The all-English Champions League final between Manchester City and Chelsea highlights the power of the Premier League over the last decade.
Money can’t buy happiness — but it certainly can bring success in sports.
The Premier League has evolved into a global success after it was first launched in 1992. As a result, the old English First Division took on a flash and flair that helped it bring in lots of money over the past three decades, thanks in large part to the money generated from TV deals.
That allowed English clubs to make loads of money and buy up the world’s best players, becoming the world’s most-watched league on the planet. It’s come a long way since the 1980s when the league languished in popularity and criticized for its inability to curb fan violence.
There’s no doubt the Premier League is the most dominant
This month’s Champions League final between Manchester City and Chelsea, the third all-English championship match since 2008, is proof that the Premier League is the world’s dominant domestic competition. The league features the best teams in Europe, if not the world, and the May 29 game in Istanbul is a showcase of just that.
In 2008, Manchester United defeated Chelsea on penalty kicks, after the game ended 1-1 following extra time, to win the Champions League in the first all-EPL final ever contested. The second, played just two years ago, saw Liverpool down Tottenham 2-0.
It has been the last 13 years where the Premier League’s power has been seen most. Despite challenges from the Bundesliga in Germany and Spain’s La Liga, the Premier League has been able to attract the best managers and players. That has made them more competitive, even though Paris Saint-Germain and Juventus also have money and talent, but have been unable to capture the trophy.
The Premier League also has more competitive teams. Italy has had one (Juventus), Germany the same (Bayern Munich), while Spain has three (Real Madrid, Barcelona and Atletico Madrid). England, meanwhile, has six: Manchester City, Liverpool, Chelsea, Tottenham, Manchester United and Arsenal. That six could expand with Leicester City, West Ham and Everton should those sides make the Champions League next season.
It helps that wealthy owners have pumped millions into these teams. Manchester City and Chelsea have been beneficiaries of deep-pocketed billionaires. That means players like Riyad Mahrez, Phil Foden, Bernardo Silva and Kevin De Bruyne have been able to thrive at Man City. Chelsea, meanwhile, has Christian Pulisic, Mason Mount and Timo Werner leading the way as part of its own star-studded roster.
This should make for a wonderful final after Man City and Chelsea dominated the semifinals. While many finals are often dominated by defensive tactics and the fear of losing, expect these teams to play an offensive brand of soccer. It’s something we see most weekends in the Premier League.
As was noted in The Wall Street Journal, the English teams didn’t need the now-ill-fated Super League. Real Madrid and Juventus may have seen a need for one, but the English clubs are thriving. The proof of that is the money they have generated, the players signed and the success they’ve had in Europe over the last decade.