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Dominating the leagues

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“I hate to speak about individuals. Players don’t win you trophies, teams win trophies, squads win trophies”. These words of legendary manager Jose Mourinho couldn’t be more accurate. Ultimately any club competing at the top level aims to win as many trophies as possible because you can’t win them all, but you can try your hardest.

And in European football, there have been many clubs that have made winning trophies a habit for the better part of the last century and the present. However, when it comes to league titles, several clubs may not be a force in the Champions League or Europa League but are the dominant team in their country.

Over the years, these clubs have accumulated a record number of league titles establishing their dominance. While some of these teams have gone on to build on their league strength and become one of the top clubs in football, others have failed to do so.

So, here are the list of the clubs with the most league titles in Europe.

Top European Clubs With Most League Titles 

Club Number of Titles Nation
Linfield FC 56 Ireland
Rangers 55 Scotland
Celtic 53 Scotland
Olympiacos 47 Greece
SL Benfica 37 Portugal
Sparta Prague 36 Czechia
Juventus 36 Italy
AFC Ajax 35 Netherlands
Real Madrid 35 Spain
RSC. Anderlecht 34 Belgium

RSC Anderlecht- 34 League Titles

RSC Anderlecht is among the big three clubs of Belgian football and has won the most titles of any team in the country; the club, which was formed in 1908, took almost 40 years to win their first title in the 1946-47 season. Since then, though, they have made winning the title a regular habit.

During their history, their best form came on two occasions; 1963-1968 and 1990-1995, during which they won five consecutive titles. And despite winning their last Belgian league title six years back, Anderlecht are among the top clubs with the most league titles in Europe.

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Real Madrid- 35 League Titles 

The Spanish giants Real Madrid have made winning a habit, and failure to do so generally leads to the managers being sacked and several players being shipped out. Such is the high expectations at the Santiago Bernabéu. This is why the club has 14 Champions League (the most by any team) and 35 league titles (the most in Spain).

Their first title came in the 1931-32 season before following up with another the following season. In their incredible history, their best run in the league came between 1960-1965 and 1985-1990, when the club won five consecutive trophies. Madrid’s last title win came in the 2021-22 season, where they completed the treble by winning the league, Champions League and Supercopa de Espana.

AFC Ajax- 36 Titles

The club that produces some of the best young talents in Europe is also one of the most successful clubs in Europe when it comes to league titles. Ajax won their first title in the 1917-18 season and have added a further 35 titles since then. Some of the most successful phases of the club came between 1958-68 (three consecutive league titles), 1993-96 (three consecutive league titles), and 2010-14 (four consecutive league titles).

Their most recent title came in the 2021-22 season, their 36th league title. However, this season they have been unable to match the intensity of Feyenoord, who have won their Eredivisie.

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Juventus- 36 League Titles 

Next on the list are the Old Lady Juventus, who, throughout their history, have experienced their fair share of highs and lows. The clubs based in Turin have 36 Serie A titles, the most by any Italian club. Their first title came in 1905, but they only became a force to reckon with in the 1930s when they won five consecutive Serie A league titles.

Since then, they have always been among the top clubs despite several scandals, one of which also caused their relegation to Serie B. However, their most incredible run came between 2011-20, when they won an impressive nine consecutive Serie A titles. During this run, the club had three different managers; Antonio Conte (2011-14), Massimiliano Allegri (2014-19), and Maurizio Sarri (2019-20).

Sparta Prague- 36 League Titles 

Czech football club Sparta Prague are one of those clubs who may not have a strong European record but have been absolutely dominant in their league. Formed in 1893, the team won their first title in the 1911/12 season when they became the champions of Czechoslovakia.

Over the next 80 years, the team would win the title 23 times, including an incredible run between 1986-91 when they won five consecutive league titles. After Czechoslovakia broke into the Czech Republic (now called Czechia) and Slovakia, Sparta Prague competed in the newly formed Czech League, where they won an additional 12 titles taking their total tally to 36, making them one of the clubs with the most league titles in Europe.

SL Benfica- 37 League Titles 

Portuguese giants SL Benfica are the next club on the list with 37 titles, the most by any team in the nation’s league to date. However, while the club was formed in 1904, it would take them almost 30 years to win their first league title, and they would win the following two seasons to establish them as a force in Portugal.

Benfica, during their history, have won three consecutive league titles on five different occasions between 1935-38, 1962-65, 1966-69, 1970-73, and 1974-77. The most successful phase in their history, though, came between 2013-17, when they won four consecutive league titles.

Olympiacos- 47 League Titles  

The gap between Benfica and Olympiacos regarding league titles is a whooping 11, which shows how dominant the team has been in the Greek league. The club won their first trophy in the 1930-31 league season, after which they went on an impressive run in the league.

Olympiacos’ domination can be gauged by the fact that they have won seven consecutive Greek league titles on two occasions (1996-03 and 2010-17), six successive league titles on one occasion (1953-59) and five consecutive league titles on one occasion (2004-09).

Their last title win took their tally to 47, making them one of the clubs with the most league titles in Europe.

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Celtic- 53 League Titles 

Celtic are one-half of perhaps the strongest duopoly ever seen in a national league. The club, which was formed in 1887, took only five years to win their first league title. Since then, the Celts have won 50 additional titles, including nine consecutive wins between 1965-74 and 2011-20 and five straight wins between 1905-10 and four consecutive wins between 1913-17.

In fact, Celtic have won 11 league titles in the last 12 seasons, which shows their domination in the league. However, Celtic are not even the most successful club in Scotland.

Rangers- 55 League Titles 

The reason for that is Rangers FC, who have 55 league titles to their name. The club, which was founded in 1872, won their first title in 1890-91. And during their entire history, the club saw their best phase between 1988-97, when they won nine consecutive league titles. In addition, they have also won the league for five consecutive seasons between 1926-31 and four consecutive league titles between 1898-1902.

The domination of Celtic and Rangers has been so strong that no club other than the two had won the league since 1984-85 when Aberdeen defeated the duo under the now legendary manager Sir Alex Ferguson.

Linfield FC- 56 League Titles 

The award for the club with the most league titles in Europe goes to the Irish side Linfield FC. The team has won an astounding 56 trophies during their history. Linfield have won six consecutive trophies between 1981-87, four successive league titles between 2018-22, three consecutive titles between 1890-93, 1906-09, 1953-56, 1977-80, 2005-08, and 2009-12.

With this incredible record, it looks very hard that any club apart from Clewtic and Rangers may have a chance to surpass the Irish giants and become the club with the most league titles in Europe.

Saumy Deepak Tripathi
A Bayern Munich fan who is deeply in love with football statistics. Has a soft spot for goalkeepers! (well only he knows why). You’ll find him vibing on 70’s classic songs and spends an abnormal amount of time cooking.

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