The organisers of the European Super League (ESL) recently announced a fresh set of new proposals. The new plans would expand the ESL to contain 60 to 80 teams, with each side guaranteed a minimum of 14 matches per season while continuing to play in their domestic leagues.
Regardless of whether the proposals gain any traction, it does beg an interesting thought experiment. Let’s assume the ESL expands to 80 teams. Based solely on merit alone who would qualify? Who are the top 80 clubs in Europe?
In the past, this would’ve been a difficult question to answer. But now, our Opta Power Rankings can give you the definitive data-led list.
Let’s start with Europe’s top five leagues:
If the ESL were to be decided by our Power Rankings, then the Premier League would make up 15 of the 80 teams. Of teams currently in the Premier League, only Leeds, Everton, Nottingham Forest, Bournemouth and Southampton would miss out. Germany would provide the next most teams with 12, while Spain would provide nine from La Liga with eight teams from both Italy and France qualifying. Overall, teams from Europe’s top five leagues would make up 65% (52 out of 80) of the ESL.
Elsewhere, Portugal and the Netherlands would supply four each, with Belgium providing three. The big two in Scotland – Celtic and Rangers – would qualify, while Norway and Serbia would be the remaining two countries to provide more than one team. The rest of the nations would offer just one.
As a reminder, Opta’s Power Rankings is a global team ranking system that assigns an ability score between 0 and 100 to nearly 13,500 domestic football teams in the world. The 80 teams above are the ones with the highest ability score – simple.