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UEFA Champions League song: Lyrics, background & facts

If you’ve watched your fair share of Champions League football, you’ll know the tune that accompanies it.

Its anthem is one of the most instantly recognisable songs in football and is played at every participating stadium before matches between Europe’s elite.

The UEFA Champions League anthem, simply titled “Champions League” was written by English composer Tony Britten and based on George Frideric Handel’s Zadok the Priest.

The song is performed by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and sung by the Academy of Saint Martin in the Fields chorus. It took inspiration from Italia 90 and Luciano Pavarotti’s rendition of Nessun Dorma.

Back in 1991, UEFA were looking for a way to rebrand Europe’s elite club competition, which would switch its name from the European Cup to the Champions League. Commercial partner Television Event and Media Marketing helped as the new logo and house colours were developed.

Hooliganism had been rife in football during the 1980s and UEFA were eager to change the tone associated with the sport.

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Britten said: “It was a long time ago and to be honest it was just another job. The old European Cup had become a very tired competition and to UEFA’s credit they wanted to elevate the sport around the time when there was of a lot of hooliganism right across Europe.

“UEFA wanted this competition to be about the best of football rather than the worst and said they must have an anthem. The World Cup in Italy had just had the three tenors so classical music was all the range.”

Britten is mainly known for this composition, having previously worked at the National Theatre before moving into film and television. Britten does not own any rights to the anthem as they are owned by UEFA, but he does receive royalties when it is used.

The song has since been performed live at Champions League finals. Britten conducted the famous chorus of La Scala Milan in the pre-match build-up to the 2001 final between Bayern Munich and Valencia. Andrea Bocelli and Mariza have also belted out the anthem.

Ce sont les meilleures équipes
Es sind die allerbesten Mannschaften
The main event

Die Meister
Die Besten
Les grandes équipes
The champions

Une grande réunion
Eine grosse sportliche Veranstaltung
The main event

Die Meister
Die Besten
Les grandes équipes
The champions

Ils sont les meilleurs
Sie sind die Besten
These are the champions

Die Meister
Die Besten
Les grandes équipes
The champions

English

They are the best teams
They are the best teams
The main event
 
The master
The best
The great teams
The champions
 
A big meeting
A great sporting event
The main event

The master
The best
The great teams
The champions
 
They are the best
They are the best
These are the champions
 
The master
The best
The champions

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