What is the story behind the UEFA Champions League anthem? Here’s everything you need to know

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It is one of the most popular and recognizable anthems in football and it is played before every Champion League match.

Although people get excited and very emotional when it sounds, only a few people can truly discern what it really implies because they know everything about it.

For you to be part of those who enjoy everything related to football, including the anthem, here you are about to know its origin.

It is said that Tony Britten composed the anthem when he was commissioned to write the piece in 1992. However, Britten is not the original composer; instead, he was in charge of making some changes over the anthem created by the German composer and George Frideric Handel, known as a very influential figure of Baroque music.

The UEFA Champions League anthem is an adaptation of Handel’s Zadok the Priest, a piece that works together with Coronation anthem, a serie of four anthems («Zadok, the Priest», «My heart is inditing», «The king shall rejoice», and «Let thy hand be strengthened») based on Bible verses used by Anglican Church ( The King James Bible, 1611) composed by Handel in 1727 for the coronation of George II from Great Britain.

Handel was a real believer, and proofs of his faith, many of his works show his source of inspiration. Among his most famous pieces are “The immortal Messiah” (with his Hallelujah)

Origin of the anthem

In 1992, the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) wanted to make some changes to one of its most famous competitions, “The Europe Cup”, including change of denomination to “Champions League”, better known “UEFA Champions League”; for that reason, The UEFA commissioned British composer Tony Britten to make an anthem for the competition. It was then when Britten, instead of creating an original composition, presented a modified version of Handel’s Zadok the Priest. From that moment on, this anthem is has become the music emblem for the Champions League.

In one opportunity, Britten told UEFA.tv of the composition “The idea of the Champions League was to make the game beautiful again and the music had to reflect this quality.”

Champions League Anthem Lyrics

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

 

Champions League Anthem Lyrics (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

 

Handel’s original Zadok the Priest here:

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