In football, winning the treble is the pinnacle of success. Securing the league title, domestic cup, and the European trophy in a single season is an extraordinary accomplishment that only a select few clubs have achieved.
What is a treble in football?
This is called as a treble in football. In simple words, winning three trophies in a season for any club is considered winning a treble. However, for them it to be called a right or traditional treble, they have to be the right set of trophies.
So, let’s understand the different types of trebles. First, we have the domestic treble. To clinch this trophy, a team has to win three different set of trophies in their own country. Most commonly this treble consists of their League trophy, main domestic cup, and a secondary cup competition.
The best example of this kind of treble can be found in England. They have three different types of competitions within their own country. First is the league competition, which ranges from Premier League to several League competition leading up to League 3. Second, England has the most prestigious and oldest competition in FA Cup. And in third comes the League Cup or Carabao Cup, as it is known for sponsorship purposes in recent years.
However, one of the most recognized and praiseworthy treble is the Continental treble. Now this type of treble requires a team to win the three major trophies that are up for grabs in the whole of continent for them. This includes their own League title, followed by the main cup competition and ultimately the European Cup: UEFA Champions League, or Europa League.
So, one can tell that winning one trophy in football is hard enough. This makes winning a treble even more hard. Hence, in this article, we will explore the history of the treble and delve into the number of clubs that have reached this remarkable milestone. From the early pioneers to the modern giants of the game, we will uncover the exclusive group of clubs that have conquered the treble.
European Teams with Treble in football
|La Liga, Copa del Rey, Champions League
|2008-09 | 2014-15
|Bundesliga, DFB-Pokal, Champions League
|2012-13 | 2019-20
|Eredivisie, KNVB Cup, European Cup
|Scottish League, Scottish Cup, European Cup
|Serie A, Coppa Italia, Champions League
|Premier League, FA Cup, Champions League
|Eredivisie, KNVB Cup, European Cup
European Teams with Treble in football: Overview
Since the inception of the treble concept, a select group of clubs has etched their names in football history by claiming this prestigious achievement. As of the current date, a total of 8 clubs have won the treble, leaving an unforgettable mark on the sport.
The treble’s origins can be traced back to Celtic’s triumph in 1967, becoming the first British club to conquer the league, domestic cup, and European Cup in a single season. Inspired by manager Jock Stein, they paved the way for future clubs to strive for treble glory and the treble indeed became a coveted achievement in the world of football.
2. AFC Ajax
Following Celtic’s historic triumph, other clubs began their pursuit of the treble. In 1972, AFC Ajax, guided by the legendary figure Johan Cruyff, clinched the treble of Eredivisie (Dutch league), KNVB Cup (Dutch Cup), and the European Cup.
3. PSV Eindhoven
Several years later, another Dutch side made it to the history books by completing a treble. In the 1987-88 season, PSV Eindhoven won the Eredivisie league, KNVB Cup, and also the prestigious European Cup.
4. Manchester United FC
Sir Alex Ferguson’s Manchester United etched their name in football folklore with their dramatic treble-winning campaign in the 1998-99 season. Against all odds, the Red Devils secured the Premier League, FA Cup, and the UEFA Champions League, displaying their never-say-die spirit and unmatched resilience. They did this in a season filled with dramatic moments, including a memorable comeback victory in the Champions League final.
5. FC Barcelona
Barcelona’s golden era under the management of Pep Guardiola witnessed the club clinching the treble in the 2008-09 season. With a mesmerizing style of play centred around the iconic tiki-taka philosophy, Barcelona conquered La Liga, Copa del Rey, and the UEFA Champions League, elevating themselves to the pinnacle of football excellence.
They repeated the feat in the 2014-15 season under Luis Enrique’s guidance and this treble is known because of the iconic front 3 of Messi, Suarez and Neymar and these 3 played an exhilarating brand of football that mesmerized fans around the world.
6. Inter Milan
Under the tactical brilliance of Jose Mourinho, Inter Milan achieved the treble in the 2009-10 season, becoming the first Italian club to achieve this feat. Powered by a resolute defence, the Italian giants claimed the Serie A title, Coppa Italia, and the UEFA Champions League, solidifying their place among treble-winning elites.
7. Bayern Munich
Bayern Munich, one of the dominant forces in European football, has won the treble twice. The first triumph came under Jupp Heynckes in the 2012-13 season when they claimed the Bundesliga, the DFB-Pokal, and the UEFA Champions League. They repeated the feat in the 2019-20 season under the guidance of Hansi Flick which showed their unwavering dominance and relentless pursuit of success.
8. Manchester City
The most recent addition to the treble-winning clubs is Manchester City. Managed by Pep Guardiola, they achieved the treble in the 2022-23 season, becoming the first English club to accomplish this milestone. They secured the Premier League title, the FA Cup, and the UEFA Champions League. Manchester City’s inclusion in this elite group further solidifies their status as one of the dominant forces in modern football.
As of now, a total of 10 times clubs have won the treble in their respective leagues. The illustrious group includes Celtic, Ajax, PSV Eindhoven, Manchester United, Inter Milan, Bayern Munich (twice), Barcelona (twice) and most recently, Manchester City. These clubs have indeed etched their names in football history.
Winning the treble is a rare and prestigious accomplishment in football. The exclusive group of clubs that have achieved this feat showcase their dominance, talent, and determination.
From the early pioneers like Celtic and Ajax to modern giants like Barcelona, Manchester United, and Bayern Munich, these clubs have left an iconic mark on the sport.
As football continues to captivate fans worldwide, the pursuit of the treble will always serve as a benchmark for excellence, inspiring clubs to reach new heights in their quest for glory.