?In 1962, a curse was placed upon Benfica by former coach Bela Buttman after the Eagles decided to get rid of the Austrian.
One year prior, the Primeira Liga side had ruled the continent, yet they’ve gone on to lose each of the eight European finals they’ve appeared in since. Buttman had proclaimed that Benfica would not win another European title for a century – the hex appears to have worked.
However, it’s not as though the Portuguese champions have had zero success in continental competition, with their 2-1 victory over Lyon on Wednesday taking them to a total of 200 wins in Europe.
Here’s a look at the eight teams to have reached that marvellous tally.
Benfica – 200 Wins
Benfica overcame ?Barcelona and ?Real Madrid in consecutive European Cup finals at the start of the 1960s, with legendary forward Eusebio inspiring their 3-2 triumph over the Catalans in the first.
However, Guttman’s curse has hampered them in the years that followed. Aside from their 4-1 defeat at the hands of ?Manchester United, they’ve lost all subsequent finals by a one-goal margin or less.
Moreover, the Eagles have twice been beaten on penalties, PSV Eindhoven and Sevilla the sides to have sunk them via a shootout. Absolutely agonising.
Milan – 201 Wins
?Milan may seem like a team that should be higher up on this list, given their record of seven continental triumphs. But, much of their glory came before the new format was introduced, meaning there were less games to play to reach the showpiece event.
The ?Serie A giants have had a lifelong love affair with the European Cup, making their ?Champions League exile all the more painful for their supporters.
It’s been seven years since the Rossoneri’s last appearance in the competition, with the San Siro crowd growing increasingly restless.
Ajax – 215
Everyone fell in love with Erik ten Hag’s awesome Ajax side last term, the Dutchmen tearing up the script as they dumped superpowers like Real and ?Juventus out of the running.
It was a shock to see de Godenzonen charge all the way to the semis, despite their illustrious history in Europe.
As financial might became a more significant factor in the modern era, Ajax began to drift away from the top of the sport, but it truly was heartwarming to see their devastating displays in 2018/19.
Liverpool – 218 Wins
If you haven’t heard, ?Liverpool won their sixth European Cup in June, thanks to goals from Mo Salah and cult hero Divock Origi in a 2-0 victory over ?Tottenham at Wanda Metropolitano Stadium in Madrid.
After spending some time in the wilderness during the early 2010s, the Reds are back on their perch. Jurgen Klopp has been the architect of their success in recent seasons, giving the Kop a new icon to worship.
Among the many Liverpool managers to have come before the German is Bob Paisley, who oversaw three European Cup victories during his reign at Anfield.
Juventus – 235 Wins
It’s no secret that Juventus are desperate to be crowned as kings of Europe for a third time, the Bianconeri having been starved of continental trophies for more than two decades.
Bayern Munich – 262 Wins
?Bundesliga big boys ?Bayern Munich were always going to place high on this list, winning five times the number of European Cups as any other team from Germany.
A stale period in the club’s history came during the noughties as Die Roten regularly struggled to reach the latter stages of the tournament.
However, they’re back to their usual bullish selves, making the final four in seven of the last 10 campaigns. Only once in that time have they gone on to victory, though that’s still more than the vast majority of their rivals.
Real Madrid – 313 Wins
Real Madrid are synonymous with the Champions League, dominating the competition from its conception all the way up to modern day.
With the mesmerising Alfredo Di Stefano pulling the strings, Los Blancos winning each of the first five editions of the European Cup.
By Real’s standards, they had to wait an age for La Decima to finally arrive, with Ronaldo the man to deliver it in 2014 after a 12-year delay. That triggered a sequence of four triumphs in five seasons, but when the 33-year-old left, so did Madrid’s form and confidence.
Barcelona – 316 Wins
When Lionel Messi made his Champions League debut for
For more from Ed Alexander, follow him on Twitter!