Without a shadow of a doubt, the Champions League is the greatest club competition on the planet. 32 of Europe’s biggest teams compete over the course of the campaign in a bid to lift football’s most prestigious accolade.
But it isn’t just about the history and heritage of the European Cup these days, the money available for winning the competition is colossal. In fact, clubs can make a small killing simply by competing in the group stages.
England’s biggest clubs place great emphasis on qualifying for the Champions League – and with good reason. The best players in the world want to play at Europe’s top table so it is also vital for positive transfer activity.
With the Premier League’s “big six” vying to finish in the Champions League spots, fixtures between these clubs are becoming more important than ever before. In 2017/18, Arsenal and Chelsea missed out at the expense of the two Manchester clubs, Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur.
In some of the smaller European nations, the lure of competing at the top level is arguably even greater than it is in England. Premier League television rights are enough to keep most clubs in a sound financial state but a number of Europe’s “lesser” domestic divisions are not so lucky.
Take the Greek Super League for example. Olympiakos have featured regularly in Europe for the best part of a decade but that has helped to encourage an era of domestic dominance – they have won the Greek title in 19 of the past 22 seasons.
You can hardly blame the British clubs for prioritising a top-four finish over success in one of the cup competitions either. Chelsea received £3.4 million for winning last season’s FA Cup compared to £42.1 million to Real Madrid for winning the Champions League.
According to a recent article published by Verdict.co.uk, English clubs who qualify for Europe’s elite club competition received more than three times the FA Cup prize money simply for making the group stages.
— Mirror Football (@MirrorFootball) September 11, 2018
Manchester City, one of the richest football clubs on the planet, are well fancied to prevail this season and Pep Guardiola’s men could be set to scoop that £42.1 million prize fund.
As of September 18th, City are 5/1 with various bookmakers according to Oddschecker and it wouldn’t be a huge surprise to see the Blues lift the famous trophy for the first time. The financial incentive of winning what is easily the biggest competition in the sport may spur City on in the coming months.
Modern football is all about making money – clubs are now treated like businesses rather than simply somewhere to go and watch a game of football at the weekend.
With the amount of money on offer for competing at the top level of European football increasing on a yearly basis, the race to finish in the Premier League top four is only going to get more competitive. Watch this space, it could be a fiery battle for supremacy in England’s main domestic league this campaign.