Ranking Real Madrid’s seven Champions League winners since the year 2000

Ryan Baldi
Real Madrid keep winning the Champions League.
Real Madrid keep winning the Champions League.

Real Madrid take on Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League final at Wembley on Saturday hoping to secure a 15th European Cup.

The Spanish giants, who appear to have some kind of hex over the competition, have been European champions more than twice as many times as the next most-frequent winners, AC Milan.

A victory over Dortmund this weekend would give Madrid as many titles as every English club combined. They already have more than the combined tallies of any other European nation, including Italy (12) and Germany (eight).

Indeed, a win at Wembley would mean Los Blancos will have collected more European Cups in the last quarter of a century alone than any other club has managed in the tournament’s 69-year history.

Here, we’ve ranked every Champions League-winning Real Madrid side since the year 2000:

 

7) Real Madrid 1999/2000
While this was still a star-studded squad by most standards, Madrid had not yet entered the era of the Galacticos. Luis Figo’s world-record arrival from Barcelona came the following summer and Zinedine Zidane signed the year after.

John Toshack was dismissed from the Bernabeu dug-out in November after an eight-game winless streak in the league. He was replaced by Vicente Del Bosque, who turned around Madrid’s fortunes and Raul equalled a career-high return of 29 goals.

A 3-0 thumping of Valencia in the Champions League final is best remembered for Steve McManaman’s sublime volley. But Madrid finished third in La Liga, behind Valencia and Real Zaragoza, two points off top spot in a season when just 64 points was enough to win the title.

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6) Real Madrid 2017/18
It is a mark of Madrid’s ridiculously high standards that in what was something of a poor year, in which they lost their La Liga crown and slipped to third in the league, they still managed to win the bloody European Cup; they really can’t help themselves. Gareth Bale’s spectacular bicycle kick helped sink Liverpool 3-1 in the final.

In a most un-Madrid move, they came out of the 2017 summer transfer market in the black in terms of net spend, with youngsters Dani Ceballos and Theo Hernandez their only major signings. The sales of Alvaro Morata and Danilo, to Chelsea and Manchester City respectively, plus James Rodriguez’s loan to Bayern Munich, brought in more than €100 million.

And even though they were a full 17 points of the pace in La Liga, they did win the World Club Cup mid-season. What most clubs would give for a ‘bad’ season like Madrid’s.

 

5) Real Madrid 2001/02
It was another season of domestic underperformance for Madrid in 2001/02, as they were beaten 10 times in La Liga en route to a third-place finish, nine points behind champions Valencia.

But when they were good, they were great. And they saved their best for Europe. Reigning champions Bayern Munich were vanquished in the quarter-finals and Clasico rivals Barca were seen off on the semis.

Zidane had joined in a world-record £46million deal and the World Cup winner claimed his first Champions League title after twice being a runner-up with Juventus, scoring a spectacular left-footed volley against Bayer Leverkusen in the final at Hampden Park.

READ: Portrait of an Icon on Zinedine Zidane

 

4) Real Madrid 2021/22
Madrid won La Liga as well this season, but the battle for supremacy in the Spanish top flight wasn’t as competitive as it had been in previous years, with Barcelona reeling from Lionel Messi’s exit for Paris Saint-Germain. Carlo Ancelotti’s side topped the table with 86 points, an admirable tally but one that would not have been enough for a top-two finish in earlier seasons.

Ronaldo had left for Juventus by this point and Gareth Bale was barely a factor, with just seven total appearances and one goal. But Karim Benzema had the best season of his career, scoring 44 goals, while a young Vinicius Junior was beginning to emerge as a superstar, with the winner against Liverpool in the Champions League final his 22nd goal of the campaign.

 

3) Real Madrid 2013/14
By Real Madrid’s standards, 12 years without a Champions League triumph is a serious drought. Stuck on eight titles in Europe’s top club competition since Zidane’s Hampden howitzer, Carlo Ancelotti arrived to break the mini-curse.

They were top scorers in La Liga this season, with 104 goals, but their 87-point haul was, remarkably, only good enough for third place as Atletico claimed a first La Liga title since the mid-1990s.

But Real exacted revenge in the Champions League final, beating their cross-town rivals 4-1 after extra time.

This was Bale’s first season in Madrid after an £86million move from Tottenham. In addition to the pre-ponytailed Welshman’s header against Atleti in Lisbon, he scored a wondergoal against Barcelona to help Los Blancos claim the Copa del Rey.

Ronaldo produced his worst scoring season in four years, with a pathetic return of 51 goals. And Luka Modric, who’d arrived from Spurs a year before Bale, was begging to establish himself as a playmaker of the calibre to rival Xavi and Andres Iniesta in Barcelona.

 

2) Real Madrid 2015/16
A retrospective review of their results up until the point he was sacked in January of the 2015/16 season gives the impression that Rafa Benitez was very unfortunate to lose his job as Madrid manager. Under the former Liverpool boss’ charge, Los Blancos had topped their Champions League group, finishing above PSG, and had lost only three times in 18 league games.

But Madrid’s form upon Zidane’s immediate appointment shows why the club had no regrets come season’s end. A 12-game winning streak to finish the campaign wasn’t quite enough to pip Barcelona to the league title, with Madrid’s final tally of 90 points one short of the Catalans’ mark. But they overcame Manchester City in the Champions League semi-finals before beating Atletico Madrid on penalties in the final.

This was the BBC frontline at full force – Ronaldo finished the season with 51 goals from 48 games, Benzema scored 28 and Bale produced his best La Liga return for Madrid with 19 goals.

 

1) Real Madrid 2016/17
Madrid went one better in Zidane’s first full season at the helm by retaining their Champions League crown and adding the league title, losing just three times all season to top the table with 93 points.

Ronaldo was unstoppable again, this time netting 42 goals for the campaign, while Alvaro Morata was re-signed from Juventus to add another dimension to the attack, chipping in with 20 goals.

This season also produced Madrid’s most dominant Champions League final performance of the 21st century as they smashed Juventus 4-1 in Cardiff, with Ronaldo bagging a brace.

 

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