We’re slap bang in the middle of the most exciting time in the football calendar: the Champions League Round of 16. The ides of Feb’ sees the European elite (and Celtic) square off in the first, meaningful heavyweight clashes of the world’s most prestigious tournament in all of sportsdom.
Like the English Premier League, Uefa’s modern incarnation of its top competition was born in 1992, partly in order to stave off a European super league threatened by the biggest clubs. The last twenty years has seen a consolidation of success amongst the ‘major’ leagues of Spain, England, Germany and Italy.
One only needs to look at the last European Cup winners, Red Star Belgrade, to see that times have changed dramatically since the tournament adopted a group stage and, most importantly, beckoned in unparalleled riches for the competing clubs able to build on the advantage of their large domestic TV rights deals.
But which clubs have been the most successful in the modern era? And how dominant have the big four countries been?
If you award 1 point for group stage participation, 1.5 points for competing in the now defunct second group stage, 2 points for round of 16 elimination, 3 points for exiting at the QF stage, 4 for SF, 5 for runners-up and 6 for being crowned champions, the following 20 team league table from 1992-93 to 2011-12 can be drawn up:
*Marseille’s 1992-93 title was tainted by their match-fixing scandal under Bernard Tapie, yet still stands in the record books.
Crunching the numbers for all national representatives provides the following results:
|Rank||Country||No. of clubs||Total points|
With four teams left in the last 16 to England’s two, Spain is set to stretch its lead at the top of the rankings this season.