Manchester United's history in the Champions League: Titles, finals & record in Europe

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The Red Devils have been a force to be reckoned with over the past few decades, but what is their record in Europe?

Manchester United are one of the most successful clubs in Europe, having lifted a record 20 Premier League titles and multiple Champions League trophies.

The Red Devils have been the dominant force in England for most of the 21st century, though their success has slowed down since legendary manager Sir Alex Ferguson stepped down from his post in 2013, with United having not won a Premier League title since.​

Still, though, Manchester United are one of the most decorated clubs not just in Europe, but the world. They have been the best English team on home soil for the better part of the last couple of decades, but are they the most successful club in England overall? Depends on who you ask.

Goal takes a look at the Red Devils' history in the Champions League...


How many Champions League titles have Man Utd won?


Man Utd have won the Champions League (including European Cup, since its 1992 rebrand) on three occasions.

They lifted their first trophy in 1968 in a 4-1 victory over Benfica in the final under the management of Sir Matt Busby. Bobby Charlton opened the scoring for the Red Devils and scored twice, followed by decisive strikes from George Best and Brian Kidd.

Their next Champions League trophy came in 1999 in the epic final against Bayern Munich at Barcelona's home of Camp Nou. Man Utd, consisting of a side that included David Beckham, Ryan Giggs and Gary Neville, staged a brilliant comeback in the closing stages of the game with the help of 'super subs' Teddy Sheringham and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

The German side scored in the sixth minute to give themselves an early 1-0 lead, but it wasn't until the late double cameo by the heroic substitutes that the Red Devils managed to turn the game around. Both scored in stoppage time to clinch a 2-1 victory in the dying seconds of the game to earn Ferguson's first Champions League title. 

The Scot won his second Champions League trophy in 2009 in a final victory over Premier League rivals Chelsea via a penalty shootout. The game ended 1-1 in Moscow with Cristiano Ronaldo's early strike cancelled out by Frank Lampard's equaliser in the 45th minute, forcing extra time and a penalties.

Ronaldo missed his spot-kick but the crucial, ultimately decisive miss was made by Chelsea captain John Terry, who slipped during his penalty to hand the trophy over to the Old Trafford outfit for the third time.

With three Champions League trophies, they are still two titles behind that of northern England rivals Liverpool, who have won the competition five times (a record for an English side).

Ryan Giggs Patrice Evra Champions League 2008


How many Champions League finals have Man Utd reached?


Man Utd have reached the European Cup/Champions League final on five occasions, losing twice. They reached the final of the competition in 1968, 1999, 2008, 2009 and 2011.

The first three times they reached the finals, they won the competition, with their losses in 2009 in 2011 both coming against Barcelona.

In 2009, a year after they lifted the trophy in Moscow, Man Utd beat the likes of Inter, Porto and Arsenal in the knockout phases to secure a place in the final against the Liga giants. The Catalan side, however, won 2-0 in the final in Rome thanks to goals by Samuel Eto'o and Lionel Messi.

Two years later, the two teams met once again in the 2011 Champions League final at Wembley Stadium in London. It was the third Champions League final in four seasons for the Red Devils, but they lost to Barcelona once again – this time in a 3-1 defeat.

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Wayne Rooney scored in the first half to equalise 1-1 after Pedro's opener, but strikes by Messi and David Villa in the second half clinched the victory for the Spanish side.

Wayne Rooney Javier Hernandez Manchester United 2011

Man United's record in Europe*

Competition Pld W D L Win %
Champions League / European Cup 276 153 66 57 55.43
Cup Winners' Cup 31 16 9 6 51.61
Europa League / UEFA Cup 43 18 14 11 41.86
Inter-Cities Fairs Cup 11 6 3 2 54.55
Super Cup 4 1 0 3 25
Intertoto Cup 0 0 0 0
Intercontinental Cup 3 1 1 1 33.33
Club World Cup 5 3 1 1 60
Total 373 198 94 81 53.08

*Correct as of March 5, 2019.

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