European Super League: Who would win its hypothetical first season?

Messi, Sterling, Lewandowski, Ronaldo
Reports say 16 clubs would be involved in the competition

A European Super League.

German news magazine Der Spiegel claims it has proof that seven of Europe's biggest clubs held secret talks about forming a new breakaway competition.

Der Spiegel says leaked documents it obtained from whistleblowers show a start date of 2021 was discussed, and clubs involved would leave their national leagues and football associations to join it.

A senior UK government source told the BBC any such competition would harm the culture of English football.

And the Football Supporters' Federation believes its "primary interest is making as much money as possible, without any consultation with fans".

But for the sake of argument let's ask:

If it were starting tomorrow, who would be crowned champions?

How it would work:

Plans for the competition reportedly involved 16 clubs. Eleven would be founding members and five invited guests.

The 11 founding clubs would not face relegation and would be guaranteed membership for 20 years.

They were said to be:

Manchester United, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City, Arsenal, Real Madrid, Barcelona, Bayern Munich, Juventus, AC Milan and Paris St-Germain.

The guest clubs for a proposed first season were said to be:

Atletico Madrid, Borussia Dortmund, Inter Milan, Roma and Marseille.

The 16 teams would be divided into four groups of four. The top two of each group would go through to the quarter-finals.

According to sports data analysts Gracenote, Barcelona would be the first season's most likely winners, followed by Juventus.

The table below shows each team's probability of progress - with an explanation further down.

Bayern Munich88.2%49.8%13.5%12.3%
Manchester City65.2%37.3%10.4%9%
Paris St-Germain84.5%42.2%11%8.8%
Real Madrid74.5%37.5%9.8%7.5%
Atletico Madrid67.1%31.3%7.4%5.2%
Borussia Dortmund32.8%10.7%2.3%0.7%
Manchester United33.2%9.3%2%0.7%
Inter Milan23.6%5.2%0.8%0.2%
AC Milan10.2%1.8%0.3%0%

How did they work it out?

Simon Gleave, head of sports analysis at Gracenoteexternal-link

Using the current Euro Club Indexexternal-link ratings but adjusting them based on whether the club is on an upward or downward trend, we can simulate a potential European Super League with the teams and format suggested in last week's reporting of the possibility. These are the results of a million simulations after drawing the teams into the initial four groups.

As the win percentages show, a competition involving these 16 clubs would involve at least seven teams who are currently nowhere near as strong as the rest. Arsenal, Borussia Dortmund, Manchester United, Roma, Inter Milan, AC Milan and Marseille all look a fair bit behind the others currently.

Currently ranked eighth on the Euro Club Index, Napoli were not among the 16 potential European Super League teams but their quality absolutely justifies their presence in such a competition as they have shown so far in Liverpool's Champions League group.

Barcelona would be the most likely winner of a European Super League were it to begin tomorrow, followed by Juventus, Bayern Munich and Manchester City. There would be around a 71% chance of the winners coming from that quartet.


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