Who Has Won Most Europa League?


Of all soccer competitions in the world, only two stand out as the premier regional competitions: the UEFA Champions League and its “sister” tournament, the UEFA Europa League. Both competitions have a storied history and have been responsible for offering spectators of the sport with some of its most memorable moments over the years. Though a number of fans consider the Europa League to be a second-rate competition, nothing could be further from the truth. It is indeed its own entity and has quite often rivaled the Champions League in terms of quality and following. Many teams have competed in the Europa League since its formation. However, only one has stamped its authority and remains heads and shoulders over the rest in terms of wins.

Who has won the most Europa League? Sevilla Fútbol Club, which is more commonly known as Sevilla FC or simply Sevilla has won the most Europa League titles in the history of the competition with six trophies. The Spanish side is one of only two clubs to retain the prestigious title (the other one being Real Madrid) and the only club to win the Europa League in three consecutive years.

A Little Background

The Europa League competition is a fairly young competition having existed for less than two decades. It is in many ways the culmination of two other notable competitions that preceded it – the UEFA Cup and the Inter-Cities Fairs Cup.

As the original competition that would later bring about the UEFA Cup and the Europa League, the Inter-Cities Fairs Cup was organized by former FIFA vice president Ernst Thommen and a group of top officials. Its primary objective aside from the promotion of the sport was to promote trade relations between the cities that hosted it, hence its name.

The competition was open to cities that either hosted or participated in trade fairs for a time and later involved to incorporate depending on where they placed in their domestic leagues. The tournament ran from 1955 to 1971 at which point it was wound up and replaced with the UEFA Cup.

The UEFA Cup equally ran from 1971 until 1999. It was then merged with the UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup – a competition that was contested by the winners of domestic leagues across Europe. A group stage was later added in the mid-2000s before the knockout stages to accommodate the increasing number of participants.

It was ultimately renamed the Europa League that we know today in 2009 after absorbing yet another UEFA competition- the UEFA Intertoto Cup. Additional format changes were made including an expanded group stage and alterations to the requirements for participating in the tournament.

Maiden Title

Sevilla first competed in European competition in their 1957/58 season when they made their European Cup debut. The club had however not much success until they made their first Europa League finals appearance in their 2005/06 campaign.

To get to the finals, Sevilla had gone through Russian sides Lokomotiv Moscow and Zenit Saint Petersburg, French side Lille, and German juggernauts Schalke 04. Only former top-flight English side Middlesbrough stood between them and their first European title.

To say that Los Nervionenses dominated the match from the first whistle to the last would be an oversimplification as Sevilla utterly dismantled their opposition to win the match 4-0. The Spaniards skillfully stifled every Middlesbrough attack and went ahead in the first half thanks to some creative play between former right-back Dani Alves and ex-striker Luis Fabiano.

Middlesbrough came into the second half guns blazing but Sevilla quickly turned their attacks into counterattacks, allowing former midfielder Enzo Marescato to score a brace within a couple of minutes. Substitute Frédéric Kanouté then put the icing on the cake with a final-minute strike handing Sevilla their first-ever Europa League title.

Repeat

Sevilla kicked off their title defense on shaky footing, finishing second behind Dutch side AZ Alkmaar in group C. They then routed Steaua București in the Round of 32 and Ukrainian powerhouses Shakhtar Donetsk in the Round of 16.

Palanganas then met England’s Tottenham Hotspur in the quarter-finals and league rivals Osasuna in the semi-finals whom they beat to book an all-Spanish final against fellow La Liga side Espanyol.

The match was highly competitive with each side scoring a goal in the first half, going goalless in the second, and netting a goal each in extra time to force a penalty shootout. Sevilla scored all but one of their first four penalty attempts whereas Espanyol suffered the exact opposite fate.

Sevilla goalkeeper Andrés Palop rightfully won the Man of the Match award for his heroics which allowed the club to retain the Europa League trophy and became the only team besides Real Madrid (1985 and 1986) to have won two consecutive titles until that point.

Three Times the Charm

After a seven-year hiatus from the competition on account of continued success that allowed them to feature in the Champions League and rebuild its squad, Sevilla returned to the Europa League tournament in 2014.

Sevilla had not initially qualified for the competition and had to start their campaign from the third qualifying round. They nevertheless battled their way through the group and knockout stages to earn a final spot against Portuguese side Benfica, whom they had last met in a 1957/58 European Cup clash.

The match was highly competitive and the match ended 0-0 after extra time before Sevilla won 4-2 on penalties to earn their third Europa League title. The victory allowed them to join Liverpool, Juventus and Inter Milan as the only clubs to have won the trophy on three separate occasions.

Looking to build on their success, Sevilla entered the following season’s edition of the Europa League with a renewed zeal. Los Hispalensis won all but two of their matches to earn a spot in the finals against former Ukrainian top-tier side Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk whom they beat 3-2 to retain the title for the second time in their history in 2015.

Having fallen short of their objectives in the Champions League (which they had qualified for by virtue of winning the Europa League the previous season), Sevilla entered the 2016 Europa League competition in the Round of 32 stages.

Sevillistas beat Swiss beat Molde, Basel, Athletic Bilbao, and Shakhtar Donetsk to square off against Liverpool in the final. The Reds took the lead in the first half before striker Kevin Gameiro drew them level in the first minutes of the second half. Former Skipper Jorge Moreno, who is more commonly known as Coke, then scored a brace to clinch Sevilla its third title in as many years.

Their fifth win was special in that it not only earned them the Europa League trophy but also the competition’s winners’ badge, which is awarded to teams that either win the competition five times or win three titles in a row – both of which Sevilla had done.

Sevilla’s final Europa League title to date came in 2020. The club cruised their way to the final beating the likes of AS Roma, Wolverhampton Wanderers, and Manchester United, and ultimately met Inter Milan whom they beat 3-2 to bag their sixth title.

James

I started watching football in the early 90s and was hooked. I fell in love with Chelsea and have supported them ever since.

Recent Posts