Five Football Teams That Defied the Odds and Completed a European Treble

Written by Chris Baxter
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Plenty of column inches have been written about football teams doing "the Treble" this past season.

It's because Manchester City defied the odds and won all the major domestic trophies in English football, and Celtic did likewise for the third consecutive campaign in Scotland where it has almost become a betting certainty that they will complete the clean sweep.

These are domestic trebles and, while they confirm a particular club's dominance of the sport within in their own country, a true treble contains the European Cup - contested as the Champions League since 1992.

Before Pep Guardiola at the Etihad and Neil Lennon back at Parkhead can get ahead of themselves, however, here we take a look at five famous teams that have completed a European treble.

Celtic (1967)

Known as the Lisbon Lions, Celtic's own present era domestic trebles pale in comparison with the Glasgow giants of more than half-a-century ago. The Bhoys actually won a quadruple during the 1966-67 season with Scottish League Cup and FA Cup successes joining a First Division triumph in which they lost just twice all season.

Captained by the commanding centre back Billy McNeil, Celtic overcame the mighty Inter Milan in Lisbon to land the European Cup despite falling behind early on. Hoops forward Stevie Chalmers came up with the winner in the Portuguese capital as the Bhoys became icons of sport in Scotland.

Success on the continent seems beyond Celtic now, but they are a best-price 4/11 to win the Scottish Premiership again next term and 5/4 to land the League Cup.

Manchester United (1999)

No talk of European trebles in football can go without mentioning Manchester United, who lifted the Premier League, FA Cup and Champions League in 1998-99. This was legendary manager Sir Alex Ferguson's finest hour as he emulated what compatriot Jock Stein achieved in seeing his side come from behind to win the European Cup.

Stoppage time strikes from Teddy Sheringham and current Red Devils manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer resulted in one of the most sensational last-gasp comebacks ever seen in football. We've also looked back on Man Utd's treble triumph in more detail.

These glory days in Europe's elite club competition seem distant now. United will play in the Europa League next season - a competition they won back in 2016 - and they have been installed as the 9/2 favourites to regain that trophy in 2020.

Barcelona (2009 and 2015)

Only one football team to date has done a European treble twice, Barcelona. Their first came under former holding midfielder turned manager Pep Guardiola in 2008-09 before another Nou Camp playing favourite, Luis Enrique, emulated that in 2014-15.

Six players, headed by Barca's brilliant magician Lionel Messi, who is evens to win the Ballon d'Or for a record sixth time this year, were instrumental in repeating this incredible feat of Spanish La Liga, Copa del Rey and Champions League triumphs six years apart.

Their midfield contained Sergio Busquets, Andres Iniesta and Xavi with Gerard Pique in defence and Pedro playing wide. With Barcelona 8/11 favourites to retain their La Liga crown once more,UK betting sites also have them a top-price 6/1 to win the Champions League again.

 Inter Milan (2010)

"José Mourinho / Жозе Моуринь" (CC BY-SA 2.0) by Aleksandr Osipov

 Arguably the most impressive European treble came from Inter Milan under Jose Mourinho in 2009-10. Whether or not commentators still think of him as "the Special One", the Portuguese manager did something no other coach has in Italian football to date - won Serie A, the Coppa Italia and the Champions League in the same season.

This Inter side didn't have a superstar, but they had plenty of no-nonsense South American defenders shutting down any scoring attempts. Joining Lucio and Walter Samuel was Nerazzurri legend Javier Zanetti, who patrolled in front of the back four with the under-rated Esteban Cambiasso.

They allowed Dutch playmaker Wesley Sneijder to pull the strings and stocky striker Diego Milito to score twice against Bayern Munich. Inter have again qualified for the Champions League and, although they're as big as 66/1 with some British bookies to again rule Europe, a renewed challenge in Serie A under Antonio Conte is expected, with them as 5/1 second-favourites behind Juventus.

Bayern Munich (2013)

While German giants Bayern Munich saw their own treble tilt terminated by Inter in 2010, there was no denying them three years later when they and fellow Bundesliga big boys Borussia Dortmund contested the Champions League final.

After veteran boss Jupp Heynckes steered the Bavarian club to one loss in their domestic league all season, Bayern ran out clear winners of the division. Dortmund drew level in the Champions League final, but Arjen Robben struck later on to dispel the ghosts of 2010 and 2012 - when they lost to Chelsea.

Munich were then made to hang on for DFB-Pokal success over Stuttgart. While Bayern are 1/3 favourites to win the Bundesliga yet again next season, they are as big as 12/1 for another Champions League success.

Top Image "treble" (CC BY-ND 2.0) by Live4Soccer68

Read 4364 times Last modified on Monday, 17 June 2019 16:35
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Chris Baxter

Chris Baxter

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