The 2010s were undoubtedly the domain of the Spanish giants, Real Madrid and Barcelona.
Winning six of the last ten Champions League finals and dominating La Liga while they’re at it. However, with the end of the decade, their air of invincibility has failed dramatically.
The Blaugrana were decimated 8-2 by Bayern Munich in the Champions League semi-finals, while Madrid was eliminated a stage earlier by Manchester City. The question now then, is where will Europe’s next dominant force come from?
It’s difficult to look past the European Champions of course.
Sweeping all before them in the Champions League they were by far the best side in Europe last season. Hansi Flick has built a ruthlessly efficient team that matches any of their previous successes. With a team-based around the high press, they suffocate their opponents out of possession and destroy them with it.
Now, they look set to do it all again. They have Europe’s deadliest striker in Robert Lewandowski, with top young talent such as Alphonso Davies at the club.
They have a versatile midfield and a solid defensive line marshalled by Manuel Neuer. To put it lightly, it could be a lot worse.
In Leroy Sane they have also added one of Europe’s most explosive attackers to their lineup. There are issues of course, with the departure of Thiago, their midfield looks light on cover, while a new right-back will be needed.
However, everything is there for them to dominate both in Germany and on the continent for some time.
While their European campaign was a disappointment, it can’t be argued that Liverpool aren’t one of Europe’s finest teams. Tactically flexible, with a brutally efficient front three, they have the tools to beat any side in Europe. The best thing about them? Their consistent adaptability.
As teams have attempted to adapt to his team’s style of play, Jurgen Klopp has adapted his. Whether by recruitment or by tactical alteration he has always been ahead of the curve.
Now with teams attempting to shut down his ridiculously creative full-backs. In response, he has seemed open to a 4-2-3-1 formation. He has also of course, recruited Thiago Alcantara, one of the finest midfield creators on the planet.
With a fine blend of experience, youth and players in their prime, this is a squad equipped to dominate. However, stronger domestic competition in comparison to their German counterparts could hamper them.
They also don’t have the financial muscle to accumulate depth of talent in the same way a team like Manchester City might.
Though the traditionalists of the sport may struggle to admit it, Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) are here to stay. Their appearance in the Champions League final was a warning to the rest of Europe. Boasting a star-studded team, Thomas Tuchel has set them up to dominate.
However, their place on this list is not merely down to the financial muscle of their owners. The Parisians have one of Europe’s finest academy, producing incredible talent at a rapid rate. Dayot Upamecano, Jonathan Ikone and Kingsley Coman are just a few to come off the production line.
Then there is of course, Kylian Mbappe. Despite the presence of Neymar, he is the star among the French attack.
Bought from Monaco, he looks by far the most likely to take the mantle of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo as the world’s best player. The reality is, whoever the French attacker plays for, will have a chance at claiming the biggest prizes.