By Kris Voakes
Barcelona are the most successful club in the modern era of the Champions League, according to a Goal study.
The world’s biggest football website collated the yearly records of every club ever to qualify for the European Cup under its new banner since 1992 and found that the Catalan outfit pip AC Milan to the title of the greatest team in the greatest club competition in the world.
Using the Fibonacci points formula of ascending value, teams reaching the first stage of any one edition were given one point, those making the round of 16 gained two, quarter-finalists three, semi-finalists five, finalists earned eight and winners were allotted 13 points. And, over the course of the 21-year history of the new-style tournament, three-time winners Barca collected a total of 92 points compared to the Rossoneri’s 86.
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Real Madrid come in just behind the pair with 85 points, meaning all of the podium positions are taken up by clubs with three Champions League wins to their name. Double winners Manchester United (1999 and 2008) and Bayern Munich (2001 and 2013) complete a star-studded top five, with sixth-placed Juventus a full 23 points behind the current holders, emphasising the superiority of the leading quintent.
Barcelona have been particularly boosted by their performances over the past six seasons in Europe, with their victories in 2009 and 2011 helping them to record 46 points since 2007. Their first 46 points took 15 years to achieve, during which time Milan had racked up 75 points. The Italian giants’ recent stuttering form on the continent has seen their lead evaporate since their most recent triumph in Athens six years ago.
While the likes of Ajax, Juve, Porto and Marseille may all have suffered somewhat in recent times, they remain in the top 20 thanks to their previous form in the Champions League. New superpowers, on the other hand, are nowhere to be seen. Paris Saint-Germain are placed 33rd with just one semi-final appearance in 1995 to their name, with fellow big-spenders Manchester City sitting joint-83rd having made it only as far as the group stage in their two efforts.
The Blaugrana’s presence at the top, together with Madrid’s placing of third, has tipped the scales towards Spain in the battle between the continent’s nations. Primera Liga clubs have tallied a combined 249 points since 1992, with even the likes of Mallorca, Real Betis and Real Sociedad having qualified for the event over the years.
Predictably, English clubs come in second with a total of 228 points, while Italy sits third in the rankings just 12 points further back. Bundesliga clubs are placed fourth, ahead of France in fifth. In Champions League history, a total of 152 clubs have made it past the qualifying stages, representing 38 different nations.Follow Kris Voakes on