In perhaps a sad indictment about the state of modern football, 9 of the 10 richest clubs who began the Champions League have advanced to the last 16 of the tournament. Richest is defined by the amount of income clubs managed to make in 2014.
The one exception was Manchester United, who are ranked as the second richest team in Europe, but that did not help them this year and Louis van Gaal guided the Red Devils into the Europa League.
The takeaway is that despite Michel Platini’s best efforts to expand the Champions League to include more smaller teams, momey talks, and unless you have revenues of over £150m a year, the odds on you reaching the Champions League knockout stages are extremely small.
The exception this year is Gent, who started the Champions League as the fourth poorest participant, and yet they’ve progressed to the last 16 after finishing second in their group ahead of Valencia and Lyon.