Six clubs worth US$ 4 billion or more – football is still relatively modest

FORBES has just issued its wealthiest football club list, a tale of higher valuations but falling revenues across the industry. It is quite astonishing that against a backdrop of financial crisis caused by the covid pandemic, football’s top clubs have seen their valuations rise by an average of 30% over a two year period. The […]

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 […]

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, […]

La Liga’s European worries – decline may be a strong word

THERE was a little introspection in Madrid, Barcelona and Seville after the first legs of the UEFA Champions League, with Spanish football officials fearing a series of setbacks had signalled the decline of the most successful nation in European club competitions. Like most events big or small, disappointment was accompanied by social media-driven over-reaction and […]

For PSG, Juve and Barca, the European monopoly could be over

THIS could finally be the season when the stranglehold starts to loosen across European football and some of the top leagues finally celebrate a new champion. According to CIES Football Observatory, trophies in Portugal, Spain, Italy and France will be changing hands, while Manchester City will regain the Premier League they last won in 2019. Bayern […]

Great Reputations: Barcelona 1974 – the Cruyff effect

IT IS difficult to comprehend today, but between 1960 and 1973, Barcelona failed to win Spain’s La Liga. Every major club in history has its occasional lean spell, Manchester United and Liverpool, for example, did not win the English league for 26 and 30 years respectively.  In 1973, Barca were desperate to end their barren […]