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19th Sep 2019

Meet the man who wrote the UEFA Champions League anthem

Reuben Pinder

“I had no idea it would become what is has become.”

The Champions League anthem has become the most iconic piece of music in the world of football. As part of UEFA’s rebranding of the knackered European Cup format, the governing body of European football wanted a piece of music to convey its glamour and its prestige.

Tony Britten, a successful composer and conductor was the man tasked with coming up to the theme tune to many footballers’ careers – most notably Cristiano Ronaldo, who has been seen singing along to its chorus before matches.

Britten explains that the creative process began by sending UEFA a series of classical pieces, including George Frideric Handel’s Zadok the Priest, which would form the basis of the Champions League anthem.

Using the same chord progression, Britten adapted the hymn most often used at monarch’s coronations, brought in the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and Academy of St Martin in the Fields choir to sing the lyrics, also written by Britten and translated into UEFA’s other official languages: French and German.