A rubric was developed to determine which European basketball club has been the most historically successful. The points rubric awards progressively more points the further a team went in the FIBA European Champions Cup / EuroLeague. Not only is Real Madrid the most successful club in European football, but it is also the most successful club in European basketball. Four of the top five clubs are located in the Mediterranean region.
16 pts – European champions
8 pts – Reached final
4 pts – Reached semi-finals
2 pts – Top 8 finish
1 pt – Top 16 finish
Note: Some years had different playoff structures, so the equivalent level was used in those years
TOP 5 MOST SUCCESSFUL CLUBS
1. Real Madrid – 317 pts.
Real Madrid is undoubtedly the most successful basketball club in Europe, with an impressive ten titles to their name. The Spanish club won their first title in 1964 and won four other European championships that decade. Their most recent win was in 2018. Over the years, Real Madrid has had some excellent players on their roster. Luka Doncic and Arvydas Sabonis played for the team before joining the NBA. Rudy Fernandez and Andrés Nocioni have also played for Real Madrid.
2. CSKA Moscow – 255 pts.
CSKA Moscow is another club that has enjoyed significant success, winning a total of eight European basketball titles. The Russian club won three championships in the 1960s, but had relatively little success in the 1980’s and 1990’s. However, since 2006, the team has won four championships, with the most recent coming in 2019. CSKA Moscow has had some of the best players in the world on their roster, including NBA stars Andrei Kirilenko and Nenad Krstić. The team is one of the wealthiest clubs in Europe and offers competitive salaries to attract top players.
3. Maccabi Tel Aviv – 210 pts.
Although Maccabi Tel Aviv is in Israel, which is located in the Middle East, Israeli basketball teams are part of FIBA Europe competitions. The club has won a total of six European basketball titles, with their first title in 1977 and their most recent in 2014. The team was especially successful in the 2000’s decade, winning three championships. Some of the top players that have been on their roster over the years include Tal Brody, Sarunas Jasikevicius, and Nikola Vujcic. Maccabi Tel Aviv is known for its passionate fans and their never-say-die attitude on the basketball court.
4. FC Barcelona – 144 pts.
FC Barcelona is the second Spanish basketball club on this list, after Real Madrid. The team did not have much success until the 1980’s. They eventually won their first title in 2003 and their most recent in 2010. Although the club has only won 2 European championships, it has been to the finals a total of 6 times. Before joining the NBA, Pau Gasol and Marc Gasol both played for FC Barcelona. NBA players, such as Ricky Rubio and Nikola Mirotić have also played for the team.
5. Panathinaikos BC – 142 pts.
Panathinaikos has won a total of six titles. However, Panathinaikos has only been runner-up once. The Greek club really excelled in the 1990’s and the 2000’s, winning a total of five championships in those decades. During that time, the team signed Dominique Wilkins, an NBA star for one season. The team has also featured Šarūnas Jasikevičius, Stojko Vranković, and Dino Rađa. Panathinaikos is known for its passionate fans and their strong team play, which has led to their consistent success on the basketball court.
Uses the final 16 teams in the EuroLeague (1996-present) and its forerunner the European Champions Cup (1958-1996).
For the full table of all European clubs ranked and a breakdown of success decade by decade please see: