Marco van Basten
Marcel "Marco" van Basten is a Dutch football manager and former professional football player, who played for Ajax and A. C. Milan, as well as the Netherlands national team, as a striker, he is regarded as one of the greatest players in the history of the sport. He scored 300 goals in a high-profile career, but played his last match in 1993 at age 28 due to an injury which forced his retirement two years later, he was the head coach of Ajax and the Netherlands national team. Playing for the Netherlands, Van Basten won UEFA Euro 1988 where he was named player of the tournament, scoring five goals that included a memorable volley in the final against the Soviet Union. At club level, he won three Eredivisie titles and the Cup Winners' Cup with Ajax, three Serie A titles and two European Cups with Milan. Known for his close ball control, attacking intelligence, impeccable headers, spectacular strikes and volleys, Van Basten was named FIFA World Player of the Year in 1992 and won the Ballon d'Or three times, in 1988, 1989 and 1992.
Due to van Basten’s versatility as a player, most commentators fail to notice that his headers were among the most elegant and creative in the history of the game. They included many long-range, classy flick-on headers, consistent hammering ones from challenging positions. In 1998, he was ranked sixth in the FIFA Player of the Century internet poll, tenth in the European player of the Century election held by the IFFHS and 12th in the IFFHS' World Player of the Century election, he was voted eighth in a poll organised by the French magazine France Football, consulting their former Ballon d'Or winners to elect the Football Player of the Century. In 2004, he was named by Pelé in the FIFA 100 list of the world's greatest living players. In 2004, a poll for the 100 greatest Dutch people was held in the Netherlands: Van Basten ranked number 25, the second highest for a football player, behind Johan Cruyff. In 2007, Sky Sports ranked Van Basten first on its list of great athletes who had their careers cut short.
Marco van Basten was born on 31 October 1964 in Utrecht. He began playing for EDO, when he was six years old. A year he moved to UVV Utrecht. After nine years there, he played for another club from Utrecht, Elinkwijk. Ajax gave 16 year old Van Basten his debut 1981–82 season after his 20 year old brother Stanley was rejected April 1981, scoring in the 5–0 victory over NEC. In the 1982–83 season, he competed with the European top scorer and first choice Holland international Wim Kieft for the position of centre forward, scored nine goals in 20 league matches. After Kieft left for Serie A club Pisa the following season, the 18 year old Van Basten solidified his position as his team's main attacker while Kieft left for Italy, he became a top scorer in the league for four seasons from 1983–84 to 1986–87, scoring 118 goals in 112 matches. In the 1985–86 season, he scored 37 goals in 26 league matches, including six goals against Sparta Rotterdam and five against Heracles Almelo, won the European Golden Boot.
He scored the winning goal in the UEFA Cup Winners' Cup final against Lokomotive Leipzig in 1987. In total he scored. On November 1986 he scored his most famous goal in an Ajax jersey, a spectacular overhead kick against FC Den Bosch. In 1987, Silvio Berlusconi signed Van Basten for A. C. Milan, with fellow countrymen Ruud Gullit and Frank Rijkaard joining in 1988. In his first season, Milan won their first Scudetto in eight years, but Van Basten played only 11 matches and was troubled by an ankle injury. In 1988–89, Van Basten won the Ballon d'Or as Europe's top footballer, he scored 32 goals in all competition that year including two goals in the final of the European Cup as Milan triumphed against Steaua București. In 1989–90, he became Capocannoniere again and Milan defended the European Cup after beating Benfica in the final match. Milan struggled in the 1990 -- 91 season. After Van Basten fell out with Arrigo Sacchi, Berlusconi sacked the manager. Fabio Capello took over the following season, Milan went undefeated in the league to win another Scudetto.
Van Basten scored 25 league goals, became Capocannoniere again. In November 1992, he became the first player to score four goals in a Champions League match, against IFK Göteborg, including a picture perfect bicycle kick. In December 1992, Van Basten was named FIFA World Player of the Year. Milan stretched their unbeaten run into the 1992–93 season, going 58 matches over two seasons before they lost a match. Van Basten was exceptional in the early part of the season, he was again voted the European player of the year, becoming the third player after Johan Cruyff and Michel Platini to win the award three times. His troublesome ankle injury recurred in a game against Ancona, forcing him to endure another six months layoff, he returned for the last few matches in the season, before Milan lost 1–0 to Marseille in the Champions League final. The match was Van Basten's final match for the Italian club, he came off in the 86th minute for Stefano Eranio after a brutal tackle behind from Basile Bolli condemned van Basten to the third ankle surgery of his career.
Van Basten had been hopeful of playing for his country at the 1994 World Cup as well as for his club in the 1994–95 season after spending the whole 1993–94 season out of action, but his club ordere
Treble (association football)
A treble in association football is achieved when a club team wins three trophies in a single season. A'continental treble' involves winning the club's national league competition, main national cup competition and a continental trophy. A'domestic treble' involves winning three national competitions—normally the league title, the primary cup competition and one secondary competition; this list includes clubs who have won their country's top tier league and the primary cup competition, in addition to the major continental tournament, all within a single season. This was first achieved in 1967 by Celtic, winning the Scottish Football League, Scottish Cup and European Cup. In total, seven European clubs have achieved the feat since 1967. Spanish club Barcelona is the only club to have won this treble twice. Double List of association football teams to have won four or more trophies in one season List of domestic trebles from RSSSF
Tuscany is a region in central Italy with an area of about 23,000 square kilometres and a population of about 3.8 million inhabitants. The regional capital is Florence. Tuscany is known for its landscapes, artistic legacy, its influence on high culture, it is regarded as the birthplace of the Italian Renaissance and has been home to many figures influential in the history of art and science, contains well-known museums such as the Uffizi and the Pitti Palace. Tuscany produces wines, including Chianti, Vino Nobile di Montepulciano, Morellino di Scansano and Brunello di Montalcino. Having a strong linguistic and cultural identity, it is sometimes considered "a nation within a nation". Tuscany is a popular destination in Italy, the main tourist spots are Florence, Lucca, Versilia and Chianti; the village of Castiglione della Pescaia is the most visited seaside destination in the region, with seaside tourism accounting for 40% of tourist arrivals. Additionally, Lucca, the Chianti region and Val d'Orcia are internationally renowned and popular spots among travellers.
Seven Tuscan localities have been designated World Heritage Sites: the historic centre of Florence. Tuscany has over 120 protected nature reserves, making Tuscany and its capital Florence popular tourist destinations that attract millions of tourists every year. In 2012, the city of Florence was the world's 89th most visited city, with over 1.834 million arrivals. Triangular in shape, Tuscany borders the regions of Liguria to the northwest, Emilia-Romagna to the north, Marche to the northeast, Umbria to the east and Lazio to the southeast; the comune of Badia Tedalda, in the Tuscan Province of Arezzo, has an exclave named Ca' Raffaello within Emilia-Romagna. Tuscany has a western coastline on the Ligurian Sea and the Tyrrhenian Sea, among, the Tuscan Archipelago, of which the largest island is Elba. Tuscany has an area of 22,993 square kilometres. Surrounded and crossed by major mountain chains, with few plains, the region has a relief, dominated by hilly country used for agriculture. Hills make up nearly two-thirds of the region's total area, covering 15,292 square kilometres, mountains, a further 25%, or 5,770 square kilometres.
Plains occupy 8.4% of the total area—1,930 square kilometres —mostly around the valley of the Arno. Many of Tuscany's largest cities lie on the banks of the Arno, including the capital Florence and Pisa; the climate is mild in the coastal areas, is harsher and rainy in the interior, with considerable fluctuations in temperature between winter and summer, giving the region a soil-building active freeze-thaw cycle, in part accounting for the region's once having served as a key breadbasket of ancient Rome. The pre-Etruscan history of the area in the late Bronze and Iron Ages parallels that of the early Greeks; the Tuscan area was inhabited by peoples of the so-called Apennine culture in the late second millennium BC who had trading relationships with the Minoan and Mycenaean civilizations in the Aegean Sea. Following this, the Villanovan culture saw Tuscany, the rest of Etruria, taken over by chiefdoms. City-states developed in the late Villanovan before "Orientalization" occurred and the Etruscan civilization rose.
The Etruscans created the first major civilization in this region, large enough to establish a transport infrastructure, to implement agriculture and mining and to produce vibrant art. The Etruscans lived in the area of Etruria well into prehistory; the civilization grew to fill the area between the Arno and Tiber from the eighth century BCE, reaching its peak during the seventh and sixth centuries B. C. succumbing to the Romans by the first century BCE. Throughout their existence, they lost territory to Magna Graecia and Celts. Despite being seen as distinct in its manners and customs by contemporary Greeks, the cultures of Greece, Rome, influenced the civilization to a great extent. One reason for its eventual demise was this increasing absorption by surrounding cultures, including the adoption of the Etruscan upper class by the Romans. Soon after absorbing Etruria, Rome established the cities of Lucca, Pisa and Florence, endowed the area with new technologies and development, ensured peace.
These developments included extensions of existing roads, introduction of aqueducts and sewers, the construction of many buildings, both public and private. However, many of these structures have been destroyed by erosion due to weather; the Roman civilization in the West of the Roman Republic and Roman Empire collapsed in the fifth century, the region fell to barbarians migrating through the Empire from Eastern Europe and Central Asia of the Goths was re-conquered by the revived Eastern Roman Empire under the strong Emperor Justinian. In the years following 572, the Lombards arrived and designated Lucca the capital of their subsequent Tuscia. Pilgrims travelling along the Via Francigena between Rome and France brought wealth and development during the medieval period; the food and shelter required by the
Torino Football Club referred to as Torino or Toro, is an Italian professional football club based in Turin, Piedmont. It plays in Serie A. Founded as Foot-Ball Club Torino in 1906, Torino are among the most successful clubs in Italy with seven league titles, including five consecutive league titles during the 1940s; the Grande Torino, as the team was known, was recognised as one of the strongest footballing sides of the period, until the entire team was killed in the 1949 Superga air disaster. They have won the Coppa Italia five times, the last of, in the 1992–93 season. Internationally, Torino won the Mitropa Cup in 1991 and were finalists in the UEFA Cup in 1991–92. Torino plays all of its home games at the Stadio Olimpico Grande Torino; the club's colour is maroon, its symbol is a rampant bull, the traditional symbol of the city of Turin, from which the club's nickname is derived, "Il Toro". Football first arrived in the city of Turin at the end of the 19th century, introduced by the industrial Swiss and English.
By 1887, Football & Cricket Club – the oldest Italian football club – had been founded in the capital of Piedmont, followed in 1889 by Nobili Torino. In 1891 the two clubs merged to form Internazionale Torino, after which Football Club Torinese was founded in 1894; the new game supplanted the popularity of pallapugno, which led to the foundation of the football sections of the sports clubs Ginnastica Torino and Juventus. On 8 May 1898 Internazionale Torino, Football Club Torinese and Ginnastica Torino, along with Genoa as part of the International Exhibition for the fiftieth anniversary of the Statuto Albertino gave birth to the first Italian Football Championship. In 1900, Football Club Torinese absorbed Internazionale Torino, on 3 December 1906 at the Voigt brewery on Via Pietro Micca an alliance was formed with a group of Juventus dissidents, led by the Swiss financier Alfred Dick. Through the merger of Football Club Torinese and the aforementioned group, "Foot-Ball Club Torino" was formed.
The first official match was played on 16 December 1906 in Vercelli against Pro Vercelli, won 3–1 by Torino. The first derby was played in the new year, dated 13 January 1907, in which Torino defeated Juventus 2–1. Torino replicated this by a margin of 4–1 a month and gained the right to enter the final round of the Italian Football Championship, placed second behind Milan. Torino did not participate in the 1908 Italian Football Championship as a rule was passed which limited the use of foreign players; the club instead played in two popular "minor" tournaments: the coveted "Palla Dapples", won against Pro Vercelli. Torino lost in the final to Swiss side Servette. In 1915, Torino were denied their first real championship attempt by the outbreak of World War I. With one match left to play, were two points behind leaders Genoa. In the final game of the championship, Torino would have had the opportunity to play the Genoese head-on after defeating them in the first leg 6–1; the club experienced its first success under the presidency of Count Enrico Marone Cinzano, responsible for building the Stadio Filadelfia.
In attack, Torino boasted the Trio delle meraviglie, composed of Julio Libonatti, Adolfo Baloncieri and Gino Rossetti, won their first scudetto on 10 July 1927 after a 5–0 win against Bologna. However, the title was revoked on 3 November 1927 due to the "Allemandi Case". After the revoking of the prior scudetto, Torino were reconfirmed champions of Italy in the 1927–28 season; the "Trio of Wonders" scored 89 goals between them, with the title won on 22 July 1928, a 2–2 draw against Milan. After the resignation of Cinzano, the club began a slow decline in the early 1930s and finished mid-table, it was not until the 1935–36 season that it began its revival, with a third place finish in the league and first victory of the Coppa Italia. Renamed "Associazione Calcio Torino" due to the Italian fascist regime, Torino finished in second place in the 1938–39 season, under the technical director Ernest Erbstein. In 1939–40, Torino finished in fifth place, saw the arrival of club president Ferruccio Novo.
Novo utilised his skill as a careful administrator. With valuable contributions from Antonio Janni, Giacinto Ellena and Mario Sperone, Novo was able to build a team known as the "Grande Torino"; the club's greatest period is encapsulated in the Grande Torino, a team which won five titles in a row between 1942 and 1949, the Coppa Italia in 1943. Torino's players formed the backbone of the Italian national team in this period, at one point fielding ten players in the Azzurri; the captain and undisputed leader of the team was Valentino Mazzola, father of Ferruccio and Sandro, who would subsequently follow their father in becoming footballers. The typical starting lineup was: Bacigalupo, their success came to an abrupt end on 4 May 1949 when the Fiat G.212 airliner carrying the whole team crashed against the retaining wall of the Basilica of Superga in Turin. The crash was attributed to dense fog and spacial disorienta
Netherlands national football team
The Netherlands national football team has represented the Netherlands in international football since its initial match in 1905. The national team is controlled by the Royal Dutch Football Association, a part of UEFA, under the jurisdiction of FIFA the governing body for football in the Netherlands. Most of the Netherlands' home matches are played at the Johan Cruyff Arena and the Stadion Feijenoord; the team is colloquially referred to as Het Nederlands Elftal or the Oranje, after the House of Orange-Nassau. Like the country itself, the team is sometimes referred to as Holland; the fan club is known as the "Het Legioen". The Netherlands has competed in ten FIFA World Cups, they have appeared in nine UEFA European Championships winning the 1988 tournament in West Germany. Additionally, the team won a bronze medal at the Olympic football event in 1908, 1912 and 1920; the Netherlands has long-standing football rivalries with neighbors Germany. The Netherlands played their first international match in Antwerp against Belgium on 30 April 1905.
The players were selected by a five-member commission from the Dutch football association. After 90 minutes, the score was 1–1; because the match was for the Coupe van den Abeele it went into overtime, during which Eddy de Neve scored three times, making the score 4–1 for the Netherlands. Some historians attribute one of the goals scored to Willem Hesselink. In 1908, the Netherlands competed in their first official tournament appearance at the Summer Olympics in London, they received a bronze medal after losing to Great Britain in the semifinals, before defeating Sweden in the bronze medal match 2–0. At the Olympic Games in 1912 and 1920, the Dutch finished with the bronze medal as they lost to Denmark and Belgium in the respective tournaments; the Dutch reached the semi-finals at the 1924 Summer Olympics in Paris after winning against Romania and Ireland. In the semi-final, they gave up a one-goal lead, scored by Kees Pijl, to lose 2–1 and were relegated to the third-place playoff for the fourth time, losing to Sweden in a replay.
After being eliminated in the first round at the 1928 Summer Olympics on home turf, they skipped the first World Cup in 1930 due to the cost of travel from Europe to South America. The team made their first appearance at a FIFA World Cup in 1934. Kick Smit was the first goalscorer for the Netherlands in a World Cup; the team was eliminated in the opening round by Switzerland 3–2. A second appearance at the 1938 World Cup resulted in a first-round elimination against Czechoslovakia. After the Second World War, the Dutch qualified for only two international tournaments before the 1970s; the 1948 Summer Olympics in Great Britain and the 1952 Summer Olympics in Finland. They faced early elimination losing to the hosts in 1948 and Brazil in 1952. During the 1970s, Total Football was invented, pioneered by Ajax and led by playmaker Johan Cruyff and national team head coach Rinus Michels; the Dutch made significant strides. Carlos Alberto, captain of the Brazilian team that won the 1970 FIFA World Cup said, "The only team I've seen that did things differently was Holland at the 1974 World Cup in Germany.
Since everything looks more or less the same to me... Their'carousel' style of play was amazing to watch and marvelous for the game."In 1974, the Netherlands beat both Brazil and Argentina in the second group stage, reaching the final for the first time in their history. However, they lost to West Germany in the final in Munich, despite having gone up 1–0 through Johan Neeskens' early penalty kick before a German had touched the ball. However, a converted penalty by Paul Breitner and the winner from Gerd Müller, led to a victory for the Germans; the 1976 European Championship the Netherlands qualified for their first European Championship after beating Belgium in the quarterfinals. They were matched in the semifinals by Czechoslovakia who kept Cruff and Van Hanegem within arms-length of another player as they defeated the Dutch in overtime; the Dutch finished in third place after defeating the hosts in overtime. In 1978, the Netherlands qualified for the World Cup in Argentina; the team was missing Johan Cruyff due to a kidnapping attempt, Wim van Hanegem.
But the squad still had players like Jan Jongbloed, Wim Suurbier and Ruud Krol from the previous World Cup. After finishing runner-up in Group 4 behind Peru, they recorded wins against Austria and Italy to set up a final with Argentina. After a controversial start, with Argentina questioning the plaster cast on René van de Kerkhof's wrist, the match headed to extra time where the Dutch lost 3–1 after two extra time goals from Mario Kempes and Daniel Bertoni. Euro'80 was the last tournament. Despite the tournament format being expanded that year they did not advance past the group stage. Veterans such as Krol and Rensenbrink retired soon afterwards and the Dutch team hit a low point in their history: they missed the 1982 World Cup in Spain, Euro 1984 in France, the 1986 World Cup in Mexico, they failed qualifying for Euro 1984 by virtue of goals scored when Spain scored twelve in the final game against Malta. Because both teams had the same goal difference, Spain qualified having scored two more goals than the Dutch.
After qualifying for the 1986 World Cup the Dutch finished in second place and advanced to the playoffs against neighbors Belgium. After losing the first leg 1–0 in Brussels, they held a 2–0 lead at Rotterdam with a few minutes remaining, but Georges Grun's header in the 84th minute resulted in the Netherlands elimination as Belgium advanc
UEFA European Championship
The UEFA European Championship is the primary association football competition contested by the senior men's national teams of the members of the Union of European Football Associations, determining the continental champion of Europe. Held every four years since 1960, in the even-numbered year between World Cup tournaments, it was called the UEFA European Nations' Cup, changing to the current name in 1968. Starting with the 1996 tournament, specific championships are referred to in the form "UEFA Euro ". Prior to entering the tournament all teams other than the host nations compete in a qualifying process; the championship winners earn the opportunity to compete in the following FIFA Confederations Cup, but are not obliged to do so. The 15 European Championship tournaments have been won by ten national teams: Germany and Spain each have won three titles, France has two titles, Soviet Union, Czechoslovakia, Denmark and Portugal have won one title each. To date, Spain is the only team in history to have won consecutive titles, doing so in 2008 and 2012.
It is the second most watched football tournament in the world after the FIFA World Cup. The Euro 2012 final was watched by a global audience of around 300 million; the most recent championship, hosted by France in 2016, was won by Portugal, who beat France 1–0 in the final at the Stade de France in Saint-Denis after extra time. The final attracted 284 million viewers, the second most viewed game in European tournament history; the idea for a pan-European football tournament was first proposed by the French Football Federation's secretary-general Henri Delaunay in 1927, but it was not until 1958 that the tournament was started, three years after Delaunay's death. In honour of Delaunay, the trophy awarded to the champions is named after him; the 1960 tournament, held in France, had four teams competing in the finals out of 17 that entered the competition. It was won by the Soviet Union. Spain withdrew from its quarter-final match against the USSR because of two political protests. Of the 17 teams that entered the qualifying tournament, notable absentees were England, the Netherlands, West Germany and Italy.
Spain held the next tournament in 1964, which saw an increase in entries to the qualification tournament, with 29 entering. The hosts beat the Soviet Union, 2 -- 1 at the Santiago Bernabéu Stadium in Madrid; the tournament format stayed the same for the 1968 tournament and won by Italy. For the first and only time a match was decided on a coin toss and the final went to a replay, after the match against Yugoslavia finished 1–1. Italy won the replay 2–0. More teams entered a testament to its burgeoning popularity. Belgium hosted the 1972 tournament, which West Germany won, beating the USSR 3–0 in the final, with goals coming from Gerd Müller and Herbert Wimmer at the Heysel Stadium in Brussels; this tournament would provide a taste of things to come, as the German side contained many of the key members of the 1974 FIFA World Cup Champions. The 1976 tournament in Yugoslavia was the last in which only four teams took part in the final tournament, the last in which the hosts had to qualify. Czechoslovakia beat West Germany in the newly introduced penalty shootout.
After seven successful conversions, Uli Hoeneß missed, leaving Czechoslovakian Antonín Panenka with the opportunity to score and win the tournament. An "audacious" chipped shot, described by UEFA as "perhaps the most famous spot kick of all time" secured the victory as Czechoslovakia won 5–3 on penalties; the competition was expanded to eight teams in the 1980 tournament, again hosted by Italy. It involved a group stage, with the winners of the groups going on to contest the final, the runners-up playing in the third place play-off. West Germany won their second European title by beating Belgium 2–1, with two goals scored by Horst Hrubesch at the Stadio Olimpico in Rome. Horst Hrubesch scored early in the first half before René Vandereycken equalised for Belgium with a penalty in the second half. With two minutes remaining, Hrubesch headed the winner for West Germany from a Karl-Heinz Rummenigge corner. France won their first major title at home in the 1984 tournament, with their captain Michel Platini scoring 9 goals in just 5 games, including the opening goal in the final, in which they beat Spain 2–0.
The format changed, with the top two teams in each group going through to a semi-final stage, instead of the winners of each group going straight into the final. The third place play-off was abolished. West Germany hosted UEFA Euro 1988, but lost 2–1 to the Netherlands, their traditional rivals, in the semi-finals, which sparked vigorous celebrations in the Netherlands; the Netherlands went on to win the tournament in a rematch of their first game of the group stage, beating the USSR 2–0 at the Olympia Stadion in Munich, a match in which Marco van Basten scored one of the most memorable goals in football history, a spectacular volley over the keeper from the right wing. UEFA Euro 1992 was held in Sweden, was won by Denmark, who were only in the finals because UEFA did not allow Yugoslavia to participate as some of the states constituting the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia were at war with each other; the Danes beat holders the Netherlands on penalties in the semi-finals defeated world champion Germany 2–0.
This was the first tournament in which a unified Germany took part a
UEFA Champions League
The UEFA Champions League is an annual club football competition organised by the Union of European Football Associations and contested by top-division European clubs. It is one of the most prestigious tournaments in the world and the most prestigious club competition in European football, played by the national league champions of the strongest UEFA national associations. Introduced in 1955 as the European Champion Clubs' Cup, more known as the European Cup, it was a straight knockout tournament open only to the champion club of each national championship; the competition took on its current name in 1992, adding a round-robin group stage and allowing multiple entrants from certain countries. It has since been expanded, while most of Europe's national leagues can still only enter their champion, the strongest leagues now provide up to five teams. Clubs that finish next-in-line in their national league, having not qualified for the Champions League, are eligible for the second-tier UEFA Europa League competition.
In its present format, the Champions League begins in late June with four knockout qualifying rounds and a play-off round. The 6 surviving teams enter the group stage; the 32 teams are drawn into eight groups of four teams and play each other in a double round-robin system. The eight group winners and eight runners-up proceed to the knockout phase that culminates with the final match in May; the winner of the Champions League qualifies for the FIFA Club World Cup. The competition has been won by 22 clubs. Real Madrid is the most successful club in the tournament's history, having won it 13 times, including its first five seasons. Real Madrid are the reigning champions. Spanish clubs have the highest number of victories, followed by Italy. England has the largest number of winning teams, with five clubs having won the title; the first pan-European tournament was the Challenge Cup, a competition between clubs in the Austro-Hungarian Empire. The Mitropa Cup, a competition modelled after the Challenge Cup, was created in 1927, an idea of Austrian Hugo Meisl, played between Central European clubs.
In 1930, the Coupe des Nations, the first attempt to create a cup for national champion clubs of Europe, was played and organised by Swiss club Servette. Held in Geneva, it brought together ten champions from across the continent; the tournament was won by Újpest of Hungary. Latin European nations came together to form the Latin Cup in 1949. After receiving reports from his journalists over the successful Campeonato Sudamericano de Campeones of 1948, Gabriel Hanot, editor of L'Équipe, began proposing the creation of a continent-wide tournament. After Stan Cullis declared Wolverhampton Wanderers "Champions of the World" following a successful run of friendlies in the 1950s, in particular a 3–2 friendly victory against Budapest Honvéd, Hanot managed to convince UEFA to put into practice such a tournament, it was conceived in Paris in 1955 as the European Champion Clubs' Cup. The first edition of the European Cup took place during the 1955–56 season. Sixteen teams participated: Milan, AGF Aarhus, Djurgården, Gwardia Warszawa, Partizan, PSV Eindhoven, Rapid Wien, Real Madrid, Rot-Weiss Essen, Saarbrücken, Sporting CP, Stade de Reims, Vörös Lobogó.
The first European Cup match took place on 4 September 1955, ended in a 3–3 draw between Sporting CP and Partizan. The first goal in European Cup history was scored by João Baptista Martins of Sporting CP; the inaugural final took place at the Parc des Princes between Stade de Real Madrid. The Spanish squad came back from behind to win 4–3 thanks to goals from Alfredo Di Stéfano and Marquitos, as well as two goals from Héctor Rial. Real Madrid defended the trophy next season in their home stadium, the Santiago Bernabéu, against Fiorentina. After a scoreless first half, Real Madrid scored twice in six minutes to defeat the Italians. In 1958, Milan failed to capitalise after going ahead on the scoreline twice, only for Real Madrid to equalise; the final held in Heysel Stadium went to extra time where Francisco Gento scored the game-winning goal to allow Real Madrid to retain the title for the third consecutive season. In a rematch of the first final, Real Madrid faced Stade Reims at the Neckarstadion for the 1958–59 season final winning 2–0.
West German side Eintracht Frankfurt became the first non-Latin team to reach the European Cup final. The 1959–60 season finale still holds the record for the most goals scored, with Real Madrid beating Eintracht Frankfurt 7-3 in Hampden Park, courtesy of four goals by Ferenc Puskás and a hat-trick by Alfredo Di Stéfano; this was a record that still stands today. Real Madrid's reign ended in the 1960–61 season when bitter rivals Barcelona dethroned them in the first round. Barcelona themselves, would be defeated in the final by Portuguese side Benfica 3–2 at Wankdorf Stadium. Reinforced by Eusébio, Benfica defeated Real Madrid 5–3 at the Olympic Stadium in Amsterdam and kept the title for a second, consecutive season. Benfica wanted to repeat Real Madrid's successful run of the 1950s after reaching the showpiece event of the 1962–63 European Cup, but a brace from Brazilian-Italian José Altafini at the Wembley Stadi