The UEFA Europa League began in the guise of the UEFA Cup in 1971, as the successor to the Inter-Cities Fairs Cup. As it was with the European Cup - later UEFA Champions League - the tournament started as a straight knock-out competition.

Tottenham Hotspur were the winners of the inaugural edition of the UEFA Cup in 1971. During the competition’s run from 1971 to 2009, three teams - Inter Milan, Juventus and Liverpool - won the trophy thrice.

In all, Sevilla are the most successful team in UEFA Cup/Europa League having won seven titles including three successive wins - 2014, 2015 and 2016.

Historically, teams from Spain have enjoyed supremacy in the UEFA Cup/Europa League with 13 wins. English and Italian sides are joint second, having won the competition nine times while teams from Germany, including those that hailed from erstwhile West Germany, have been Europa champions on seven occasions.

From 1971 till 1997, all UEFA Cup finals were played over two-legged ties. The 1997-98 season final between Inter Milan and Lazio marked the first championship encounter with a single-match format.

UEFA Cup winners list

Team Winner Runner-up
Two-legged format
1971-72 Tottenham Hotspur Wolves
1972-73 Liverpool Borussia Monchengladbach
1973-74 Feyenoord Tottenham Hotspur
1974-75 Borussia Monchengladbach Twente
1975-76 Liverpool Club Brugge
1976-77 Juventus Athletic Bilbao
1977-78 PSV Eindhoven Bastia
1978-79 Borussia Monchengladbach Red Star Belgrade
1979-80 Eintracht Frankfurt Borussia Monchengladbach
1980-81 Ipswich Town AZ Alkmaar
1981-82 IFK Goteburg Hamburg SV
1982-83 Anderlecht Benfica
1983-84 Tottenham Hotspur Anderlecht
1984-85 Real Madrid Videoton
1985-86 Real Madrid FC Koln
1986-87 IFK Goteburg Dundee United
1987-88 Bayer Leverkusen Espanyol
1988-89 Napoli VfB Stuttgart
1989-90 Juventus Fiorentina
1990-91 Inter Milan AS Roma
1991-92 Ajax Torino
1992-93 Juventus Borussia Dortmund
1993-94 Inter Milan Austria Salzburg
1994-95 Parma Juventus
1995-96 Bayern Munich Bordeaux
1996-97 Schalke 04 Inter Milan
Single-match format
1997-98 Inter Milan Lazio
1998-99 Parma Marseille
1999-2000 Galatasaray Arsenal
2000-01 Liverpool Deportivo Alaves
2001-02 Feyenoord Borussia Dortmund
2002-03 Porto Celtic
2003-04 Valencia Marseille
2004-05 CSKA Moscow Sporting CP
2005-06 Sevilla Middlesbrough
2006-07 Sevilla Espanyol
2007-08 Zenit Saint Petersburg Rangers
2008-09 Shakhtar Donetsk Werder Bremen

From the 2009-10 season onwards, the UEFA Cup was reborn as the UEFA Europa League with a few key tweaks to the existing format.

La Liga side Atletico Madrid won the first edition of the rebranded UEFA Europa League in 2009-10, beating English side Fulham 2-1 in the final in additional extra time (a.e.t). The Colchoneros also hold the record for most consecutive wins (both home and away) with 15 spanning the 2011–12 and 2012–13 seasons.

Sevilla have won the most UEFA Europa League titles since the restructure of the competition (four). The late Jose Antonio Reyes won the competition a record five times, twice with Atletico Madrid and three times with Sevilla.

UEFA Europa League winners list

Team Winner Runner-up
2009-10 Atletico Madrid Fulham
2010-11 Porto Braga
2011-12 Atletico Madrid Athletic Bilbao
2012-13 Chelsea Benfica
2013-14 Sevilla Benfica
2014-15 Sevilla Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk
2015-16 Sevilla Liverpool
2016-17 Manchester United Ajax
2017-18 Atletico Madrid Marseille
2018-19 Chelsea Arsenal
2019-20 Sevilla Inter Milan
2020-21 Villarreal Manchester United
2021-22 Eintracht Frankfurt Rangers
2022-23 Sevilla AS Roma

Author: William Paul

Featured photo: JORGE GUERRERO / AFP