From 1972 to 1999, the UEFA Super Cup was contested between the winners of the European Cup/UEFA Champions League and the winners of the UEFA Cup Winners' Cup. After the discontinuation of the UEFA Cup Winners' Cup, it has been contested by the winners of the UEFA Champions League and the winners of the UEFA Cup, which was renamed the UEFA Europa League in 2009.
The current holders are Spanish club Real Madrid, who won 2–1 against Manchester United in 2017. The most successful teams in the competition are Barcelona and Italian side Milan, who have won the trophy five times each.
The European Super Cup was created in 1971 by Anton Witkamp, a reporter and later sports editor of Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf. The idea came to him in a time when Dutch total football was Europe's finest and Dutch football clubs were living their golden era (especially Ajax). Witkamp was looking for something new to definitely decide which was the best team in Europe and also to further test Ajax's legendary team, led by their star player Johan Cruyff. It was then proposed that the winner of the European Cup would face the winner of the European Cup Winners' Cup.
All was set for a new competition to be born. However, when Witkamp tried to get an official endorsement to his competition, the UEFA president turned it down.
The 1972 final between Ajax and Scotland's Rangers is considered unofficial by UEFA, as Rangers were banned from European competition due to the behaviour of their fans during the 1972 UEFA Cup Winners' Cup Final. As a result, UEFA refused to endorse the competition until the following season. It was played in two legs and was financially supported by De Telegraaf. Ajax defeated Rangers 6–3 on aggregate and won the first (albeit unofficial) European Super Cup.