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The most successful European soccer teams

Updated on August 21, 2015

It is no secret that Europe has several world famous and legendary soccer teams. Should you be curious however which European soccer teams are the most successful of all, then there is no doubt you will find this article most interesting and useful to read. The overview below provides you with the most successful teams of this moment in notable European ‘soccer countries’, based on both successes in their home country (amount of times a team has won the national league they play in) and on their efforts in European tournaments (Champions League and UEFA Europe League).


Known as the birthplace of soccer, England is home to numerous fans of this sport. Every year, 20 teams compete to win the Premier League, the highest league in English professional soccer which is characterized by very fanatical fans and rather physical game play. The price to be awarded to the number one at the end of each season is called the Premier League Trophy which so far has been won the most by the teams below:
1. Manchester United (20)
2. Liverpool (18)
3. Arsenal (13)

The Premier League trophy.
The Premier League trophy. | Source


Ligue 1, the highest French professional soccer competition, may not be the most well-known or popular soccer league in Europe, yet there are several French soccer teams that have been known to frequently compete in European tournaments. Ligue 1, which has become almost just as unpredictable as the German Bundesliga, consists of 20 teams. The price at stake is called ‘L’Hexagoal’, which has been won the most times by:
1. Saint-Etienne (10)
2. Olympique Marseille (9)
3. FC Nantes (8)

The Ligue 1 trophy.
The Ligue 1 trophy. | Source


The highest professional German soccer league is known as the Bundesliga, which consists of 18 teams. In recent years, this league has become particularly known for its unpredictability (think for instance of how multiple teams were able to prevent relegation on the very last match day of the 2014/2015 season). Furthermore, the Bundesliga is renowned for having the highest average attendances during match days (roughly 42,500 spectators). The team that wins the league will receive the so-called ‘Meisterschale’. As of right now, the teams that won the Bundesliga the most times are as follows:
1. FC Bayern Munich (25)
2. FC Nürnberg (9)
3. Borussia Dortmund / Schalke 04 (both 7)

The Meisterschale / Bundesliga trophy.
The Meisterschale / Bundesliga trophy. | Source


Over the course of years, Italian teams, which have a notorious reputation for their defensive game play, have significantly left their mark in the history of European soccer. The highest professional soccer league in Italy counts 20 teams and is called Serie A. Every year, its winner receives the so-called ‘Scudetto’. Contrary to the German and French leagues, the highest Italian league is much more predictable, having been dominated by three teams only (Juventus, Internazionale and AC Milan) for many years. Hence it doesn’t come as a surprise that Italy’s most successful teams are as follows:
1. Juventus (31)
2/3. Internazionale and AC Milan (both 18)

Andrea Pirlo holding the Scudetto / Serie A trophy.
Andrea Pirlo holding the Scudetto / Serie A trophy. | Source


Still legendary for its teams competing in the Champions League during the 70’s, the Netherlands has seen a severe decline in notable results when it comes to European tournaments. The last time a Dutch team won a European prize dates back from 2002, when Feyenoord defeated Borussia Dortmund (Germany) 3:2, thus winning the UEFA Europe League. Though Dutch soccer has traditionally been dominated by ‘the Big Three’, the Eredivisie – the highest Dutch professional soccer league – has seen some ‘unusual’ winners as well in recent years, FC Twente being the most notable of all when it won the league in 2010 for the first time in history. Nevertheless, the ‘Big Three’ are still the ones that have won the ‘Schaal’ the most:
1. Ajax (33)
2. PSV (22)
3. Feyenoord (14)

The Schaal / Eredivisie trophy.
The Schaal / Eredivisie trophy. | Source


The Primeira Liga, Portugal’s highest professional soccer league, counts 16 teams, 3 of which have been known to be of significance in European tournaments. Furthermore, these 3, known as the ‘Três Grandes’, have been determining the winner of the ‘Taça de Portugal’ (the prize for winning the Portuguese league) for many years. Remarkable is the fact that Benfica – one of the 3 – can be found in the Guiness Book of Records for having the most members (14 million!) of all teams in the world. At the moment, the Taça de Portugal has been won most times by:
1. Benfica (25)
2. Sporting Club de Portugal / FC Porto (both 16)



Spain’s Primera División, the highest professional soccer league in the country, is likely to be the most predictable of all European soccer leagues. For decades, the battle for the Trofeo de Primera División has been predominantly fought out between two world-famous rivaling soccer titans: FC Barcelona and Real Madrid. Usually, the rest of the league’s teams follow at a large distance. Back in the day, Atlético Madrid was a serious candidate on a frequent basis to win the league as well, but the team has only won the Trofeo twice in the past few decades. Nevertheless, Real Madrid’s smaller brother can still be found in the top 3 of teams who have won the Spanish league the most:
1. Real Madrid (32)
2. FC Barcelona (23)
3. Atlético Madrid (10)

The Primera División / La Liga trophy.
The Primera División / La Liga trophy. | Source

The UEFA Champions League

The Champions League is the successor of the European Cup, the most prestigious tournament in which European teams can compete. Participants first have to enter the group stage, the winners of which get to proceed to the knock-out phase. From that point and beyond, teams play one home game and one away game against opponents. The results of these matches are added up in order to determine which teams are to proceed to the next round. The finals however consist of one match only in a pre-determined stadium assigned by the UEFA. So far, the following teams have proven to be the most successful in this tournament:
1. Real Madrid (10)
2. AC Milan (7)
3. FC Barcelona, FC Bayern Munich and Liverpool (all 5)

The Champions League trophy.
The Champions League trophy. | Source

UEFA Europe League

Previously known as the UEFA Cup, the UEFA Europe League is the second most prestigious European soccer tournament. One may consider this tournament to be the battle for the title of ‘Best Sub-top Team of Europe’. The set-up is similar to the UEFA Champions League. So far, the following teams have one the UEFA Europe League the most times:
1. Sevilla (4)
2/3. Internazionale, Juventus and Liverpool (all 3)

The UEFA Europe League trophy.
The UEFA Europe League trophy. | Source

What is your favorite European soccer team?

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© 2015 Victor Brenntice


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