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Former Real Madrid and Juventus forward Cristiano Ronaldo holds the record for the most UEFA Champions League titles by a player. The 37-year-old has won the competition a record five times with Real Madrid and Manchester United combined.

Since being rebranded in the UEFA Champions League in the 1992-93 season, the continent’s top tier football competition has seen 29 finals. During this time, Real Madrid won a record seven titles (13 overall), and Ronaldo was part of as many as four title-winning teams.

This includes three consecutive victories from 2016 to 2018 where the team defeated Atletico Madrid, Juventus and Liverpool. Ronaldo is, in fact, the only player to win UCL five times, having won his first in 2008 against Chelsea while playing for Manchester United.

When van der Sar rescued Ronaldo

Ronaldo’s bitter-sweet triumph of the 2007-08 season saw the Portugal international getting on the scoresheet in only his maiden Champions League final appearance. The star forward rose above everyone to make a perfect connection with a Wes Brown cross before missing his penalty in the shootout.

Luckily for him, former Man United keeper Edwin van der Sar came to the rescue, saving Nicolas Anelka’s spot-kick to win United their second UCL title.

From that point on, Ronaldo had one more chance to win the coveted title in the 2008-09 campaign, but Barcelona proved out to be a tough nut to crack.

Real Madrid’s sheer dominance

In 2009 when he moved to Real Madrid for a then world-record fee, Real were largely struggling to get a foothold in the European competitions. Between 2009 to 2011, Barcelona had won two of the three UCL titles, but all that changed in the 2013-14 campaign when Real beat local rivals Atletico Madrid 4-1, with Ronaldo getting on the scoresheet.

What followed next was sheer domination as a Cristiano Ronaldo-led Real Madrid won three consecutive European titles. Their triumph in the 2017/18 season was the last time Ronaldo got his hands on the Champions League trophy.

While Cristiano Ronaldo is the only player to win five UCL titles, as many as 15 different players have won the competition four times. The list is as follows:

With Real Madrid

Gareth Bale

Karim Benzema

Dani Carvajal

Isco 

Marcelo

Luka Modric

Sergio Ramos

Casemiro

Toni Kroos (also with Bayern Munich)

Raphael Varane

Clarence Seedorf (also with Ajax and Milan)

With Barcelona

Andres Iniesta

Lionel Messi

Gerard Pique

Xavi

Most UEFA Champions League titles by a player

Player Team(s) Titles Years
Cristiano Ronaldo Manchester United, Real Madrid 5 2008, 2014, 2016, 2017 and 2018
Gareth Bale Real Madrid 4 2014, 2016, 2017 and 2018
Karim Benzema Real Madrid 4 2014, 2016, 2017 and 2018
Dani Carvajal Real Madrid 4 2014, 2016, 2017 and 2018
Sergio Ramos Real Madrid 4 2014, 2016, 2017 and 2018
Luka Modric Real Madrid 4 2014, 2016, 2017 and 2018
Marcelo Real Madrid 4 2014, 2016, 2017 and 2018
Isco Real Madrid 4 2014, 2016, 2017 and 2018
Andres Iniesta Barcelona 4 2006, 2009, 2011 and 2015
Clarence Seedorf Real Madrid, Ajax, Milan 4 1995, 1998, 2003 and 2007

Featured photo: AFP / Gerard Julien

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