How many hometown heroes have captained their clubs to Champions League glory?

 | February 21 | 

6 mins read

champions league

Last week we brought you the figures for how clubs have fared in Champions League finals on home soil, which delivered some fascinating information.

Now, we want to delve a little bit deeper. We want to know just how many hometown heroes have lifted the European Cup for their local club over the course of the competition's history, going all the way back to 1956.

Do you think there will be plenty, or a shockingly low amount? You'll soon find out as we he have gone through the records to get the precise number before breaking them down even further.

Champions League Markets

  • Real Madrid to win the Champions League - 9/2
  • Bayern Munich to win the Champions League - 8/1

List of hometown heroes who have lifted the Champions League/European Cup with their local club


Season Captain Club
1956-57 Miguel Munoz Real Madrid
1957-58 Miguel Munoz Real Madrid
1971-72 Piet Keizer Ajax
1972-73 Johan Cruyff Ajax
1973-74 Franz Beckenbauer Bayern Munich
1974-75 Franz Beckenbauer Bayern Munich
1975-76 Franz Beckenbauer Bayern Munich
1980-81 Phil Thompson Liverpool
1986-87 Joao Pinto Porto
1997-98 Manuel Sanchis Real Madrid
2002-03 Paolo Maldini AC Milan
2003-04 Jorge Costa Porto
2004-05 Steven Gerrard Liverpool
2006-07 Paolo Maldini AC Milan
2010-11 Xavi Barcelona
2011-12 Frank Lampard Chelsea
2012-13 Philipp Lahm Bayern Munich
2013-14 Iker Casillas Real Madrid
2014-15 Xavi Barcelona

That's right. There have been 19 occasions where the Champions League/European Cup victors have been captained by a native player, which equates to 27.94% of the 68 campaigns that have been completed since 1955-56.

Due to Miguel Munoz, Franz Beckenbauer, Paolo Maldini and Xavi captaining Real Madrid, Bayern Munich, AC Milan and Barcelona respectively to multiple European crowns, the number gets much lower when you take away their repeated deeds. That figure is reduced to 14 and so the percentage drops to 20.58%, which in 68 years of this famous competition is a respectable return.

However, what is quite interesting about this data is that it shows that there has been a hometown-led European Cup winner in six out of the eight decades that have spanned over its history, with only the 1960s lacking a winner that was captained by a hometown hero. We still await for one to pop up in the 2020s but with six more years of chances for one to emerge, we cannot count this decade just yet.

Over the 68 campaigns, only 23 clubs have earned the right to call themselves the best in Europe. Of those 23, only eight have been led to glory by someone who hails from their city - which equates to 34.78%.

Bayern Munich and 14-time record victors Real Madrid are the pioneers of prevailing in Europe with a home-grown skipper as they have each done so on four occasions. Bayern have achieved this with just two players compared to Real Madrid's three. They both have a 21.05% share of the captains on this list.

Real Madrid to win the Champions League at 9/2

Next in line are Ajax, Porto, AC Milan and Barcelona who have both accomplished this feat twice, which comes out at 10.52% apiece.

Six English clubs have been crowned the champions of Europe and collectively they have won 15 titles. Only three of those trophies have been lifted by natives of the city they were representing (20%).

Liverpool have been skippered by Merseyside stars for two of their six European Cup triumphs (33.33%) in Phil Thompson (1981) and later Steven Gerrard (2005) in the legendary comeback victory against AC Milan in Istanbul.

The other is Frank Lampard with Chelsea in 2012, so 50% of Chelsea's Champions Leagues have been hoisted by a Londoner, which is an outstanding return. Hailing from Romford in east London, it was in the west where the Premier League legend enjoyed the spoils of his career. He led the Blues to their first Champions League title against Bayern Munich, in the German club's own backyard.

As we can see from the data, there has been a recurring theme over the years in that we have seen local citizens leading clubs to European supremacy in consecutive years, and not just the same players for the same teams.

Munoz did it with Los Blancos in 1956 and 1957. Piet Keizer and Johan Cruyff both did it with Ajax in 1972 and 1973 respectively. Beckenbauer led Bayern Munich to an amazing three-peat between 1974 and 1976 - making it five years in a row for Europe's top prize to go to a team captained by someone from their local area.

In 2003, we saw Paolo Maldini claim his first Champions League winners' medal with AC Milan. We then saw Jorge Costa hoist the famous trophy with Jose Mourinho's Porto the following year, and in 2005 Gerrard did the same with Liverpool.

Barcelona were led to their dazzling 2011 crown by current boss and iconic midfielder Xavi. This set into motion the beginning of yet another five-year run in which the clubs that won Europe's most prestigious competition were captained by someone born and raised near the clubs they represented.

Frank Lampard followed suit with Chelsea in 2012 as the Blues defeated Bayern Munich in their own backyard. This teed up the German side to spring into action in 2013 as they went one step further in the final and Munich-born Philipp Lahm was the one to lead them to it.

Bayern Munich to win the Champions League at 8/1

Then it was Real Madrid, skippered by Iker Casillas in 2014 to collect their 10th honour, before the circuit came full circle with Xavi doing it for a second time with Barca in 2015.

Although it was Andres Iniesta who was wearing the armband in the starting XI against Juventus, Xavi received it as club captain when he entered the fray in the second half to end his Barcelona career on a high.

That was the last time on record where a domestic player has guided his team to Champions League prestige. We have now gone eight seasons without one, so could we be due one soon?

Looking at the current favourites to swoop for the 2024 title, only Real Madrid are in poll position to produce the 20th addition to this list with veteran defender Nacho their main captain for the year, having lived in Madrid all his life.

Los Blancos were denied a record-extending 15th crown last year at the hands of eventual winners Manchester City in the semi-finals. With this detail, could fate be on their side this year? They are the second favourites with Betfred at 9/2, and they undoubtedly boast one of the strongest teams of the 16 still standing.

Their biggest threat will of course be Man City again, but with young superstar Jude Bellingham tearing it up in his first year in Los Blancos colours, as well as having a knack for scoring against the Cityzens in the Champions League, the Spanish giants might just be able to steal back their crown.

And Nacho could add his name to the list of 14 legends to hold this particular niche but wholesome accolade.

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