The UEFA Champions League is the world's largest and most lucrative football tournament, with up to 77 clubs competing for around €1.1 billion in prize money every season. Here are ten of the most surprising achievements recorded in the Champions League since the tournament kicked off in 1955.
1. Only one 'local' team has won the Champions League
With football fully globalized, it's hard to imagine a team that isn't packed with stars from around the world being able to win the Champions League. However, Glasgow Celtic achieved this feat in 1967 with a squad of players all born within a 30-mile radius of the club's home ground.
2. The most successful team in Champions League history
Real Madrid is the most successful team in Champions League history, having taken the title on 10 occasions. In addition, Real Madrid holds the record for consecutive titles wins, taking the cup five times between 1955 and 1960. Real Madrid also holds the record for most consecutive Champions League appearances, participating in the tournament 15 times between 1955 and 1970.
3. The least wins to take the title
Dutch club PSV Eindhoven holds the unusual record for the fewest wins achieved to take the Champions League title. In 1987-88, PSV won just four matches during the course of the tournament. What's even stranger is that they didn't achieve an outright win in a single match from the quarterfinals onwards. They drew in both the quarterfinal and semi-final, progressing on the away goals rule, before competing in a goalless final that they eventually won on a penalty shootout.
4. Biggest winning margin
The biggest winning margin in a Champions League match was achieved by Dinamo Bucuresti in 1973-74, when they hammered Northern Ireland side, Crusaders, 11-0. Two Dinamo players scored four goals during the match, and the Crusaders themselves contributed to the goal tally when a hapless Liam Beckett put the 11th and final goal of the game into the back of his own net.
5. A coin toss
There have been many close encounters in the Champions League, but you may not know that the results of seven Champions League matches have been decided by the toss of a coin. The first time this happened was in the 1957-58 season, when a power failure prevented a playoff match between Wismut Mark Marx Stadt and Gwardia Warsaw from producing a result after 100 minutes of play. This resulted in a coin toss, which fell the way of Gwardia Warsaw - who were then credited with a win. The last time a coin toss was used to produce a result was in the 1969-70 season.
6. Domestic failures, European champions
© AP Photo
Nottingham Forest hold a couple of interesting Champions League records. For a start, they're the only club to have won the Champions League more often than they have own their domestic league. They won the European title in 1979 and defended it in 1980, but have won the Premier League just once - in 1978. Forest are also the only club with a Champions League title to their credit that have since suffered relegation to the third division of their domestic football league.
7. From qualifiers to champions
Only four football clubs have managed to win the Champions League after failing to achieve automatic qualification and having to break into the tournament via the qualifying rounds. These include Manchester United, Liverpool, Barcelona and AC Milan. AC Milan are the only club to have achieved this feat twice, winning the Champions League as qualifiers in 2002-03 and 2006-07.
8. High fives
14 players have managed to score five goals in a single Champions League match. Lionel Messi is the most recent player to have achieved this feat, scoring five goals in Barcelona's 7-1 victory over Bayer Leverkusen in the 2011-12 Champions League season. Messi is also the only player to have scored five goals in a knockout round, with his five-for accomplished in the Round of 16.
9. A knack for winning trophies
Dutch striker Clarence Seedorf not only won the Champions League four times, but also achieved this with three different clubs in three different countries. Seedorf took his first Champions League title with Ajax Amsterdam in 1995, won the title again with Real Madrid in 1998 and then claimed two titles with AC Milan in 2003 and 2007. The only other player who has come close to this feat is Michael Ballack, who reached the quarterfinals of the tournament with four different clubs.
10. The fastest goal
The fastest goal in Champions League history was scored by Roy Makaay for Bayern Munich in a match against Real Madrid in 2007. Makaay took just 10.12 seconds to put away the goal. To get an idea of how quick this is, consider that the average person reads at 200 words per minute. This means Makaay would have had time to score that goal twice before the average person read to the end of this paragraph!
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