The European Champions league as we know it today began in 1993 when the competition name was changed from the European Champions Cup, reflecting the fact it was now open to teams who had not won their domestic top division.
The number of teams competing has steadily grown and up to four clubs from any country can play in the tournament. Now it is common for the winner not to be their leagues reigning domestic champions and in 2005 Liverpool actually managed only 5th place in the premier league before going on to lift the trophy.
With so many teams entering from the top countries the final is now often between clubs from the same country a feat which has been achieved three times in 2000, 2003 & 2008.
There is no doubting its popularity and it is now by far the most prestigious and lucrative tournament available to domestic Clubs.