From the editor
Since Porto won in 2004, nine of the 14 Champions League Finals have been won by Real Madrid or Barcelona
Another season of European club football and the distortion of the game by money is stronger than ever. While oil-rich Azerbaijan hosts the 2019 Europa League Final, it is hard to envisage a club from outside of the big five leagues celebrating a Champions League victory in Madrid’s Metropolitano stadium on June 1 next year. A handful of elite clubs now dominate the European club landscape to such an extent that if a new name is to be added to the pantheon of winners, it is likely to be that of Paris Saint-Germain or Manchester City.
Since Porto won in 2004, nine of the 14 subsequent Champions League Finals have been won by Real Madrid or Barcelona.
This season, changes to the qualifying format mean only 15 different countries are represented among the 32 group-stage teams, compared to 17 in each of the previous three seasons. Clubs from England, France, Germany, Italy and Spain did not have to endure the inconvenience of going through the qualifying rounds. But their dominance of the Champions League raises expectations that the Europa League might provide a stronger competition this year.
We live in hope. Gavin Hamilton, Editor