The Sportsman's Football Power Rankings: Who's Number One After 2021-22 Season?

Following the end of the club campaign, we work out the top 40 teams in Europe
08:35, 03 Jun 2022

The arguments rarely stop when it comes to trying to decide who are the best team in Europe. Fans have their varying opinions as to who should be considered as the number one at any moment in time, often shifting the weight of various tournaments depending on what their team has achieved in recent times.

To try to resolve the issue, The Sportsman is pleased to unveil the very first iteration of our European Football Power Rankings. Based on achievements over the past five seasons, with a sliding scale rewarding more recent successes most heavily, we’ve come up with an algorithm which identifies the very best teams across domestic leagues and European competition.

Here are the top 40 teams in the rankings at the end of the 2021-22 season:

38. Rangers, Trabzonspor, Apollon Limassol – 15.000

37. Real Sociedad – 15.250

36. Lyon – 16.422

35. FC Copenhagen – 16.875

34. Arsenal – 17.797

33. Lazio – 19.063

32. Atalanta – 19.375

31. Rennes – 20.500

30. Lille – 20.625

29. Celtic – 21.563

ANGE POSTECOGLOU'S CELTIC ARE 29TH AFTER THEIR PREMIERSHIP WIN
ANGE POSTECOGLOU'S CELTIC ARE 29TH AFTER THEIR PREMIERSHIP WIN

28. Tottenham Hotspur – 21.898

27. Eintracht Frankfurt – 21.969

26. Porto – 22.148

25. Bayer Leverkusen – 23.625

24. Monaco – 24.125

23. Napoli – 25.344

22. Villarreal – 27.125

20. Club Brugge, Ajax – 27.188

19. Sevilla – 27.297

18. Roma – 28.016

17. Zenit St Petersburg – 28.125

16. Marseille – 29.969

15. Manchester United – 30.023

14. Red Bull Salzburg – 31.172

13. Juventus – 32.922

JUVENTUS ARE OUTSIDE THE TOP 10 AFTER A SECOND STRAIGHT TITLE FAILURE
JUVENTUS ARE OUTSIDE THE TOP 10 AFTER A SECOND STRAIGHT TITLE FAILURE

12. RB Leipzig – 33.688

11. Borussia Dortmund – 35.578

10. Barcelona – 37.734

Barca would have been high on anybody’s list until recently, with three barren years in La Liga and an increasing fall away from the Champions League reckoning resulting in them only just making our first top 10.

9. AC Milan – 37.750

Milan’s return to the top of Serie A after 11 years brings them recognition in the top 10 of the Power Rankings. Having had nothing much going for them until finishing second to neighbours Inter in 2020-21, their efforts over the last 12 months have seen them placed back among the world’s big footballing powerhouses.

8. Inter – 41.000

Despite their near-miss in Serie A this term, Inter hold a slight advantage over the Rossoneri thanks to their record over previous seasons. Their 2021 Scudetto success was valuable in the algorithm, while a second-place finish in 2020 coupled with a trip to the Europa League final made for another batch of points.

7. Atletico Madrid – 41.422

They may have been well beaten to the title in Spain this season but Atletico Madrid continue to be a consistent power in European football. One La Liga success, two second-place finishes and two thirds have helped to bump up their tally, while they have been regulars in the latter stages of the Champions League and their 2018 Europa League win earns them a couple of extra points.

JOAO FELIX'S ATLETI ARE SEVENTH DESPITE FINISHING THIRD IN LA LIGA
JOAO FELIX'S ATLETI ARE SEVENTH DESPITE FINISHING THIRD IN LA LIGA

6. Chelsea – 47.711

Winners of the Champions League in 2021 and the Europa League two years previously, Chelsea might not have finished above third in the Premier League recently but their European performances have helped to set them apart. The new era under Todd Boehly could see them boost their ranking in 2022-23.

5. Paris Saint-Germain – 54.664

If only they could deliver in Europe, they’d be candidates for the No.1 spot. With four titles in the last five years in France, it’s PSG’s failure to reach more than a single Champions League final that sees them down in fifth. With Neymar, Lionel Messi, Kylian Mbappe and a host of other big names, they could make a break for the top next term.

4. Liverpool – 56.781

If they’d won the Champions League final, Liverpool would have been our inaugural number-one side, but their no-show in Paris means they’re missing from the top three. A Premier League win and European title still weigh in to their ranking at this point, but one of their two recent silver medals on the continent will fall out of the reckoning next season, meaning they will need another decent season to retain their top-four spot.

3. Bayern Munich – 62.266

Winning the Bundesliga 10 years in succession is always going to help your ranking in any collection like this one, but those last five domestic league titles account for only 48.438 of Bayern’s total. Their regular appearances in the latter stages on the continent push them into the top three, with that 2020 Champions League title being the standout achievement.

2. Manchester City – 63.328

Four league titles in five years are the basis for City’s ranking, with their inability to get over the line in the Champions League keeping them off top spot. If Pep Guardiola can finally get his hands on another European Cup in 2022-23, the Cityzens’ points tally will be tough to overturn.

1. Real Madrid – 79.391 (2021-22: 55pts, 2020-21: 12.75pts, 2019-20: 6.72pts, 2018-19: 2.11 pts, 2017-18: 2.81pts)

The new Spanish and European champions gain top marks for their 2021-22 campaign and sit atop the tree as a result. While their sketchier record before then makes them reachable in the season to come, Carlo Ancelotti’s men still benefit from their 2020 La Liga triumph and 2018 Champions League success in the current rankings.

MADRID GAINED FULL MARKS IN 2021-22
MADRID GAINED FULL MARKS IN 2021-22
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