Song of the Champions League
If you are a football (soccer) fan, you know that it is impossible to imagine European football without the UEFA Champions League. You would also know that the Champions League anthem (officially called ‘Champions League’), is an integral element of the tournament. The hymn is as popular as the tournament itself.
You have heard it numerous times! It is played before every match of the League. Even if you are watching it on TV, the song is aired at the beginning and end of every broadcast. Broadcasters play the version performed by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra.
The Academy sang it of St.Martin in the Fields. There are special vocal versions that have been recorded too. A vocal version is typically performed live at the final match of the UEFA Champions League.
We all know the anthem. But what is the story behind its composition? What do the lyrics mean? Let us find out!
A football tournament for European teams called the European Champion Clubs’ Cup was started in the year 1955. It was a simple knockout tournament where the winning team from the domestic leagues of various nations competed for the trophy.
As time passed, the sport gained overwhelming popularity. Commercialization took place. A simple knockout tournament was no more enough to attract the crowd.
In 1992, the League underwent an overhaul. Significant changes were made to the format of the tournament. The League was relaunched as we know it today. In this brand-new tournament, there was a group stage that teams had to clear before reaching the knockout. Some countries even started sending more than a single team to represent them.
However, to enhance the glitz and glam of the game, it was decided that the League would have its anthem too! Thus, the Champions League theme song was born. Tony Britten was entrusted with the task of composing an anthem for the League.
A graduate of the esteemed Royal College of Music, Britten drew inspiration from Zadok the Priest, composed by the 18th Century Musician George Frideric Handel. The piece was originally written for the enthronement of King George II. Britten made a few creative transitions to suit the mood of the sport.
It is about 3 minutes long. It is made up of two short verses and the chorus. Also, if you’ve paid attention, you would have noticed that the lyrics are not in a single language. The UEFA has three official languages – English, French, and German. Thus, the lyrics of the anthem are also a mix of these three languages.
Amidst all the international sporting events where the national anthems of the competing teams are played, the Champions League theme song stands out as a unique anthem for a continental tournament.
It boosts the sports enthusiasm among the thousands of crazy fans, right before the kick-off!
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