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Teams who Nearly Defended the Champions League

Teams who Nearly Defended the Champions League

Quite a few footballing records were broken at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff, Wales on the night of the 3rd of June, 2017. It was the place where the final of the most prestigious tournament in club football- the UEFA Champions League- was hosted. Spanish giants, Real Madrid, completed what was arguably their best season in recent years. To cap it off, they outclassed Italian Champions, Juventus, to be crowned the best in Europe for the 12th time.

Los Blancos won their 3rd Champions League title in four years by defeating Juve 4-1, with Cristiano Ronaldo(2), Casemiro and Marco Asensio scoring for the winners while Mario Mandzukic netted the only goal for the runner-ups. Not only did Real Madrid maintain their cent percent success rate of winning a Champions League final, they also became the first club to win the coveted trophy consecutive times.

Though there are few clubs(Real Madrid, Internazionale, Liverpool, Nottingham Forest, Benfica, Ajax Amsterdam, Bayern Munich and AC Milan) who have achieved this feat in the second half of the 20th century, back then the competition was called the European Cup(only champions of each country’s domestic leagues were permitted to enter and it was a straight knockout competition). No club  had, until now, won the Champions League successively since its inception in the 1992-93 season. A handful of clubs came close to achieving this feat though. Here’s a look at them:

AC Milan (1995):

Football clubs who came close to defending the Champions League
Pic credits – UEFA.com

Having lost the Champions League final against Olympique Marseille in 1994, AC Milan were once again in contention to reign supreme in Europe the following year, as they played Johan Cruyff’s mighty Barcelona in the final of the 1995 Champions League in  Athens, Greece. Milan, being the underdogs going in to the fixture, stunned everyone as they ripped through the Catalans to win the title. The final scoreline was:

AC Milan (Daniele Massaro ’22, ’45+3, Dejan Savicevic ’47, Marcel Desailly ’55) 4-0 Barcelona

Football clubs who came close to defending the Champions League
Pic Credits – Getty Images

The Rossoneri reached the final of the Champions League third time in a row in 1995. They were on the cusp of becoming the first team to defend the Champions League in Vienna, Austria, when they played against Ajax Amsterdam. However, Milan’s experienced side was completely undone by a youthful Ajax team. The final scoreline was:

Ajax Amsterdam(Patrick Kluivert ’84) 1-0 AC Milan

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