Your Guide To Understanding The UEFA Champions League
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There is no other tournament more significant in club football than the UEFA Champions League. With 32 teams going head to head for the trophy to become the champions of Europe, you see football at its very best. Real Madrid has won this tournament thirteen times, with their latest victory coming in the 2017-18 season. The defending champions, Liverpool, will fight tooth and nail to win the Champions League for the seventh time this season. They will go into the second place with AC Milan as the joint-second in the total winning tally of this league.
History of the Champions League
The UEFA Champions League began in 1955. Back then, people called it the European Cup. Real Madrid, the giants of Europe, won the inaugural tournament. Nowadays, 32 teams participate from different domestic leagues in Europe. Some of the most significant leagues are the La Liga, English Premier League, Serie A, Bundesliga, Ligue 1, and various others. However, the tournament started with only 16 teams. There were four knockout rounds to decide the champion.
The rules have changed now. Nowadays, organisers divide 32 teams into eight groups of four. There are a couple of things that you need to know about the group matches:
- No team will face its domestic rival in the group stage.
- The winners of the groups will play the runners-up of other groups in the round of 16. Again, no team will face its domestic rival in this knockout stage.
The UEFA Champions League is the best tournament to make a mark in the footballing world. Fans consider it as the best club football tournament. It is like the World Cup for the top football clubs in Europe. Real Madrid has already won the competition 13 times with AC Milan in the second spot with seven titles and Liverpool with 6.
Cristiano Ronaldo is the highest goalscorer in the Champions League with 129 goals in 167 appearances. Over the years, he has played in this tournament for various teams, such as Sporting Lisbon, Manchester United, and Real Madrid. He is currently playing for Juventus and is an integral part of the team. His closest competitor is Lionel Messi from Barcelona. He has 114 goals in 140 appearances. These two players always make their opportunities count whenever this tournament starts.
Format of the knockout round
The round of 16 marks the beginning of the knockout stage. Teams play one home game and one away game against their opponents. Although the maximum number of goal counts help to decide the winner in each match, you also need to consider the importance of away goals. Teams should look to score more away goals without conceding the same number of home goals.
For example, Liverpool beat Real Madrid three to two in their home game. If Real’s home game ends in a one to one draw, they will qualify for the next round. This is because they scored more away goals. The fixture for this year’s round of 16 is already out. It is time to see who qualifies for the quarter-finals in the upcoming matches.