Top Stories

SBI European Club Top 25

Barcelona (AP)

Admit it, you are tired of Barcelona. Tired of watching them beat up on teams that are supposed to be some of the best in Europe. Sevilla? Battered. Valencia? Smoked. You name them and Barca has probably smacked them around recently (save for Getafe, which is giving everybody trouble lately). Okay, so maybe you aren't tired of watching some of the most beautifully-played soccer seen in a long time, but you must admit it is getting a bit monotonous seeing the No. 1 team in the SBI European Club Top 25 tear teams to shreds.

Real Madrid stands poised to be the next victim of a beatdown so inevitable that Real Madrid fired its coach BEFORE the match to get it out of the way. Juande Ramos is a good manager, but he will need some serious magic to help an injury-ravaged Real Madrid side have any chance against Barcelona.

Just who will stop Barcelona? Don't look now but there is a new force emerging from some early-season ashes. None other than Atletico Madrid, a team that suffered through a four-match winless streak that included a 6-1 hammering by Barcelona. Atletico has gotten through that rough patch and has now gone ten matches without a loss, including a pair of well-played Champions League ties vs. Liverpool. That run has been enough to help Atletico Madrid climb back into the SBI European Club Top 10 after completely falling out of the Top 25 just a month ago.

Who else has moved up the charts? Bayern Munich moved up after beating a game TSG Hoffenheim side, while Inter Milan has also crept closer to the top spot with a recent run of strong form in Serie A.

Here is how this week's SBI European Club Top 25 shakes out:

SBI European Club Top 25

1. BARCELONA (11-1-2 league record). Last week– beat Valencia, 4-0, on Saturday. This week– vs. Shakhtar Donetsk on Tuesday (UCL), vs. Real Madrid on Saturday.

2. LIVERPOOL (11-1-4). Last week– Beat Blackburn, 3-1, on Saturday. This week– at PSV Eindhoven on Tuesday (UCL), vs. Hull City on Saturday.

3. INTER MILAN (11-1-3). Last week– Beat Lazio, 3-0, on Saturday. This week– at Werder Bremen on Tuesday (UCL), vs. Chievo Verona on Sunday.

4. CHELSEA (11-2-3). Last week– Beat Bolton, 2-0, on Saturday. This week– at CFR Cluj Napoca on Tuesday (UCL), vs. West Ham United on Sunday.

5. MANCHESTER UNITED (9-2-4). Last week– Beat Sunderland, 1-0, on Saturday. This week– vs. AaB on Wednesday, at Tottenham on Saturday.

6. VILLARREAL (8-1-5). Last week- Tied Getafe, 3-3, on Saturday. This week– at Celtic on Wednesday (UCL), at Sevilla on Sunday.

7. BAYERN MUNICH (10-2-4). Last week– Beat TSG Hoffenheim, 2-1, last Friday. This week– at Lyon on Wednesday (UCL), at VFB Stuttgart on Saturday.

8. JUVENTUS (9-3-3). Last week– Beat Lecce, 2-1, on Sunday. This week– vs. BATE Borisov on Wednesday (UCL), vs. AC Milan on Sunday.

9. AC MILAN (9-3-3). Last week– Beat Catania, 1-0, on Sunday. This week– at Juventus on Sunday.

10. ATLETICO MADRID (7-4-3). Last week- Beat Sporting Gijon, 5-2. This week- at Marseille on Tuesday (UCL), vs. Real Betis on Sunday.

  • 11. TSG Hoffenheim (10-4-1)
  • 12. Napoli (8-4-3)
  • 13. Sevilla (8-3-3)
  • 14. Arsenal (9-5-2)
  • 15. Lyon (10-3-4)
  • 16. Real Madrid (8-4-2)
  • 17. Aston Villa (8-4-4)
  • 18. Valencia (8-3-3)
  • 19. Bordeaux (8-4-5)
  • 20. Standard Liege (8-3-4)
  • 21. Fiorentina (8-5-2)
  • 22. Olympiakos (10-1-2)
  • 23. Ajax Amsterdam (9-3-2)
  • 24. Bayer Leverkusen (10-5-1)
  • 25. CSKA Moscow (16-6-8)

OTHERS RECEIVING CONSIDERATION:  AZ Alkmaar (10-2-2), Dinamo Kiev (14-2-1), Marseille (8-2-7), Hamburg (9-4-3), AS Roma (6-6-2), Benfica (7-0-4), Sporting Lisbon (7-3-1), Stade Rennes (7-1-9), Anorthosis Famagusta (9-2-1), Panathanaikos (6-2-5), FC Porto (6-2-2), FC Metalist Kharkiv (11-2-4).

What do you think of the rankings? Which match-up of ranked teams are you looking most forward to? Which team do you think deserved a much higher ranking?

Share your thoughts on the rankings in the comments section below.


  1. Ives, agree with you on Villa. Inconsistent. Brilliant attacking with Sidwell dominating the midfield lots of the time but then they just fade away and play very average ball. It will be very interesting to see who they pick up in January. A top striker could really do it for them. I really like what O’Neill is doing with this squad.

  2. Gattuso tore his ACL this weekend. AC Milan will struggle in a tough Serie A without him. Goldenballs might make up for some of the cards he racks up, but not the critical tough defensive work.

  3. Lyon qualified for the Round of 16. Rennes is in no euro comp. That would give Lyon the edge….

    Posted by: anon_e_moose | December 09, 2008

    at 12:45 PM

    I’m aware of this and that’s even more of a reason for them to be ranked alot lower if not dropped. Losing to a team in 16th place and drawing with the team in 19th doesn’t give them much of a leg to stand on and they’re a loaded team.

    My favorite comment in a long time:

    “but they are solid defensively (this next part is the part I love) and not in a boring way” by Al17 describing Rennes. Classic!

    Posted by: Travis in Miami | December 09, 2008 at 12:54 PM

    I must be missing the joke. Bottomline is that they’re a good team and not a bore to watch. It’s not like classic Catenaccio from a few years ago.

  4. I think Simon B has a compelling point. AZ is above them in the table and beat them. Ajax is in the UEFA Cup, but two wins/one loss doesn’t put them above AZ. Ranking them above them based on that would be basing this years rankings on last years results.

  5. A Top-25 without a Scottish team even getting a mention is a beautiful thing. The pain of watching that crap in European competition is almost over for another year…it’s like an entire league of Boltons.


  6. Okay folks, here are some points to go over that have been raised:

    The rankings are NOT a heat check, they’re not based purely on whose had the better past month. It’s the overall season, with extra weight being added by recent form as well as being in European competition.

    With that in mind:

    Liverpool ahead of Inter is a toss-up. I’d probably go with Inter half the time, but the Panathanaikos loss stuck out in my mind, moreso than Liverpool’s pair of recent draws.

    Al17, you’re my boy, but come on, domestic form over the past few weeks isn’t the sole measure for the ranking. Lyon is STILL in first place in Ligue 1 and STILL remain unbeaten in a Champions League group with Bayern Munich and Fiorentina.

    And Al, I watched Rennes-PSG, very good game. Rennes impressed me, which is why I have them on the radar screen despite the fact that they have NINE ties out of 17 domestic matches. I realize that Lyon is in a rut, and injuries are an issue, but you don’t go from Top 10 to out of the running because if a bad rut. It’s not like Lyon hasn’t dropped because of it. Oh, and Marseille is NOT ranked. They’re just on the radar because, let’s face it, they’re an underachieving team that is still loaded and still capable of playing well.

    As for ranking Ajax ahead of Alkmaar, head-to-head is a determining factor when all other matters are equal. In that case not all matters are equal because Ajax is playing in a tough UEFA Cup group why Alkmaar only has its domestic schedule to worry about. Ajax qualified to the UEFA Cup Round of 32 and deserves a boost or that. All that said, Alkmaar is getting its deserved respect and isn’t far off the Top 25 pace.

    And lastly, it wouldn’t be a Top 25 without Anon chiming in. Do I have Napoli a bit high? Perhaps, but don’t bring in their early elimination from the UEFA Cup as a strike against them. They were knocked out on away goals in the head-to-head against Benfica. They weren’t as fortunate as Aston Villa to be drawn against Liteks Lovetch in the head-to-head series. Napoli has also faced all its toughest Serie A opponents through the first go-round with four matches to go, so their domestic sked to date has been tougher, in my opinion, than Villa’s.

    Villa’s a strange one. Some games they look great and some they look mediocre, and the opponent isn’t the determining factor. I’ve watched them and Napoli play and have come away more impressed by Napoli.

  7. I will never get tired of my soon to be new local MLS footbal teams 1/2 owners dominating. Can’t wait for Miami FCB to do the same to the MLS! HA!

    My favorite comment in a long time:

    “but they are solid defensively (this next part is the part I love) and not in a boring way” by Al17 describing Rennes. Classic!

  8. Lyon qualified for the Round of 16. Rennes is in no euro comp. That would give Lyon the edge.

    Celtic should have never been ranked to begin with, but atleast Ives isnt drinking the Celtic kool-aid as much as some other blogger that has had Celtic in the top 25 for most of the season.

    I think Napoli is ranked too high for a team that couldnt make the group stage of the UC. Sure they beat Juve, Fiorentina and have a draw against Roma, but Villa has beaten Arsenal, Ajax and drew against Man Utd. Plus, they made it past the group stage of the UC.

  9. Dallen, I would have had Inter second if not for that recent loss to Panathanaikos at home. Liverpool does have some recent EPL draws, but a home loss to a Greek team is pretty bad.

  10. Ok,

    I can undertsand how you’re unable to follow every league but having Lyon as your top team out of France is wrong. Over the past few weeks, they’ve lost twice and drew once. One of those losses was to Nantes whom were 16th at the time and drew Valenciennes whom whom were 19th at the time, the other loss was to PSG three weeks ago. Your hottest teams in France are Rennes (3rd place and 4 pts from the top of the table)& PSG (5th place and 5pts from the top of the table). Rennes still hasn’t lost despite having one lousy ass offense but they are solid defensively and not in a boring way – if you get a chance, watch Rennes they remind me of Lyon from a few years back but again without the Fire power. PSG now boasts Ligue 1’s top goal scorer in Guillaume Hoarau – last season he was the top goal scorer in Ligue 2 for Le Havre. Hell, I’m still surprised how Marseille is still ranked because they’ve been fairly lousy this season considering the Fire power they have on hand. Nice to see Celtic no longer ranked. ;O)

  11. The #2 spot should be blank to emphasize how much better Barca are then any other team on the planet.

    I was hoping Famagusta would still be hanging on to a spot, at least until we see if they pull off a shocker and make the knockout round today. And speaking of CL league, it’s too bad that Bayern-Lyon is meaningless, that could have been fun.

    Roma is definitely heating up, Totti is putting them on his back again. Roma-Bordeaux is probably the best match today that both teams need to win.

  12. Roma is hot right now, no question, but they need to get that Serie A record above .500 before they get into the Top 25. If they win their next two you can bet they’ll bolt into the Top 20.


Leave a Comment