Jose Mourinho has labelled a lot of Europe’s best teams as “failed sharks of the Champions League” if they drop down to join his Roma in the Europa League.
If Barcelona and Juventus finish third in their respective Champions League groups, they might both drop down and qualify for the Europa League knockout rounds. Following disappointing group stage performances in UEFA’s flagship club tournament, Atletico Madrid and AC Milan are now in risk of the same fate.
What has Mourinho said about the clubs playing in the Champions League?
While Mourinho’s Roma still have work to do to qualify for the Europa League knockout rounds, the former Manchester United, Real Madrid, and Inter Milan manager couldn’t help but poke fun at his old adversaries.
Following a 1-1 tie with Real Betis, Mourinho was asked if he felt the Spanish teams were favourites to win the group, with his team lying in third place. Mourinho chuckled and responded, “I see them [Betis] as candidates, but the failed sharks of the Champions League will arrive, and they will come in hard”.
He further added, “They shouldn’t come but it’s the reality. It’s going to be fun. The failures of the Champions League”.
Which are the possible clubs that will potentially play in Europa League?
Barcelona are presently third in their Champions League group, behind Bayern Munich and Inter Milan, and do not have a head-to-head advantage over the Italians, having been downed 1-0 at the San Siro before clawing back a point in a dramatic 3-3 draw at home.
Juventus, meanwhile, are third in Group H behind PSG and Benfica, but their chances of qualifying for the knockout stages have been severely harmed by an ugly 2-0 loss to Maccabi Haifa.
Given that Club Brugge has already booked their position in the last-16, Atletico Madrid is now competing with Porto for the final qualifying slot in Group B. Dropping to the Europa League might potentially have serious financial ramifications for Barcelona.
The Spanish newspaper Mundo Deportivo has published how much money Barcelona stands to lose if they do not win their last two games and other results go their way. According to reports, the club will lose £18.4 million if they do not advance to the tournament’s quarter-final stage.