Goal takes a look at the definition of the term in the sport along with the teams who have done it
If you are new to football, you could be forgiven for seeking out a glossary of terms (like ours here) in order to help you understand what the hell people are talking about half the time.
For example, a team can sometimes be described as being “still on for the treble” or as having “won the treble” and if you aren’t familiar, you might justifiably scratch your head wondering what it means.
In other cases, rows over semantics can break out among those who are aware of the meaning about what exactly a treble is – this is particularly prevalent among rival fan groups contesting the legitimacy of claims.
So what constitutes a treble in football and which teams have won the treble? Goal brings you all you need to know.
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At its most basic, a treble in football occurs when a team wins three trophies. However, in order to be considered a genuine treble, they must be the ‘right’ trophies.
A domestic treble is usually made up of the league, main national cup and the secondary national cup.
A one-off tie such as a super cup style competition, such as the Community Shield, does not usually count when considering the treble.
There is no such treble in Spain or Germany, but the Supercopa de Espana and DFL Supercup could arguably replace the League Cup in the equation, even though they are the equivalent to the Community Shield.
The continental treble is very similar, but as the name suggests, it naturally includes a continental title, such as the Champions League. A second-tier continental tournament like the Europa League is permissable when applying the tag, but it comes with an asterisk for many fans.
Generally speaking, a team is said to have won a continental treble if they win their league, their main national cup competition and the main continental competition.
Teams who have won the treble form an exclusive group, which is not surprising given how difficult it is to secure three trophies in one season.
We’ve focused on European teams in the tables below, but there are of course more examples of treble-winning teams across the world.
|Barcelona||2||La Liga, Copa del Rey, Champions League||2008-09 | 2014-15|
|Bayern Munich||2||Bundesliga, DFB-Pokal, Champions League||2012-13 | 2019-20|
|Ajax||1||Eredivisie, KNVB Cup, European Cup||1971-72|
|Celtic||1||Scottish League, Scottish Cup, European Cup||1966-67|
|Inter||1||Serie A, Coppa Italia, Champions League||2009-10|
|Manchester United||1||Premier League, FA Cup, Champions League||1998-99|
|PSV||1||Eredivisie, KNVB Cup, European Cup||1987-88|
Only seven teams have won the continental treble (incorporating only the European Cup or Champions League) in Europe.
They are: Ajax, Barcelona, Bayern Munich, Celtic, Inter, Manchester United and PSV.
Manchester United 1999 🏆🏆🏆
Barcelona 2009 🏆🏆🏆
Inter 2010 🏆🏆🏆
Barcelona 2015 🏆🏆🏆
Bayern Munich won an historic treble this season, but what is the best treble-winning team of all-time? 😍 pic.twitter.com/JkXzmLNLsv
— Goal (@goal) August 27, 2020
Barcelona and Bayern Munich have achieved the feat twice. Barca’s first treble came under Pep Guardiola in 2008-09 and their second was achieved in 2014-15, when Luis Enrique was manager.
Jupp Heynckes helped deliver Bayern’s first treble in 2012-13 and their second came under Hans-Dieter Flick in 2019-20 after he took over from Niko Kovac mid-way through the season.
Celtic won the treble in 1966-67 when they won the European Cup, while Ajax won it a few years later in 1971-72.
Manchester United memorably won the treble – the first and only English team to do so – in 1998-99 under Sir Alex Ferguson.
|Team||Number of trebles||Treble|
|Rangers||9||Scottish League, Scottish Cup, Scottish League Cup|
|Celtic||8||Scottish League, Scottish Cup, Scottish League Cup|
|Linfield||5||Irish League, Irish Cup, Irish League Cup|
|Paris Saint-Germain||4||Ligue 1, Coupe de France, Coupe de la Ligue|
|Shamrock Rovers||3||League of Ireland, FAI Cup, League of Ireland Shield|
|Valletta||2||Maltese Premier League, Maltese Cup, Lowenbrau Cup|
|The New Saints||2||Welsh Premier League, Welsh Cup, Welsh League Cup|
|Athletic Club||1||La Liga, Copa del Rey, Biscay Championship|
|Bayern Munich||1||Bundesliga, DFB-Pokal, DFL-Ligapokal|
|Benfica||1||Primeira Liga, Taca de Portugal, Taca da Liga|
|Bohemians||1||League of Ireland, FAI Cup, League of Ireland Shield|
|CSKA Sofia||1||Bulgarian League, Bulgarian Cup, Cup of the Soviet Army|
|Derry City||1||League of Ireland, FAI Cup, League of Ireland Cup|
|Levski Sofia||1||Bulgarian League, Bulgarian Cup, Cup of the Soviet Army|
|Manchester City||1||Premier League, FA Cup, League Cup|
|Rhyl||1||Welsh Premier League, Welsh Cup, Welsh League Cup|
Paris Saint-Germain’s recent dominance of French football has seen them collect four domestic trebles – all of them coming in the latter half of the 2010s.
Remarkably, England’s first-ever true domestic treble in men’s football was only achieved in 2018-19 by Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City.
The only Spanish club to have claimed a domestic treble is Athletic Club, though there is an asterisk next to their name given that one of the trophies was the Biscay Championship – a regional cup.
Other clubs who have won a domestic treble include Benfica and Bayern Munich