The UEFA Champions League is one of the biggest tournaments in European football and British teams have brought home thirteen trophies in total since competing in the 1950s.
Whilst players and managers come and go, some of the most iconic football players can be forgotten about, and the bottom line is if you played for Liverpool in the ‘70s and ‘80s, Manchester United in the ’90s, or Chelsea in the 21st Century, you probably made a habit out of winning.
But, who are the most successful British footballers in the history of the game? Essential Living has done some digging to give you the top five players with the most Champions League trophies in their cabinet.
- Phil Neal- Liverpool (4 Trophies)
Some say Phil Neal is one of the most decorated yet understated players in Liverpool history. Picked up from non-league Wellingborough town in 1968, Neal soon made his way to the first team, making his debut at 17.
Whilst he went through the rise and fall of Northampton, he was soon spotted by Liverpool’s manager at the time Bob Paisley, becoming his first-ever signing. At the young age of 23, Neal made his Liverpool début in the Merseyside derby against Everton at Goodison Park in 1974.
His career only went upwards, winning four Champions League titles for Liverpool. The first, in the 1977 European Cup Final, beating Borussia Monchengladbach 3-1 in Rome. Upholding the title a year later, he played for Liverpool who won the 1978 European Cup Final, beating Club Brugge of Belgium 1-0.
Playing for Liverpool Football just got better for Neal, when they managed to beat top Spanish side Real Madrid 1-0 in 1981.
He bagged his final trophy in 1984, in the iconic match against Roma who hosted Liverpool to try to overturn the 5-2 deficit from the first leg at Anfield. One of the great previous meetings between the two clubs came 34 years ago when the Reds beat the Giallorossi on penalties to claim their fourth European Cup title… in Rome!
- Gareth Bale- Real Madrid (4 Trophies)
The Welshman who took over La Liga, Gareth Bale played a crucial role in his first season at Real Madrid and is said to be one of the most undervalued players of the last 20 years, collecting more goals and trophies at Real Madrid than the likes of Christiano Ronaldo, Zinedine Zidane, Luis Figo!
Bale has won four Champions League titles with Real Madrid and scored in two of those finals. Starting out at the age of 17 at Wales national under-17’s football team in 2005, eight years later he fulfilled every footballer dream, making his debut for Real Madrid in 2013.
A year later, he became the first Welsh footballer to score in a Champions League final helping them lift the trophy at the Estádio Sport Lisboa e Benfica after defeating Atletico Madrid with an impressive 4-1 win.
Winning didn’t stop there, as Bale continued to help Real Madrid lift three more Champions League trophies in 2016 for three years on the run!
- Ray Clemence- Liverpool (3 Trophies)
One of very few players over the whole continent to have won three European cup winners’ medals, Ray Clemence was a fresh-faced 18-year-old playing at Scunthorpe United when Bill Shankly brought him to Anfield in 1967.
One of the goalkeepers most crucial saves was the final against Rome in 1977 when tensely drawing 1-1- Clemence helped Liverpool achieve perhaps the most memorable result in the club’s history.
His consistent goalkeeping helped Liverpool retain the European cup in 1978, with a narrow 1-0 win over Club Brugge at Wembley, with Clemence’s magnificent save in the second half.
Three years later, Liverpool won the European Cup for the first time in Rome, defeating Borussia Mönchengladbach 3–1, again with the help of Clemence guarding that goal line with his life for the 90 minute duration.
- Phil Thompson- Liverpool (3 Trophies)
A cultured defender for Liverpool football club in the ‘70s and ‘80s, Phil Thompson was one the greatest back-line players ever to grace a football pitch.
A Liverpool supporter who stood on the Kop as a boy, he spent fourteen years blocking opposition goal opportunities against the reds and was able to claim three Champions League titles to his football career.
In 1979 he was part of a record-breaking back-line that conceded only 16 league goals Two years later, alongside friend and fellow defender, Alan Hansen, he lifted the European Cup as captain when Liverpool beat Real Madrid 1-0 in Paris.
One of his proudest ever moments in football as his beaming smile lit up the night sky in Paris, as European Cup number three was captured.
- Terry McDermott- Liverpool (3 Trophies)
Supporting Liverpool as a boy, Kirkby-born Terry McDermott started off his first professional debut at Bury and then moved to Newcastle United in 1973.
After playing 56 league matches for the Magpies he then moved to Anfield not so long after playing Liverpool in the 1974 FA Cup final.
Mcdermott has also managed to be a part of three Champions League title wins alongside Liverpool legends Phil Thompson, Ray Clemence and Phil Neal in 77, 78 and 81, scoring twelve Champions League goals in his career.
Arguably his arguably the best goal ever seen at Anfield was during the 7-0 win over Tottenham at Anfield in 1978.