How many times have Barça won the Champions League?
Barça’s record in the Champions League is one of the best in all of Europe. Currently, Barça have won the competition on five occasions, a total that puts the blaugranes amongst the most successful clubs in the tournament with the Catalan club involved in several of the most memorable matches in the competition’s history.
The first success as long in the making as it was until 1992, a time when the competition was still known as the UEFA European Cup, that FC Barcelona claimed their first victory in the competition on a magical evening at Wembley Stadium in London. Since then, however, Barça have a tremendous record in the tournament having won it on no less than four more occasions in the 21st century (2006, 2009, 2011, 2015), thanks to a unique generation of players headed by Leo Messi.
Despite unprecedented domestic success during this time, it has been Barça’s success in the Champions League that has won plaudits around the world. Victories in the Champions League have been the key to success in other competitions with the blaugranes having won three FIFA Club World Cups and four UEFA Super Cups.
For that reasons, the five trophies take pride of place in the Barça Stadium Tour & Museum, displayed in the trophy room alongside the Club’s other silverware. In short, they are the culmination of five magical seasons that we look at in this page about the success of Barça in the Champions League.
1991/92: Champions of Europe for the first time
The European Cup final victory in 1992 was the end of one era and the start of another. On the one hand it was the final edition of the competition using the old format of knock out ties from the last 32, even though a league system was used to decide the finalists.
On the other it was the first European Cup triumph for FC Barcelona and it marked the beginning of a golden age for the club. The ‘ Dream Team’ coached by Johan Cruyff was at its peak and they made their way to the final thanks to wins over Hansa Rostock, Kaiserslautern, Sparta Prague, Benfica and Dynamo Kyiv.
It was a team that brought new life to football with players such as Michael Laudrup, Pep Guardiola and Hristo Stoichkov. However, there are two members of the squad who will always be remembered for their part in that campaign, Jose Mari Bakero and Ronald Koeman.
The former’s goal against Kaiserslautern deep into injury time away from home in the last 16 tie salvaged a place in the mini league which replaced the quarter and semi-final stage. The latter for his unforgettable free kick in the final at Wembley against Sampdoria when it appeared the game was to be decided in a penalty shootout. A brilliant goal which handed Barça their first ever victory in the European Cup.
2005/06 The peak of the Rijkaard era
The second victory for Barça in the Champions League came with another Dutch coach in charge of the side, Frank Rijkaard. With the accent on attack that identifies the club from many others, a talented squad opened up a world of possibilities with Ronaldinho leading the way. Young players such as a certain Leo Messi and Andrés Iniesta were beginning to break through with the latter occupying the role of Xavi Hernández who missed most of the season due to injury.
The path to the final was not an easy one although the team did top their group ahead of Werder Bremen, Udinese and Panathinaikos. The last 16 tie against a Chelsea side coached by Jose Mourinho was a tough affair with Messi picking up an injury that would rule him out for the rest of the competition. Benfica were beaten in the quarter finals and a goal from Giuly thanks to a wonderful pass from Ronaldinho was enough to squeeze past a powerful AC Milan side in the semi-final.
The final against Arsenal in the Stade de France in Paris was also a tense encounter. Two later strikes decided the game in favour of Barça with an in form Samuel Eto’o and an unexpected hero in the shape of Juliano Belletti getting the goals that saw tears of joy at the final whistle for the players and fans alike.
2008/09, rounding off the sextuple
The year 2009 has passed into footballing history thanks to Barça winning an unprecedented six trophies in the calendar year. Such a feat was only within reach of a generation of players at their peak with names such as Leo Messi, Xavi Hernández, Andrés Iniesta, Sergio Busquets and Gerard Piqué all part of the squad, a group of talented players coached by a name that would revolutionise the world of football: Pep Guardiola.
For Barça, the Champions League was the pinnacle of achievement and the moment that Carlos Puyol lifted up the famous trophy in the Olympic Stadium, the team claimed a historic treble of Champions League, La Liga and Copa del Rey titles.
Prior to the final the blaugranes had to get past Sporting de Lisboa, Shakhtar Donetsk and Basel in the group stage. Olympique Lyonnais were beaten in the last 16 and Bayern Munich in the quarter finals with a first half performance in the Camp Nou that was amongst the best ever seen in the competition.
The semi-final was no less brilliant against Chelsea. A tie that will always be remembered for Andrés Iniesta’s wonder goal at Stamford Bridge in the 1-1 draw that allowed them the make it to the final. The deciding game in Rome against a Manchester United side containing Cristiano Ronaldo was decided with goals from Samuel Eto’o and Leo Messi.
2010/11, déjà vu at Wembley
Barça’s fourth Champions League title came in 2011 with the generation of Messi, Xavi, Iniesta, Busquets, Puyol and Piqué, coached by Pep Guardiola, reinforced by the arrivals of the likes of David Villa and Javier Mascherano.
The blaugranes’ progress in that Champions League campaign was almost without fault. Barça won their group ahead of Copenhagen, Rubin Kazan and Panathinaikos and in the last 16 they dispatched a competitive Arsenal side. In the quarter finals they knocked out Shakhtar Donetsk to set up a semi-final against familiar opposition.
The tie was a battle against Jose Mourinho’s Real Madrid side in which a victory in the Santiago Bernabéu thanks to a double from Leo Messi put them on course for the final. A 1-1 draw in the return leg at Camp Nou booked their place in the final against Manchester United.
A sense of déjà vu abounded with Alex Ferguson’s United defeated once more and Barça lifting the trophy once more at Wembley to secure their fourth Champions League title. Goals from Pedro, David Villa and Leo Messi handed Guardiola’s side a well deserved victory.
2014/15, a treble for a talented front three
With Luis Enrique as coach the second treble in Barça history was claimed, the first time a club had achieved such a feat. The titles came thanks to a talented squad led by the fearsome trio up front of Leo Messi, Luis Suárez and Neymar who were key in helping Barça to their most recent Champions League victory.
In the group stages Barça came up against Paris Saint-Germain, Ajax and APOEL Nicosia, winning the group yet again. Manchester City were beaten in the last 16 and Paris Saint-Germain once again in the quarter-final. Bayern Munich stood between Barça and another final with Pep Guardiola now coach of the Bundesliga giants. Leo Messi scored an unforgettable goal at Camp Nou as the blaugranes booked place in the final in Berlin.
The final against Italian side Juventus was the icing on the cake of a wonderful season. The 3-1 win in the Olympic stadium in the German capital came courtesy of goals from Rakitic, Suárez and Neymar. It was a dream final with one of the legends of Barça, Xavi Hernández, lifting the trophy in his final appearance for the club.