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Hunting La Decima: Real Madrid and the Journey to Ten European Cups



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Real Madrid have finally won their tenth European Cup, beating cross-city rivals Atletico Madrid 4-1 in the 2014 Champions League final in Lisbon, completing the fabled ‘La Decima’ at long last.


Cristiano Ronaldo, Gareth Bale and Sergio Ramos were among the scorers for Real, who extended their record as the most successful club in European football in the Portuguese capital on the weekend, with Carlo Ancelotti also writing his name into Real folklore by leading to the club to trophy number ten, coming twelve years after their last final appearance, where Zinedine Zidane’s iconic volley secured victory over Bayer Leverkusen at Hampden Park.

It was a goal that shook football to its core, with the French legend’s balance and technique just perfect, the ball almost sparking into flame as it shot towards the top corner of Hans-Jorg Butt’s net.

Only Iker Casillas remained from the squad that triumphed that evening in Scotland, and it was he that held the giant trophy aloft to the joy of his teammates, Real hierarchy, and the millions of Los Blancos fans around the world.

Check out the list of Real Madrid’s 10 European Cup triumphs below….

1. Real Madrid 4-3 Stade de Reims, 1955/56, Parc des Princes, France


José Villalonga Llorente’s Real toppled the now little known Stade de Reims in the first ever European Cup final in Paris.

Los Blancos fought back after being behind after an hour played, with Argentine duo Hector Rial and Alfredo Di Stefano scoring the crucial third and fourth goals.

Did you know: The referee on the day was an Englishman, by the name of Arthur Edward Ellis.

2. Real Madrid 2-0 Fiorentina, 1956/57, Santiago Bernabeu, Spain


Trophy number two came at the expense of Italian side Fiorentina, with Di Stefano getting the first goal for Llorente’s side. The Real legend picked up the Ballon d’Or that year for his efforts.

Did you know: Great name here – Claudio Bizzarri played for Fiorentina during the defeat!

3. Real Madrid 3-2 Milan, 1957/58, Heysel Stadium, Belgium


Real, under the stewardship of Argentine Luis Carniglia, were pushed right to the limit by AC Milan, who took Los Blancos to extra time, only for Francisco Gento to fire in the winner in the 107th minute.

Did you know: Cesare Maldini, father of Italy and Milan legend Paolo, played at centre back for the Italian side in this match.

4. Real Madrid 2-0 Stade Reims, 1958/59,  Neckarstadion, Germany


A rematch of the very first European Cup final saw Stade de Reim fronted by the formidable Just Fontaine, but that man Alfredo Di Stefano stole the show once again, with Real picking up their fourth consecutive trophy.

Did you know: French legend Fontaine holds the record for most goals scored in a single World Cup campaign.

5. Real Madrid 7-3 Eintracht Frankfurt, 1959/60, Hampden Park, Scotland

Real Madrid v Frankfurt 1960

Glasgow witnessed quite a feat in European competition, with Real smashing seven goals past German side Eintracht Frankfurt to claim their five European Cup on the trot.

Did you know: This was the first time a Greek club participated in competition, with Olympiakos losing out to the previous year’s finalists Milan in the first round.

6. Real Madrid 2-1 Partizan Belgrade, 1965/66, Heysel Stadium, Belgium


Migel Munoz’ side fell behind to a Velibor Vasovic goal just before the hour, but fought back courtesy of Amancio and Fernando Serena to end their six year wait to become champions of Europe again.

Did you know: The away goals rule was first introduced this year, but not to the European cup, but to the European Cup Winners’ Cup!

7. Real Madrid 1-0 Juventus, 1997/98, Amsterdam Arena, Holland


The 43rd season of the European Cup, and the sixth since it was rebranded as the UEFA Champions League, saw Real Madrid reclaim the trophy after 32 years of waiting, overcoming Juventus thanks to a late goal from Predrag Mijatovic.

Did you know: Future ‘Galactico’ Zinedine Zidane was playing for the beaten Juventus here.

8. Real Madrid 3-0 Valencia, 1999/00, Stade de France, France


An all-Spanish Champions League final saw Real brush aside Valencia in a decidedly one-sided affair in France. It was the first time two teams from the same country contested the final.

Did you know: With the victory, Steve McManaman, who scored the second goal for Real, became the first English player to win the trophy with a foreign club.

9. Real Madrid 2-1 Bayer Leverkusen, 2001/02, Hampden Park, Scotland


The famous Zidane volley saw off a plucky Leverkusen in this final, ensuring Ol’ Big Ears was Real’s once more. It did however mark the start of the 12 year wait for another final appearance, with the club struggling to be authoritative both at home and abroad in light of Barcelona’s modern day omnipotence.

Did you know: Leverkusen beat three English sides en route to the final. Arsenal, Liverpool and Manchester United.

10. Real Madrid 4-1 Atletico Madrid, 2013/14, Estádio da Luz, Portugal


La Decima finally arrived here in Lisbon, and to beat bitter rivals Atletico Madrid in the process was the icing on the cake!

Having fallen behind to a first half Diego Godin header, Real fought back to force extra-time thanks to Sergio Ramos’ late, late header.

Read more: Real Madrid 4-1 Atletico Madrid – Los Blancos leave it late to secure La Decima

A cute header from Gareth Bale saw them take the lead on the 109th minute, before Marcelo and Ballon d’Or holder Cristiano Ronaldo netted to kill off Atleti, and secure the club’s tenth European Cup success, ending their long wait to become undisputed kings of Europe once again.

Did you know: In beating Atletico in the 2014 final, Carlo Ancelotti became only the second man to win the trophy three times as a manager along with former Liverpool boss Bob Paisley.


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Based in London, I am a freelance journalist and a real football fanatic. Predominantly a feature writer, I currently contribute to Football-talk.co.uk, Soccerlens.com and Epltalk.com, as well as maintaining my blog: goodbadribery.blogspot.co.uk. I dream of reporting on football in the far flung reaches of the globe. A graduate from the London School of Journalism, I am passionate and determined to bring an impartial view on the game we all love and crave.