Real Madrid might have won a 13th European Cup but they have been overtaken by rivals and La Liga victors Barcelona as the continent’s top club, according to new data.
In a Euro Club Index compiled by sports data company Gracenote, Liverpool – who were beaten by Real in Saturday’s Champions League final – move up eight places to 11th.
Premier League champions Manchester City are England’s highest ranked side at number three, with Tottenham in ninth and Manchester United 10th.
The rankings are produced from results over the past four seasons, but the most recent campaign carries a weight of about two-thirds.
Chelsea dropped five places to 12 after the defence of their Premier League title ended with them finishing fifth, although they did win the FA Cup.
Arsenal were sixth in the Premier League and dropped from 11th to 15th – sandwiched between Sevilla and Shakhtar Donetsk.
Huddersfield Town were the biggest movers after achieving top-flight safety as they moved up from 232nd to 171st, while Burnley, who will be playing in next season’s Europa League after finishing seventh, rose from 116th to 68th.
The biggest decline came from Stoke City as their relegation to the Championship saw them go from 83rd to 115th.
How does it work?
– Teams collect or lose points depending on the result of each match, both domestically – including cup competitions – and in Europe, but the amount of points depends on the gulf between the two sides.
– For example, a home Chelsea win against Sunderland is worth very few points, in contrast to a Crystal Palace win at Stamford Bridge.
– There is an extra bonus for an entire league if one of its clubs performs well in Europe.
Premier League catching La Liga
The top 100 of Gracenote’s Euro Club Index contains clubs from 20 different countries.
“La Liga and the Bundesliga still have more clubs in the top 100 than the Premier League,” said head of analysis at Gracenote Simon Gleave.
“But an analysis of the best 18 clubs in each league reveals that the Premier League has overtaken the Bundesliga in terms of the average quality of those 18 clubs.
“La Liga is still the strongest with an average Euro Club Index rating of 2,906 for its clubs (down from 2,925 last season) but the Premier League is now second (2,807 up from 2,770) with the Bundesliga third (2,695 down from 2,798).
“With such a drop in quality within the Bundesliga, Serie A may be able to overtake the German competition next season.”
Barcelona won La Liga by 14 points, as well as the Copa del Rey, this season, while Real were third in the league – 17 points behind their great rivals – although they claimed a third Champions League in succession.
The two clubs have dominated the Spanish top-flight along with Atletico Madrid but it seems the gap between them and the rest could be narrowing.
“La Liga’s quality remains high, despite a drop in Euro Club Index ratings for all of the competition’s best four clubs – FC Barcelona, Real Madrid, Atletico Madrid and Sevilla,” added Gleave.
“This indicates that the general standard of the next best 14 clubs has risen which can only be good for the league.”