What is the Champions League music – and what are the lyrics to the famous football anthem?

19 September 2019, 14:22 | Updated: 19 September 2019, 16:38

The Champions League Trophy and the Choir of Westminster Abbey
The Champions League Trophy and the Choir of Westminster Abbey. Picture: Getty

By Sian Hamer

It’s played before every Champions League game and is one of the most recognisable anthems in football – but what are the music’s origins? Here’s everything you need to know...

The UEFA Champions League anthem, officially titled Champions League, is an adaptation of Handel’s Zadok the Priest.

Composer Tony Britten was commissioned to write the piece in 1992 when the football competition was rebranded, and the version you hear before a match is performed by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and sung by the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields.

Coincidentally, Classic FM also launched in 1992 – and Zadok was the first piece ever broadcast on the station.

Have a listen to Handel’s original Zadok the Priest here:

“[It] makes use of several elements from Handel’s original composition, but reshuffles and transforms them to suit the new context,” Swedish author Johan Fornäs says of the anthem.

The complete theme is around three minutes long, including two short verses and the chorus. It also combines UEFA’s three official languages: English, French and German.

So, what are the 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

What are the lyrics when translated into 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