Barcelona and Atlético Madrid’s departure from the Champions League means FIVE clubs from the ill-fated European Super League will NOT feature in the last 16… with Rio Ferdinand claiming Barca is ‘in disarray’ after being hit by ‘karma’ Barcelona and Atletico Madrid dumped from the group stage on Wednesday Juventus also failed to make it into the Champions League last-16 after losing to Benfica Manchester United and Arsenal failed to qualify for the competition this season. It could become seven with Spurs and AC Milan too not sure to qualify
Five of the clubs that have signed up for the ill-fated European Super League will not feature in the Champions League’s last 16 in the latest embarrassment to the struggling project.
Barcelona and Atletico Madrid were dumped from the group stage on Wednesday evening, joining Juventus, who were also eliminated on match day five after a defeat at Benfica.
That means at least five of the original 12 clubs that signed up for the ESL project will not make it to the advanced stages of the Champions League, with Arsenal and Manchester United not qualifying.
Barcelona were dumped from the group stage of the Champions League on Wednesday evening
It could even rise to seven by the end of the group stage, with Tottenham Hotspur and AC Milan also far from certain to continue.
The seven, along with Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City, Real Madrid and Inter Milan, were part of an original dirty dozen that controversially threatened to break with their domestic league and UEFA in the summer of 2020 to set up a brand new league.
However, massive fan protests among Premier League clubs led to the English teams withdrawing almost immediately, followed by Atletico Madrid and both clubs from Milan.
Fellow Spanish Atlético Madrid also joined them in a shocking early exit from the tournament
Big hitters Juventus were also knocked out of the Champions League on Tuesday evening
Real Madrid, Barca and Juventus have yet to give up the project.
Rio Ferdinand believes part of the reason for the first breakout was that clubs wanted to avoid the situation that has developed this season, in which many major sides have unexpectedly fallen at the first hurdle in Europe.
“It definitely scares them,” Ferdinand told BT Sport. “It’s hard for them and they’re losing it. They don’t want any danger at all.
‘They want that guarantee of a certain financial muscle strength by staying constantly in the competition. No relegations or not going out and going to another tournament or going out altogether. Karma always plays a role at some point.’
At least five of the teams that signed up for the controversial European Super League are now out of the Champions League’s last 16
Tottenham’s progression to the last 16 is also far from certain, further embarrassing the ill-fated project.
Failing to make the last 16 seems to have had a major impact on Spain’s Barcelona, who with fragile finances could hardly afford not to make it to the final stages of the Champions League as part of their budget.
Former Liverpool and Spurs striker Peter Crouch added: “It’s a huge problem for Barcelona. They have used money for TV rights to buy big players and they didn’t expect to come out before the knockout stage, so this could be a huge blow to them financially.
Ferdinand added his thoughts to Barca, saying: “In disarray, the club is not too good everywhere off the pitch, including on the pitch.”
Share or comment on this article: