European Super League: What are the credentials of the breakaway clubs?

As a collective, the 12 European Super League clubs are neither the dozen most historically successful, biggest earners, or current top-performing clubs. We take a closer look at their credentials as Founding Clubs of the breakaway project...

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Sky Sports News' Bryan Swanson reacts to the announcement that England's 'big six' are among 12 clubs who have agreed to join a new European Super League

Twelve clubs have agreed to join a breakaway European Super League - but just how elite are they and what are their credentials to be awarded protected status in this rival to the Champions League?

Are they historically the most successful clubs in European football? Not as a collective.

Do they make up the 12 top sides in the game right now? Not on current form.

But they are the dozen richest clubs? Nope.

The entry criteria to this closed-shop is tricky to grasp and ridden with inconsistencies.

"Our 12 Founder Clubs represent billions of fans across the globe and 99 European trophies," claimed Juventus chairman Andrea Agnelli, as he talked up how elite these Founding Clubs are.

The latter point is an interesting and controversial one - if that weight of historical success is an important factor, then why are four clubs which have never won the European Cup/Champions League involved?

Where are Bayern Munich, the third-most successful European Cup/Champions League team with their six titles? Or Ajax, sixth on the all-time European Cup/Champions League honours board with four wins?

Benfica, Porto, and Nottingham Forest all have multiple European Cup/Champions League wins in their history and, like the majority, have been fenced out by the Founding Clubs.

But putting past glories to one side, even recent form doesn't mark these 12 clubs out as especially elite.

Five of them were nowhere to be seen when the Champions League knockout stages began this season, with four of them in the second-tier Europa League. Two more failed to make it past the Champions League last-16.

Instead, it appears Agnelli's first point is perhaps the more important entry criteria: the global reach and money-making power of these dozen clubs.

"This is driven by money," says Sky Sports News reporter Kaveh Solhekol. "What these so-called big clubs want is more money in the future, they're unhappy with the format of the Champions League at the moment. The men who run these clubs are all interested in making money. This is what it's about."

But then there is a place for a club such as AC Milan, who were 30th on the latest Deloitte Money League, behind the likes of Sheffield United and Crystal Palace.

Atletico Madrid and Inter Milan were also ranked outside the top 12 European clubs for revenue in the 2019/20 season.

Certainly one criteria that seems clear is that each of these Founding Clubs come from either the Premier League, Serie A or La Liga.

There are 56 countries under the UEFA banner but just three are represented in this powerful group, with Bundesliga giants Bayern and Ligue 1's Paris St-German - the two teams which competed in last season's Champions League final - notably excluded.

AC Milan

Zlatan Ibrahimovic scored twice as AC Milan beat Napoli in Serie A
Image: Zlatan Ibrahimovic has boosted AC Milan this season - but the club ranked below the likes of Crystal Palace and Sheffield United for revenue in 2019/20

European Cups/Champions Leagues: Seven

Revenue: 148.5m Euros (30th on 2021 Deloitte Money League)

Current season:

Serie A: 2nd

Europa League: Lost in round of 16

Coppa Italia: Lost in quarter-finals

Arsenal

Arsenal began sluggishly and got worse before they staged the comeback
Image: Arsenal are currently ninth in the Premier League, the lowest current domestic placing of the 12 Founding Clubs

European Cups/Champions Leagues: None

Revenue: 388m Euros (11th on 2021 Deloitte Money League)

Current season:

Premier League: 9th

Europa League: Into semi-finals

FA Cup: Lost in fourth round

Carabao Cup: Lost in quarter-finals

Atletico Madrid

Luis Suarez celebrates during Atletico Madrid's win
Image: Atletico Madrid are currently top of La Liga but are yet to win a Champions League

European Cups/Champions Leagues: None

Revenue: 331.8m Euros (13th on 2021 Deloitte Money League)

Current season:

La Liga: 1st

Champions League: Lost in round of 16

Copa del Rey: Lost in second round

Barcelona

Lionel Messi celebrates after scoring for Barcelona against PSG
Image: Barcelona had the largest revenue among European clubs in 2019/20, according to the latest Deloitte Money League

European Cups/Champions Leagues: Five

Revenue: 715.1m Euros (1st on 2021 Deloitte Money League)

Current season:

La Liga: 3rd

Champions League: Lost in round of 16

Copa del Rey: Winners

Chelsea

SEVILLE, SPAIN - APRIL 13: Thomas Tuchel, Manager of Chelsea FC and Jorginho of Chelsea FC celebrate following the UEFA Champions League Quarter Final Second Leg match between Chelsea FC and FC Porto at Estadio Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan on April 13, 2021 in Seville, Spain. Sporting stadiums around Spain remain under strict restrictions due to the Coronavirus Pandemic as Government social distancing laws prohibit fans inside venues resulting in games being played behind closed doors. (Photo by Jose M
Image: Chelsea are into the semi-finals of the Champions League

European Cups/Champions Leagues: One

Revenue: 469.7m Euros (8th on 2021 Deloitte Money League)

Current season:

Premier League: 5th

Champions League: Into the semi-finals

FA Cup: Into the final

Carabao Cup: Lost in fourth round

Inter Milan

Inter's Romelu Lukaku and Lautaro Martinez celebrate during the derby against AC Milan
Image: Inter Milan are top of Serie A

European Cups/Champions Leagues: Three

Revenue: 291.5m Euros (14th on 2021 Deloitte Money League)

Current season:

Serie A: 1st

Champions League: Knocked out in group stage

Coppa Italia: Lost in semi-finals

Juventus

Cristiano Ronaldo celebrates Alvaro Morata's goal for Juventus against Genoa
Image: Juventus have dominated Italian football in recent years - although their last Champions League win came in 1996

European Cups/Champions Leagues: Two

Revenue: 397.9m Euros (10th on 2021 Deloitte Money League)

Current season:

Serie A: 4th

Champions League: Knocked out in group stage

Coppa Italia: Lost in semi-finals

Liverpool

Sadio Mane and Vinicius Junior battle for the ball
Image: Liverpool have six European Cup/Champions League titles to their name

European Cups/Champions Leagues: Six

Revenue: 558.6m Euros (5th on 2021 Deloitte Money League)

Current season:

Premier League: 6th

Champions League: Lost in quarter-finals

FA Cup: Lost in fourth round

Carabao Cup: Lost in fourth round

Man City

AP - Manchester City celebrate
Image: Premier League leaders Manchester City have reached the Champions League semi-finals for just the second time this season

European Cups/Champions Leagues: None

Revenue: 549.2m Euros (6th on 2021 Deloitte Money League)

Current season:

Premier League: 1st

Champions League: Into semi-finals

FA Cup: Lost in semi-finals

Carabao Cup: Into final

Man Utd

Edinson Cavani celebrates scoring for Man Utd vs Granada
Image: Manchester United have three European Cup/Champions League titles - but were knocked into the Europa League midway through season

European Cups/Champions Leagues: Three

Revenue: 580.4m Euros (4th on 2021 Deloitte Money League)

Current season:

Premier League: 2nd

Champions League: Knocked out in group stage; Europa League: Into semi-finals

FA Cup: Lost in quarter-finals

Carabao Cup: Lost in semi-finals

Real Madrid

Real Madrid
Image: Real Madrid are the most successful European club, with 13 European Cup/Champions League titles

European Cups/Champions Leagues: 13

Revenue: 691.8m Euros (2nd on 2021 Deloitte Money League)

Current season:

La Liga: 2nd

Champions League: Into semi-finals

Copa del Rey: Lost in round of 32

Tottenham

Gareth Bale celebrates with Harry Kane
Image: Tottenham are one of four sides among the 12 to never have won the European Cup or Champions League

European Cups/Champions Leagues: None

Revenue: 445.7m Euros (9th on 2021 Deloitte Money League)

Current season:

Premier League: 7th

Europa League: Knocked out in round of 16

FA Cup: Lost in fifth round

Carabao Cup: Into final

Podcast special: European Super League explanation, reaction and ramifications

In a special podcast, Jasper Taylor sums up a seismic 24 hours in football after Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United, and Tottenham agreed to join a breakaway European Super League, along with six other teams.

The reaction has been swift, damning, passionate and emotional to say the least. Hear from Gary Neville, Kaveh Solhekol, Bryan Swanson and more....

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