UEFA Champions League song, official theme, anthem, lyrics, name and downloads

The UEFA Champions League anthem is one of the most recognizable tunes in sport.

Its lyrics and tones can evoke both football nostalgia for memorable moments past and the promise of future drama to come.

Simply titled “Champions League”, the song is written with lyrics from several languages ​​across Europe and played in the stadium before the start of every UEFA Champions League game.

“The official anthem is now almost as iconic as the trophy,” says the official website of Champions League organizers and European body UEFA.

MORE: Which teams are qualified for the 2022-23 Champions League?

Who wrote the Champions League song? When did it start?

The official UEFA Champions League anthem was written in 1992 by English composer Tony Britten.

According to UEFA, the European confederation commissioned Britten to compose an anthem based on a 1727 song by George Frideric Handel called Zadok the Priest, which was originally written for the coronation of King George II. Zadok the Priest has been played before the anointing at the coronation of every British monarch since its composition and has become a British patriotic symbol.

“There’s a rising string phase that I plucked in Handel and then wrote my own melody,” Britten said in 2018 during an interview with a local publication in his hometown of Croydon. “It has a sort of Handelian feel to it, but I like to think it’s not a total rip-off.”

UEFA explain that the song was meant to build on the Three Tenors’ popularity after their performance ahead of the 1990 FIFA World Cup Final in Rome, Italy. A recording of the performance, watched by an estimated 800 million people, became the best-selling classical album of all time.

The recording of the Champions League song known today was performed by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and sung by the Academy of Saint Martin in the Fields Chorus.

What language is the Champions League anthem in?

The lyrics of the Champions League anthem are composed of mixed phrases taken from the three official languages ​​of UEFA: English, French and German.

Each verse has a line in each language, with the lyrics highlighting the “top teams”, clearly the tournament’s main dividing point. It’s a nod to the annual qualification process which only sees the best clubs from the various leagues compete in the Champions League.

As languages ​​like Italian, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish are not technically official languages ​​of the governing body, they are not featured.

MORE: Which are the most successful English teams in the Champions League?

Champions League song lyrics

They are the best teams
Es sind die allerbesten Mannschaften (These are the best teams)
The main event

Die Meister (The Master)
Die Besten (the best)
The big teams (The biggest teams)
The Champions

A big meeting
Eine grosse sportliche Veranstaltung (A big sporting event)
The main event

Die Meister (The Master)
Die Besten (the best)
The big teams (The biggest teams)
The Champions

They are the best (They are the best)
Sie sind die Besten (They are the best)
They are the champions

Die Meister (The Master)
Die Besten (the best)
The big teams (The biggest teams)
The Champions

UEFA Champions League songs download availability

UEFA’s official website explains that the song “cannot be legally purchased or downloaded from any website”. Despite this, it is available for purchase and download from iTunes Store for $0.99.

The song is available on Apple Music and Spotify with a subscription, and has over 25 million plays on Spotify.

Why are fans whistling the Champions League anthem?

While many fans are relishing the opportunity to listen to the Champions League anthem, some groups of supporters are instead taking the opportunity to voice their concerns about the competition, organizers or other related issues.

Why Man City fans are booing the Champions League anthem

Man City fans boo the Champions League anthem in every game the club plays. Supporters are challenging a situation from 2011 when Man City striker Mario Balotelli was racially abused by Porto supporters.

Not only was UEFA’s action to fine Porto €20,000 far too lenient, but a month later City were fined €30,000 for coming back with 30 seconds left. late on the pitch for the second half of a Champions League game against Sporting Lisbon.

Dissatisfied City fans, understandably dismayed by the disparity between the two penalties, have since expressed their frustration during the Champions League anthem.

City fans were even more furious when, in 2014, UEFA punished CSKA Moscow for racial slur. The punishment, handed down just three weeks before City played an away game against the Russian club, included a closed stadium. This left many City supporters with tickets, flights and hotels already booked. City fans showed up anyway, hoping to get in, and were turned away, despite the fact that some CSKA Moscow fans were able to enter the stadium with different colors. UEFA did not penalize CSKA Moscow further for circumventing the sanction.

“I’m not just disappointed, I’m furious,” Man City midfielder Yaya Toure said at the time.

Things got even worse for City fans when the exact opposite happened two years later. In December 2016, Man City were due to face Dynamo Kyiv in the Champions League. Dynamo Kyiv were serving a stadium ban for the game, but three weeks before the scheduled game UEFA overturned the ban, leaving many Man City fans with too little time to book a trip.

Man City boss Pep Guardiola said in 2019 that he understands why Man City fans are booing the anthem, but hopes fans have started to appreciate the competition more lately.

Why Barcelona fans are booing the Champions League anthem

Like Man City fans, Barcelona fans also boo the Champions League anthem on occasion.

Barcelona is located in the Spanish autonomous community of Catalonia, which has seen growing support for independence over the past two decades. In 2016, the club sought to support this movement by distributing 30,000 Estelada flags to supporters entering the game.

Political demonstrations during matches are banned by UEFA, and as the governing body considers the push for Catalan independence to be a “separatist movement”, the club was fined €25,000.

When it happened again later that year in a game against Bayer Leverkusen, UEFA again fined the club, this time for an increased total of €33,000.