Eusébio’s high-scoring Benfica squad. Puskás was a one-man machine for Real Madrid as, once again, he scored a hat trick in the European Cup final, but Benfica would not be denied as a 67th minute goal by Eusébio was too much for Real and they lost their first ever final by a score of 4-3 in Amsterdam.
After missing out of the finals again in 1963, los Blancos were back in the final 1964 looking for their sixth title in Vienna. The only problem? They encountered Helenio Herrera’s famous “Grande Inter” and the famous catenaccio of the Italians was too much for Real as they could only get one goal past the stingy Inter defense. Two goals by Sandro Mazzola and one by Aurelio Milani were enough to deny Real their sixth European Cup title.
However, Madrid was to win their sixth European Cup title in 1966 as they battled through the competition to face off against FK Partizan from, what was then called, Yugoslavia. With legendary names like Di Stéfano, Puskás and Rial gone, Real had only Paco Gento leftover from the glory days. But with new, soon-to-be Real legends like Pirri, Amancio and Ramón Grosso, Real seemed destined for future European Cup glory especially after Amancio scored the tying goal in the 70th minute against Partizan. Another six minutes later by Fernando Serena clinched the Cup for the sixth time for the Spaniards.
However, it would be 15 years until Real Madrid would step foot in another European Cup final. The year was 1981, and Liverpool was the new Real Madrid, dominating the European Cup competition from 1977-84, when they won four titles in that span. Real, although fielding such names as Laurie Cunningham, Juanito, Uli Stielike and current Spain national manager Vicente del Bosque, they were no match for the overpowering Liverpool offense. A late 82nd minute goal by Alan Kennedy saw Liverpool hoist the Cup that year in Paris.
Click page 2 for Real Madrid in the Champions League era