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SBI European Club Top 25


Injuries keep stacking up, but nothing seems to slow Chelsea down.

Sure, CFR Cluj held the Blues to a draw in Champions League play two weeks ago, but Chelsea has bounced back in strong fashion and doesn’t look likely to give up its hold on first place in the English Premier League any time soon. It’s 5-0 thrashing of Middlesbrough.

Chelsea and Liverpool currently have strong holds on the top two spots in Europe right now and one team moving up to try and join them is Manchester United. The Red Devils have Cristiano Ronaldo back at full health and Wayne Rooney is enjoying an amazing run of form.

Alll three fill EPL powers are in the Top 10 of the SBI European Club Top 25, but La Liga still has the edge, with four teams in the Top 10.

One surprising team in the Top 25 is none other than EPL upstart Hull City. Sure, there are bigger clubs that you can argue should be ahead of Hull, but any team that can post a 5-1-2 record in the EPL deserves a ranking.

Now, without further ado, here is this week’s European Club Top 25:

European Club Top 25

1. CHELSEA (6-0-2 league record)

2. LIVERPOOL (6-0-2)

3. VILLARREAL (5-0-2)


5. BARCELONA (5-1-1)

6. REAL MADRID (5-1-1)

7. AC MILAN (4-2-1)

8. INTER MILAN (5-1-1)

9. SEVILLA (5-0-2)

10. VALENCIA (6-0-1)

  • 11. Arsenal (5-2-1)
  • 12. Napoli (4-1-2)
  • 13. Hamburg (5-1-2)
  • 14. Lyon (6-1-2)
  • 15. Udinese (4-2-1)
  • 16. Aston Villa (4-2-2)
  • 17. Marseille (5-0-4)
  • 18. CFR Cluj (5-2-4)
  • 19. Standard Liege (6-1-1)
  • 20. Lazio (4-2-1)
  • 21. FK Rubin Kazan (16-3-6)
  • 22. CSKA Moscow (13-4-8)
  • 23. Bordeaux (5-2-2)
  • 24. Hull City (5-1-2)
  • 25. Olympiakos (5-0-1)
  • Others Receiving Consideration: Benfica (2-0-3), FC Porto (3-0-2), Bayer Leverkusen (5-3), Besiktas (5-0-2), Sporting Lisbon (3-2), TSG Hoffenheim (5-2-1), Bayern Munich (3-2-3), Borussia Dortmund (3-1-4), NAC Breda (5-1), Zenit St. Petersburg (10-6-8), Werder Bremen (3-2-3), Schalke 04 (3-1-4), Atletico Madrid (3-4), Juventus (2-2-3).

    I will re-run the Top 25 later in the week with the upcoming schedules for the Top 25 teams so keep an eye out for that. Also look for Champions League previews later tonight and on Tuesday.

    What do you think of the Top 25? What teams have surprised you? What teams are disappointing you the most?

    Share your thoughts below.


    1. Haha, quite the if… While I’m behind Celtic, and want them to win more than anything… I don’t think we’ll see them next week. I’d be more than happy with a point.

    2. Yeah, it’s true that the SPL’s coefficent sucks, and is going to get worse with Rangers being as crappy as they are, that doesn’t mean that Celtic’s not a good team. The SPL is very much a known quantity. We know that Rangers and Celtic are going to battle for the crown, with the rest just playing around. For me, I don’t know how good Romanian football is, in general. I realize I’m very much the amateur commentator, but…

      So I’m just being a Celtic homer, okay?

      Just be ready to list Celtic after they beat Man U at old trafford today. =P

    3. I don’t understand how you come up with these rankings. I agree mostly, but I don’t get how Valencia is ranked below Sevilla, Barça, and Madrid, but is ahead of all of them in La Liga? Also, I don’t get why Inter has a better record than Milan, but is ranked below them?

      Also, I’d like to see a world club ranking, top fifty maybe. It’d be cool to see statistically how clubs like Boca Juniors stack up against European clubs, as well as seeing if any MLS clubs made it in.

    4. If I was to compile this list it becomes immediately clear that Chelsea and Internazionale are on a collision course somewhere in the Champions League because they have the most complete teams out there right now. And this is coming from a diehard Rossoneri-lover. Liverpool has lost something at the back – an aging Carragher plus a killer injury blow to Skrtel – and all of these late game heroics will soon become a live-by-the-sword, die-by-the-sword byline real soon. ManYoo is certainly heating up like they always do in October and AC Milan are evolving into what seems the team that nobody wants to tangle with. But there are two very important pieces that cannot be ignored – Chelsea’s midfield combinations are only rivaled by Milan and Barcelona, and no team has as deep an attack as Inter has at the present time. ManYoo will boast four attacking giants, as they should, but pairing Adriano with Zlatan with a host of supporting options and the best attacking right back in football (Maicon) makes this Inter team very very dangerous. I would rank the top ten like this.

      1. Chelsea

      2. Inter

      3. Villareal

      4. Manchester United

      5. AC Milan

      6. Barcelona

      7. Real Madrid

      8. Liverpool

      9. Valencia

      10. Sevilla


    5. mikeK – The rise of the Romanian League has been one of the stories in European football over the past few years. That followers of British football are completely unaware of this speaks to their near complete ignorance of football outside the British Isles, not to the quality of the Romanian League. Kudos to Ives for being aware of such things.

    6. Ives, I suppose I’m a bit of a Milan hater…but I can’t argue with them in the top 10 although the two losses tell me they are simply not that good. However, it will be fun to keep bantering over their fortunes this season. I think they finish 4th or 5th in the league. Then again, they will probably win the UEFA Cup.

      Love them rankings discussions.

      As a 20-year-long Chelsea fan, it’s nice not hearing any stick about their being #1.


    7. come on Hull isnt even in the top 50. look at their line up whose heard of anyone. Bayern, Juve, alteico, Zenit, Porto, and Benifica, etc… would beat them by two goals 10 out of 10 times. thats just crazy.

    8. Doug, you can’t just go by domestic record alone when ranking teams this early in the year. Not when some teams have had tougher schedules than others and some teams are playing in top European competition when others aren’t. This is why actually following the European leagues closely rather than glancing standings is the best way to know how teams stack up.

      I happen to like Valencia, but you tell me the toughest opponent Valencia has had so far this season. The answer? Almeria, which Valencia only tied. The second-best opponent? Try Malaga. See, if you really knew Valencia’s track record you would know that Valencia has yet to beat a winning team this year.

      Sevilla has only beaten one winning team (Almeria) but owns good wins against Atletico Madrid and Espanyol. That’s why they’re nine and Valencia’s 10.

      Barcelona, Real Madrid and Villarreal are better teams and are off to good Champions League starts so there’s no real need to explain why they’re ahead of Valencia.

      That clear enough?

    9. Hoffentlich, Hamburg is top of the Bundesliga. Hoffenheim is second. Also, Hoffenheim doesn’t have a top-notch win among their five (Beating Dortmund is a good win, not a top-notch win). In fact, they’ve lost the two tough match-ups they’ve had (Werder Bremen and Bayer Leverkusen).

      Hoffenheim definitely has one of the best attacks around, but they’re not quite ready for the Top 25. Now, if they beat Hamburg on Sunday, that’ll be a different story.

    10. Mike K, my man, I appreciate your input. Now let me offer up my explanation.

      First off, Cluj plays in the Romanian league, which last time I checked has a higher ranking in the UEFA co-efficient (7th) than Scotland (10th). While Scotland has, well, Celtic and Rangers (which tumbled out of Europe a while ago), the Romanian league boasts Cluj, both Dinamo and Steaua Bucharest, as well as Rapid Bucharest. Cluj isn’t in first place in Romania but they are the defending champion and just beat first-place Dynamo Bucharest last weekend.

      Now, about the Cluj “hanging with” Chelsea thing. Cluj tied Chelsea. They matched them in the first half, attacking as much, if not more than Chelsea. The second half was a defensive struggle, with Cluj settling for the point.

      What you either forgot or were oblivious to is Cluj’s 2-1 Champions League win on the road against Roma. Now, I know Roma is struggling this year but winning in Rome is still an accomplishment. Being tied for first place in a Champions League group after two games certainly is.

      Now, you can certainly make an argument for why I don’t even have Celtic in the Others Receiving Consideration, which is fair. Trying to use Cluj’s ranking as an argument for Celtic is off base.

    11. How is Valencia lower than all Spanish teams. They’re top of the league. Do you give European competition that much weight? Keep it real, on current form, they are the clear number 3 team in the world. Other than that I cant see too mch wrong

    12. A lot of teams have to be getting a bit worried about ManU hitting stride – because they’re doing it without Carrick, Hargreaves, and Scholes. That’s a helluva trio to be out, and most teams wouldn’t survive that hit.

      Also, the right side was considered the weak link at United, but with Rafael da Silva now opening everyone’s eyes, it looks to be shoring up.

      Also, it’d be extremely hard to argue against Wayne Rooney as the current “best player in the world”. The only person who can challenge that (and quite possibly is even more “in-form”) is Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

    13. Yeah Hull will last maybe a couple of weeks up there. I guess get them in while you can.

      You left out St. Pauli, haha.

      More seriously, you left out Celtic. I mean, I don’t understand… You rank CFR Cluj in the top 15, and where are they from again? And you snub the Scottish league?

      I know, I hear the argument, they hung with Chelsea, but… Basing the rankings on 1 result, to me doesn’t make sense. Sure, Celtic may not have marched into Villareal and stolen a point, but does that mean that their form in the SPL is warrantless? One then perhaps argue that the SPL is weak, but how weak is it compared to CFR’s?

      I think a better description of this list is the hot 25.

    14. i agree ives, i think sometimes people have to ‘rant’ as you said rather then disagree amicably..

      i personally like your rankings. chelsea is rampant… and hull in third after this many weeks is very nice and deserve a shout out

    15. I do not believe it should happen, but what would it take for an MLS team to even be considered for a world top 25?

      Posted by: Unoriginal Aaron | October 20, 2008 at 06:57 PM


      I suppose beating Joe Public would help, for starters.

    16. Ives, I think you made an error. There are actually 5 La Liga teams in the top 19, correct? Villareal, Barca, Real, Sevilla and Valencia.

    17. Guy, it’s not a week-to-week heat check. Not sure what the point would be of a ranking like that. The Top 25 is a ranking based on the season to date, with more recent form carrying some more weight. That’s why Milan is ranked highly despite two domestic losses to start the season. That said, you can’t just ignore the fact that they have those losses, at least not until some other teams start losing.

      In the end, it’s just nice to see Milan looking so dangerous after I ranked them very high in pre-season (which led to some mocking from Milan haters).

    18. How many years until an MLS team breaks the SBI Top 25?

      Milan should be 2nd or 3rd. They are quickly becoming cohesive and the’re dangerous. The record reflects the new faces at the beginning of the season but I thought it was this week’s Top 25.

    19. Nice work. Can’t really argue. Napoli keeps rising. The did the job on Juve last Sunday. Milan however will be the team to beat if Ronaldinho can keep it together.

    20. Michael F, I have Milan ahead of Sevilla because Milan has two very impressive wins (Inter Milan, Lazio) while Sevilla has just one impressive win (if you still want to count a 1-0 win against four-loss Atletico Madrid impressive.

      Milan hasn’t lost since Kaka came back and, let’s face it, the Inter Milan win is a big mark in their favor.

      I like Sevilla and look forward to them facing the other La Liga powers. For now, they stay where they are.

    21. props to see hull city getting some love. seems like most people just wanna see the same clubs again and again but i think hull city has been one of the best stories this season in soccer and its refreshing to see a club be promoted and dominate – its a true underdog story.

    22. Hey folks, nothing wrong with disagreements. That’s what the poll is for, to spark discussion. All I will ask is for people to disagree rather than ranting about how crazy I am for having some team ranked or not having some other team ranked. There is no such thing as a perfect ranking, or even a truly correct ranking.

      These rankings aren’t perfect, but I have put time into them and my own preferences and opinions play a big part. I want the poll to help the casual European league fans get a sense of how teams are doing, while also creating a conversation piece for the die-hard fans who do follow European soccer closely.

    23. TMK, considering it’s called European club top 25, i’ll say more than 15 years… Depends on what Garber’s expansion plans are like I guess…

    24. Like your list a lot Ives, But why is AC Milan ahead of Sevilla?

      Also, why isn’t Hull City ranked higher? They earned the points.

    25. Well, hopefully we can still argue, what would be the fun otherwise?

      The other thing I realized was what bad shape Dutch club soccer is in these days. With PSV sitting in 4th and on the wrong side of a 6-1 goal differential in CL play, and the 3 teams above them not even playing UEFA Cup, it’s hard to make an argument for anyone there. Maybe FIFA is right and the Greek, Romanian, and Russian leagues are all better.

    26. Hey if you don’t agree with Ives and have such a problem with Hull being 24th, then go and form your own blog/website and put in as much work as our good man Ives does.

      as for me I’m ordering my new Hull jersey…okay maybe not

    27. 24th place isn’t outrageously high, and they’ve got a real scalp in Arsenal (on the road no less). Put it this way, a lot of teams wouldn’t want to play Hull right now. With a lot of big teams off to so-so starts, it’s fair to credit results.

    28. Max,

      Based on their current form and results, i would most certainly give them the nod. Now, if you put al these teams in a tourney, would Hull have a shot? probably not but this isn’t a be all end all, its their current form, and they’ve been playing some excellent football as of late. I see no problem, just like Appalachain State should have been ranked after beating Michigan in football.

    29. hey ives,

      i think your getting alittle ahead of yourself with hull city, they dont even play in any european tournaments!

      wheres fiorentina?

      they just had a 3 – 0 win over reggina

      gilardino is on fire

    30. Max, rankings aren’t based on what teams should do. They’re based on what teams actually do. Otherwise, I’m pretty sure Bayern Munich, Juventus and Atletico Madrid would be in the Top 25. Hull doesn’t boast the star power or talent of teams below them in the rankings, but they’re 5-1-2, in third place in the EPL. That merits a ranking, regardless of what you may think of them.

    31. I agree with giving Hull a 24th spot. They are on a fantasical run right now! and even though it might end at some point, they deserve to get the nod right now!!

      Go Hull!!


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