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The Champion’s League, The Paretto Principle, and the Underdogs

Photo by Tavarak Phanduang on Unsplash

Watching one of the greatest leagues in the world is fascinating and pleasure inducing might I add. The best of the best, creme de la creme, los mejores de los mejores, etc… While the Champion’s League has been around for quite some time, it was recently that several teams began to win the most coveted trophy in Europe.

The team with the most wins has been Spain’s Real Madrid with a total of thirteen victories out of 64 iterations of the League. It is currently contending for its fourteenth title this year having made it to the sweet sixteen. This means they have won almost once every four years. Milan has won seven titles making it the second most decorated team within the Champion’s League and third is Liverpool with six. What causes teams to grow so rapidly or even more importantly maintain their dominance? Funding, sponsorship, great scouts, amazing talent, genius coaching, never stopping to take a rest?

Meanwhile, there are multiple teams that have never been to the Champion’s League or have only participated and have never advanced to the next level. What is required for those teams to advance or are they fixed to their lower to mid-card status? Atletico de Madrid has been runner up three times and Roma once. Great teams by the way that have won titles in their respective leagues. What causes these momentum filled teams from achieving their title victories while the top champion’s continue to iterate year after year their dominance?

There is definitely a wealth difference in how the teams are managed, talent is transferred, and what teams can play around with. Juventus signed on one of the most coveted players of the league, Dybala, for more than other teams can spend for a whole team. Yet, even in the instance that teams do not have a wealth of assets, they can still make do with team chemistry, coaching ability, and team strategy. Who can forget the Chelsea vs. Barcelona Champion’s League Final where Barcelona’s powerful offense was nullified with great defending from a great defensive Chelsea. There are multiple factors that can affect a team.

Teams may be playing more often allowing players to improve skill, collaboration, chemistry, and further rise above any other teams. Some teams in the Champion’s League play in their respective home teams, in an International League like the Champion’s League or Europa Cup, in a regional league as in the case of specific Cups. Other teams are only playing on their specific domestic leagues and only that.

Coaches can also affect the way a team plays. Real Madrid has been able to keep some of the best manager’s in the world from Zinedine Zidane and Mourinho. Barcelona has had Pep Guardiola. A key strategist can make a big difference or at least act synergistically with the talent to change the momentum of a game.

The current iteration of the Champion’s League has sixteen teams. Eight of the teams have won the title more than two times. One team has won it once. The rest have either been runner ups or have not competed in a final in the past. It is interesting to see if the generality of the Paretto principle will play a role in this year’s Champion’s League or is a surprise long overdue.

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