Last night Manchester City became the ninth UK club to reach the European Cup/Champions League final, where they will face either Real Madrid or Chelsea. Of those who have reached this stage before them, only Leeds United and Arsenal are without a win in the tournament.
European football was more interesting in the 60s, 70s, 80s and 90s. Each of those decades saw four (90s), five (60s, 70s) or six (80s) clubs win their very their first European Cup. That trend of variety has stopped. Since Paul Lambert lifted the trophy with Borussia Dortmund in 1997 only Chelsea’s name has been added to the new winners’ list. The football peak seems to have effectively closed to new entrants.
City and last night’s losers, Paris Saint-Germain are the obvious omissions from the list. The petrodollars pouring into both of them, as well as Chelsea, makes their ascent to the top only a matter of time. If City do not win this season, they will continue to spend until they do. The same goes for PSG, both will win this decade.
Then, unless Uefa or the European Club Association can find some mettle, the door will finally close on new entrants. The European Super League may have died but its ghost will live on to haunt aspiring European clubs.
Can you name all 9 European clubs?
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