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first_img Arsenal and Liverpool boast proud qualification records for Europe’s top tournament 1 The fact Real Madrid could become the first club to retain the Champions League since it was rebranded and reformatted in the 1990s suggests it’s harder to win than in the old European Cup days.But if the Champions League is a tough nut to crack, it’s also fair to point out Madrid wouldn’t have won the trophy last season if it was the old European Cup, because they wouldn’t have even qualified for it.Madrid are currently on a record run of 20 consecutive qualifications for the Champions League – one better than Arsenal, whose run of 19 successive seasons in the tournament is under threat.The Spanish giants would only have qualified in nine out of those 20 seasons under the old, stricter rules, and wouldn’t have taken part in 1999/2000, 2013/14 or 2015/16, when they won the trophy.Before 1997, only domestic champions were allowed into Europe’s premier competition – which includes the first four seasons of the rebranded Champions League. Arsenal’s first appearance of their 19 in a row was earned as 1997/98 Premier League champions, though Manchester United went on to win the 1999 Champions League having qualified as runners up to the Gunners.Indeed, Arsenal would only have qualified three times out of the past 19 seasons, had the European Cup qualification rules been in place.It was during the European Cup era that Liverpool – who are hoping to end Arsenal’s run of Champions League qualifications – enjoyed their best run in the tournament, qualifying nine years in a row.To do so they had to be either League champions or European champions every year.Take a look at how Liverpool achieved their record run in the European Cup, compared to Arsenal’s Champions League qualifications…Liverpool – qualified for the European Cup nine years in a row1976: League champions1977: League champions and European Cup winners1978: European Cup winners1979: League champions1980: League champions1981: European Cup winners1982: League champions1983: League champions1984: League champions and European Cup winnersArsenal – qualified for the Champions League 19 years in a row1998: League champions1999: Second2000: Second2001: Second2002: League champions2003: Second2004: League champions2005: Second2006: Fourth2007: Fourth2008: Third2009: Fourth2010: Third2011: Fourth2012: Third2013: Fourth2014: Fourth2015: Third2016: Secondlast_img


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