Premier clubs like Manchester United and Arsenal should always be Europa favourites

MANCHESTER UNITED and Arsenal made it through to the semi-finals of the UEFA Europa League, very comfortably. This came just after Manchester City and Chelsea reached the last four of the UEFA Champions League. There is a reasonable chance that for the second time in three seasons, UEFA’s big two competitions will be all-English affairs.  […]

The best football team in Europe? It’s not necessarily the Champions League winner

WHEN Bayern Munich won the UEFA Champions League in 2020, it was fairly clear they were the best team in Europe. After their defeat in the quarter-final to Paris Saint-Germain this year, it is reasonable to ask if the French champions are a better side than Bayern. They are not, but it could be that […]

Spain’s three-horse race, too close to call

A FEW weeks ago, the La Liga race looked a foregone conclusion with Atlético Madrid 10 points clear and favourites to lift their first title since 2014. Real Madrid and Barcelona, were shot, fading forces with old players, financial pressure and internal politics. Diego Simeone’s team were in full flow, supposedly more adventurous than ever […]

A game of survival: The Dutch, the Belgians and BeNeLiga

FOOTBALL’s polarisation over the past decade has prompted league administrators and business people to discuss solutions that can prevent their clubs from being marginalised. The game has become corporatized, meaning money talks louder than ever before in football. Size really does matter, both for a club and a league.  The top five leagues in Europe […]

Barca and Juve exit: Why it’s hard to admit the guard is changing

THE MOST notable consequence of Barcelona’s defeat against Paris Saint-Germain and Juventus’ capitulation at the hands of Porto was the fact that, for the first time in several years, the UEFA Champions League quarter-finals won’t be graced by either Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo. These are rock gods in football boots, saintly figures from a […]

Fear and loathing in the time of Barcagate

BARCELONA’s offices raided by the Mossos d’Escuadra in a week when the club’s presidential elections are taking place. Call me sceptical, but was the timing and staged drama strategically designed to distance candidates from the Bartomeu era, giving an advantage to anyone who was a fierce opponent of the previous president? Barcelona’s multitudes must be wondering how […]

Don’t assume European football’s hierarchy cannot change

THE last time a team from outside football’s top 20 clubs won the UEFA Champions League was in 2004, Porto beating Monaco 3-0 and launching the career of a certain José Mourinho. Since then, eight clubs have won the competition and the likelihood is that future winners will come from a select band of wealthy, […]