Maldini is the most common answer to a question about who have the most European Cup/Champions League titles, but he isn’t the most decorated player.
The biggest stage of club football is the Champions League, and players with the most victories in that competition considered amongst the greatest, with their names written in the books of football history forever. Real Madrid, Ajax, Bayern Munich, Liverpool and Barcelona have virtually complete teams with three European Cup/Champions league titles. As many of the mobile betting punters know, there are several players in the current Barcelona side looking for their fourth victory before the Berlin final, however there are as many as fifteen players who won the competition more than three times to date. Only three of those played in the Champions League era though and only two of them participated actually in all the finals their team has won.
• Real Madrid ruled Europe in the fifties
• Defenders the most successful in the modern era
• Seedorf the only player who won with three teams
The absolute recorder, the only player with six European Cups, the lightning quick and skilled Spanish outside left, who was present in the Real Madrid line up from 1953 to 1970. He played in eight finals, which is also a record, winning the first five editions of the competition, as well as the 1966 title decider against Partizan Beograd, captaining a young, all-Spanish side. He scored two goals in the finals, one of them being an overtime decider against AC Milan in 1958. Regarded as one of the greatest ever Spanish footballer, he played virtually his whole career in Real Madrid after a short spell with Racing Santander, also winning 12 La Liga titles on the run.
Starting his career as a right back, later moved to the other side of the pitch, then playing as a central defender, Maldini participated in Milan’s every European Cup/Champions League final from 1989 to 2007. Considered as one of the best defenders ever, he scored the fastest goal of the history of the Champions League finals, when finding the back of Jerzy Dudek’s net in the first minute in 2005. Though, stunning those who bet on sports in the EU, Milan lost that match, however they were able to regain the title two years later, making it five for Maldini in total. Like Gento, he also played in eight finals, missing only seven minutes of those after being substituted in the 83rd minute when trashing Barcelona 4-0 in 1994.
It is less known between players who bet at online sportsbooks in the EU, but Costacurta, another member of the legendary backline also consisting Mauro Tassotti, Franco Baresi and Paolo Maldini, was also present at Milan’s last five European title victory. Though he was suspended for the 1994 final and was left out of the squad named for the 2007 title decider, he participated in both competitions and therefore he is also a five time European Cup/Champions league winner.
The Real Madrid fivers
Real Madrid won the first five editions of the European Cup between 1956 and 1960, and as the core of the squad remained the same throughout that time, there are half a dozen players with five victories outside Alfredo di Stefano, who was the biggest star of that side. Hector Rial, Juan Alonso, Juan Santisteban, Marquitos, Rafael Lesmes and Jose Maria Zarraga were all part of the team that ruled Europe in the fifties, together with Gento of course, who collected six victories during his unmatched career.
Seedorf is the only player who won the Champions League with three different clubs. At only 19 he was already a key player in the midfield of Louis van Gaal’s Ajax, winning the final against his future team, AC Milan. After a one year long spell with Sampdoria, he continued at Real Madrid, winning the Champions League in 1998, and just missing Real’s next success in the competition after being transferred to Internazionale halfway through the 1999-2000 season. After one and a half year at Inter, he joined AC Milan, where he played for ten years, capturing the Champions League twice. Seedorf was considered as one of the best midfielders in his generation, and he played a key role in all the four Champions League success he achieved with his teams.
The four with four victories
Joseito, Enrique Mateos and Jose Santamaria were all part of the Real Madrid side that made fun of Europe in the fifties, winning four titles each, but there is one more player who managed to win four European Cups. He is Phil Neal, Liverpool’s right back in the seventies and the eighties, who played in five finals between 1977 and 1985, winning four of them and scoring two goals plus converting his penalty kick against AS Roma in shootout of the 1984 final.
Barcelona currently have four players, Xavi, Andres Iniesta, Lionel Messi and Gerard Pique, who have registered three Champions League victories so far. A win against Juventus in the Berlin final would mean that they joined the most successful players in the history of the competition. They are great footballers anyway with a terrific record of three European titles, however the possibility winning the fourth one must be an extra motivation for them against Juventus.