What is a treble? Complete history and teams who did it

Barcelona won their second treble during the 2014/15 season
Barcelona won their second treble during the 2014/15 season / LLUIS GENE/GettyImages

Manchester City have completed a historic feat.

Pep Guardiola's Citizens have long been regarded as the best team in Europe. They've dominated a supposedly competitive Premier League, even in the presence of Jurgen Klopp's Liverpool juggernaut, recently lifting their third successive league title and their fifth in the space six seasons.

When it's all said and done, Pep's City will be remembered as one of the greatest teams ever. Now that they've finally won the treble, some will regard them as the very best.

What is a treble?

The treble we're talking about is not merely winning three trophies in a single season. For example, lifting the UEFA Cup (Europa League), League Cup, and FA Cup - as Liverpool did in 2000/01 under Gerard Houllier - is not going to cut the mustard when discussing the all-time great outfits.

No, a treble is when a side wins their domestic league, primary domestic cup (FA Cup, Coppa Italia, Copa del Rey, DFB-Pokal, etc), and the Champions League.

How many teams have won a treble?

  • Celtic - 1966/67
  • Ajax - 1971/72
  • PSV Eindhoven - 1987/88
  • Manchester United - 1998/99
  • Barcelona - 2008/09
  • Inter - 2009/10
  • Bayern Munich - 2012/13
  • Barcelona - 2014/15
  • Bayern Munich - 2019/20
  • Manchester City - 2022/23

Only the very best and, in total, ten teams have completed the feat.

Jock Stein's Celtic became the first side to do so in 1967, while Hansi Flick's Bayern were the most recent treble-winners up until City's triumph. Flick took charge of Die Roten midway through the Covid-hit 2019/20 season and evolved them into an all-conquering beast.

Bayern had won the treble before in 2012/13 under Jupp Heynckes, with Barcelona (2008/09 & 2014/15) and Inter (2009/10) being the other two clubs to make history in the 21st century.

Guardiola and Luis Enrique were at the helm for Barça's remarkable campaigns, while Jose Mourinho memorably helped the Nerazzurri establish themselves as Italy's and only first treble-winners. A dramatic end to that season culminated in Diego Milito scoring twice in the Champions League final against Bayern.

City have won the three most prized pieces of silverware this season and have become just the second English side to do so after local rivals Manchester United in 1999. Two Dutch sides, meanwhile, have also won a treble: Ajax in 1972 led by talisman Johan Cruyff, and the PSV side of 1988 managed by Guus Hiddink.

Has any team won a quadruple?

Celtic 1967
Celtic's Lisbon Lions / Central Press/GettyImages

While the treble is a remarkable feat, winning a quadruple is a damn near impossible achievement. Only one side in history has ever won a treble plus the league cup, which isn't an option for a lot of clubs as many countries don't have a second domestic cup. But Celtic's Lisbon Lions from the 1966/67 season managed to win all four trophies available to them.

Stein's men won Scotland's Division One by three points, the Scottish Cup and Scottish League Cup, as well as the European Cup after they beat Helenio Herrera's 'Grande Inter' 2-1 in the final.

Klopp's Liverpool came close to lifting a quadruple last season but only ended up with half of it after City pipped them to the league title and Real Madrid beat them in the Champions League final.

The Citizens' quadruple dream this season, which never seemed a possibility given their 'struggles' up until mid-February, officially died when they were inexplicably beaten by Nathan Jones' Southampton in the Carabao Cup quarter-finals.