time for european football – part one

the preliminary round is done with, the group phases will begin next week. some interesting groups have been drawn, and traditional teams will play some newly rich, unknowns will play famous sides, new stars will be born and olders will become legendary.

özil will have to prove himself at real madrid.

i will organize the uefa europa league groups and the uefa champions league groups based on the current rankings (considering the last four seasons in europe) and their historical rankings (since 1955). using simple maths, i will determine the toughest group. just a quick way to create an overview of this year’s competitors.

cl = champions league, el = europa league, (historical rank/current rank)

cl group g:

a star at the world cup, how will it go for "prince" at milan.

ac milan (5/8), real madrid (1/16), ajax amsterdam (10/48), aj auxerre (86/122);

you could argue that real hasn’t been in the quarterfinals for six years, ajax is not what they used to be; but this group has three of the best 10 clubs in history, which makes it the strongest group of all. milan has the best record in the last few years, and they just got prince boateng, zlatan and robinho to add to pato and ronaldinho… but real madrid, still without kaka but with higuain, cristiano ronaldo, özil, xabi alonso, khedira and casillas, are almost considered favorites. let’s see how josé mourinho’s and ibra’s rendezvous ends. ajax has luiz suarez, uruguaian world cup hero. this is the toughest group of this european semester.

here are the other groups, with their main stars:

cl group c:

nani might be a star this season, for manchester

manchester united (9/1), valencia fc (20/23), glasgow rangers (17/25), bursaspor (319/171) – not an easy group for the english giants, but they should go through. valencia are favorites for the second spot, but i think bursaspor will challenge them more than the rangers.

manu stars: van der sar (ned), evra (fra), ferdinand (eng), owen (eng), berbatov (bul), rooney (eng), giggs (wal), park (kor), hernandéz (mex), vidic (srb), nani (por), scholes (eng)

others: navarro (spa, val), j. sánchez (spa, val), soldado (spa, val), mata (spa, val), r. costa (por, val),  weiss (slk, ran), insúa (arg, bur), erdogan (tur, bur)

cl group f:

ramires showed promise in the world cup and should do well for chelsea.

chelsea fc (22/4), olympique marseille (29/28), spartak moscow (36/51), msk zilina (267/107) – chelsea is through, marseille will battle it out with spartak; i think the russians will go through.

chelsea stars: cech (cze), ivanovic (srb), cole (eng), essien (gha), ramires (bra), lampard (eng), benayoun (isr), drogba (ivo), mikel (nig), malouda (fra), zhirkov (rus), ferreira (por), kalou (ivo), terry (eng), anelka (fra)

others: l. gonzález (arg, mar), a. ayew (gha, mar), heinze (arg, mar), mandanda (fra, mar), ibson (bra, mos), saenko (rus, mos)

cl group a:

maicon is still one of the best players in the world.

internazionale (7/6), werder bremen (33/9), tottenham hotspur (34/35), twente enschede (100/68) – the defending champ, a current top ten club from germany, the strong brits – and the current dutch champions. this is tough, and even inter has to be careful. hotspurs, werder and inter should battle it out, enschede might decide it by taking points away.

inter stars: césar (bra), zanetti (arg), stankovic (srb), lucio (bra), eto’o (cam), sneijder (ned), muntari (gha), maicon (bra), cambiasso (arg), d.milito (arg), samuel (arg)

others: wiese (ger, bre), naldo (bra, bre), wesley (bra, bre), arnautovic (aut, bre), marin (ger, bre), hunt (ger, bre), silvestre (fra, bre), frings (ger, bre), almeida (por, bre), pizarro (per, bre), mertesacker (ger, bre), gomes (bra, tot), bale (wal, tot), lennon (eng, tot), jenas (eng, tot), pavlyuchenko (rus, tot), keane (irl, tot), van der vaart (ned, tot), gallas (fra, tot), modric (srb, tot), crouch (eng, tot), dos santos (mex, tot), defoe (eng, tot), landzaat (ned, twe), ruiz (cor, twe)

those were the first four of 20 groups, this series will have three more parts. stay tuned.