Platini placated as English sides bow out?
Michel Platini will no doubt be feeling a bit happier today.
Ever since he was elected to the Uefa presidency three years ago, the Frenchman has been growing increasingly anxious about England's domination of European club football.
Not any more. The worry lines will be disappearing from Platini's brow quicker than it takes Wayne Rooney to recover from a dodgy ankle.
In fact, Barcelona's Champions League final triumph over Manchester United last year is increasingly looking like the moment when the balance of power shifted back to the continent.
Not since 2003 has an English side failed to make the last four - a staggering fact that demonstrates not only how powerful the Premier League had become but how the strength of the Spanish and Italian clubs had waned.
But if Platini's new financial fair play regulations - due to come into force from 2012 - were ultimately aimed at English clubs, then next month's vote by their executive committee might as well be scrapped. England's big four have already delivered on his egalitarian vision for European club football.
Platini should be pleased that England's European dominance could be at an end
Although Sir Alex Ferguson claimed the Premier League is still the best in the world in the immediate aftermath of Wednesday's exit against Bayern Munich, Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger was perhaps closer to the mark.
Here he is following Lionel Messi's masterclass at the Nou Camp on Tuesday evening. "You have more teams in Europe now who can compete with England, that is for sure. That was not the case two or three years ago. Real Madrid will not stay out of Europe forever. Inter Milan are coming up. One French team is in the semi-finals of the Champions League. There is more competition."
But it can't just be because Europe's grand old clubs have improved. English teams have also got weaker thanks mainly to a reduction in the amount of money they have been spending on players. They may have still spent way more than their main European rivals last summer but English clubs actually reduced their transfer spending by almost a third on the previous year - from £692m to £482m.
By way of contrast, Spain, Italy, France and Germany increased their spending on players in the summer of 2009. Spain and France doubled their expenditure while the Bundesliga's transfer outlay went up almost five fold.
And it can't be a coincidence that England's biggest spenders in 2009 - Tottenham and Manchester City - are both vying for the fourth Champions League place for next season's competition. One can only wonder whether City may fare better in Europe next season with Sheikh Mansour's vast wealth behind them.
But, as English club football gets ready for its first major European inquest for years, one man connected to the game here will have been privately pleased at the premature demise of United and Arsenal.
Another all England Champions League final is the last thing Fabio Capello would have wanted just 12 days before his squad fly to South Africa for the World Cup. Perhaps the omens for English football are not so gloomy after all.