The 2015/ 2016 European soccer clubs’ season recently ended across the European continent and it did end with new domestic and continental records set and also the ‘usuals’ that we’ve come to expect season in-season out.
We shall be reviewing the winners, ‘the usuals’ and also the losers.
Real Madrid: The greatest soccer club in the history of European football ended the season as the European champions again even though they lost the domestic race to Barcelona. Real Madrid’s feat of winning its 11th Uefa Champions League (UCL) trophy has further strengthened its credentials as Europe’s greatest club. Zinedine Zidane made history books by being another club manager that has also won the UCL as a player, while Christiano Ronaldo got his hand on his 3rd UCL trophy. Does anyone remember that Rafael Benitez started the season with this team?
Barcelona FC: Barcelona did a domestic ‘double’ in the La Liga by outscoring its records…thanks to its red-hot trio: Messi, Suarez and Neymar (a.k.a MSN). Suarez did well for himself by scooping Europe’ golden boots by scoring the highest number of goals in Europe last season.
Leicester City FC: The newest and least expected English Premier League champions enjoyed a fairy-tale season by beating all the big spenders to the trophy with 10 points. The team was rugged in its belief and achieved the unachievable two games before the end of the season. Claudio Ranieri and his unsung boys (Vardy, Mahrez, Kante et al) deserve eternal credit for a job well done. Vardy started from the very bottom and ended the season as the league’s top goal scorer. Leicester FC will be in the UCL next season….while a lot of EPL big boys won’t. See how tables turn?
Manchester United: the greatest English club (domestic-wise) did not win the EPL nor qualify for the UCL which was their ultimate goal for last season. However, Louis Van Gaal’s fumbling ‘Red Army’ won the English FA Cup…a trophy that has evaded the club for almost 12 years.
Tottenham Hotspurs: The Spurs almost won the EPL if not Leicester FC’s hungry determination. Unfortunately, Tottenham finished third…and as usual, behind Arsenal their greatest rival. But the ability for Tottenham to comfortably break into the ‘top four’ status ahead of big spenders like Manchester City FC, Manchester United and their London rivals Chelsea FC, is really worth celebrating.
Juventus: ‘The old lady of Turin’ seems to have its grip on the Italian Serie A already even though it lost the highly effective Carlos Tevez. The club’s hunger for UCL is still ongoing and should reap its fruit anytime soon. If Juventus continues its dominance in the Serie A (th consecutive season), the Italian Serie A might just become a replica of the German Bundesliga. But with all sincerity, the club deserves its current ongoing success because since its return to the Serie A…its been all guns blazing for the Italian champions.
Bayern Munchen: This great German team won both major domestic soccer trophies in Germany again. Not news i guess?
Paris Saint Germain: Nothing new. As usual, the French capital club scooped all domestic trophies possible and lost their greatest player ever as he moves in search of a tougher challenge in a balanced league.
Arsenal FC: As usual, Arsene Wenger and his boys ‘huffed and puffed’ but did not win the English Premier League (EPL), FA Cup and neither did they come close to winning the UCL. However, their rise to second position in the EPL for the first time in many years should hopefully propel them to better success next season.
Athletico Madrid: Diego Simeone’s men in my opinion, are still the toughest team to beat in Europe no matter who the opponent is and they have continued to break barriers holding them back season after season. Unfortunately, the team did not win a trophy (almost like always), but still stood up to Real Madrid and Barcelona’s bullying of the La Liga and even took it further by challenging Real Madrid to the UCL glory again. Hopefully, this club will grab one trophy next season.
Chelsea FC: Right from the beginning of the season, Chelsea had no chance to defend its EPL crown and ended the season without a trophy and not even qualifying for UCL. Mourinho’s sack and Hiddink’s introduction saved the club from further embarassment as they finished the season in a record 10th position.
Manchester City FC: The oil-rich club disappointed last season by not winning a trophy even with the crazy investments that were made during the last summer transfer market. Fortunately, they qualified for UCL luckily.
Liverpool FC: Domestically Jurgen Klopp’s men tried their best to qualify for UCL but were not able to achieve that feat due to the weak way the season started with the sacked Brendan Rodgers. The team deserves credit for the way it stabilized itself during the season after a change of managers. However, the teams’ greatest loss was its loss at the UEFA Cup final against Sevilla. But let’s watch out for them next season since Jurgen Klopp has always proven himself to be a man of positive action.
Newcastle United: Mike Ashley led his team to relegation with his rash decisions over the past few seasons. Appointing Mclaren as his club’s manager and not sacking him early enough was the final straw that broke the poor camel’s back. Appointing Benitez ‘the flukist’ at the last minute could not save his club from relegation. Hopefully, Benitez will steer them back to the EPL in the 2017/ 2018 season.
Inter Milan: Mancini has deceived this team with promises for the past two seasons. The team has not been able to comfortably challenge Juventus for the Serie A crown and maybe they will next season if Mancini is not the man leading the team.
AC Milan: How the mighty have fallen…and keep falling. Still suffering from some strange cancerous management style, the club is hardly remembered in the European scene and is slowly losing its relevance in the Italian Serie A as it has not been able to challenge Juventus on any level in the past few seasons.
Which other big European club do you think is worthy of being added to the list above?