Top World Football Club Rankings – 2021 Year End European Holiday Break

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Top World Football Club Rankings – 2021 Year End European Holiday Break

The world’s best football clubs ranking

#1 Manchester City

2021 has been a record-breaking year for Manchester City. They’ve won 36 league games this calendar year, more than any other team in Premier League history. They’re in top form, having won every Premier League match in November and December. They won their Champions League group and have their eyes on a Champions League title, which they’re favoured to win. They’re a pleasure to watch, they control every match they play in regardless of the competition. Even when Manchester City is losing, which is rare, they look like the better team.   

#2 Bayern Munich

Winning seven straight matches before the holiday break, Bayern Munich looks amazing atop the Bundesliga this season. They’ve scored 56 goals in 17 Bundesliga matches. Bayern has an incredible goal differential of 40, more than any other club in Europe’s top five leagues. They were a perfect 6-0 in the Champions League, scoring 22 goals while only allowing three in six matches. They should have an easy path to the Champions League quarter-finals, having drawn Salzburg in the round of 16.  

#3 Paris Saint-Germain

On paper, Paris Saint-Germain could be the best team in the world. PSG are running away with Ligue 1 in France again, and it doesn’t look like there’s much competition for them. What they really want is a Champions League crown, and that’s the goal. With all the experienced former Champions League winners on their side, they are favoured to do well in that competition. However, losing their group to Manchester City contributed to them drawing Real Madrid in the Champions League round of 16.   

#4 Real Madrid

Real Madrid hasn’t been defeated since October 3. They’ve only lost twice in La Liga in 2021. They’re running away with the Spanish league title and should easily win La Liga. December 2-0 victories over Inter Milan and Atletico Madrid show they are ahead of the class. Winning their Champions League group should have awarded them a better draw than PSG in the round of 16. Their meeting on February 15, and March 9 will be the most anticipated clash in the Champions League knock-out phase.     

#5 Liverpool

Liverpool looks like the second-best team in the Premier League. However, they will not likely catch Manchester City for the Premier League title. Liverpool’s Mohamad Salah is leading the world’s best league, the Premier League, in goals scored. They went a perfect 6-0 in the Champions League group stage, proving they are still challenging for the European crown. They’ve drawn Inter Milan in the round of 16 which will be a huge test for them. They must avoid the type of January they had last year if they want to remain in the Champions League.    

#6 Chelsea

Chelsea has been absolutely ravaged by injuries and Covid. Despite this, they’ve only lost one match over the last three months. They needed to win more though if they were to have a chance at the Premier League title. Unfortunately for Chelsea, it appears they’ve drawn too many matches to catch Manchester City. If they can return to full strength, they hope to challenge for the Champions League again and retain their title. Getting past Lille in the round of 16 shouldn’t be too difficult for them.   

#7 Inter Milan

Having only lost three matches in Italy’s Serie A in 2021, Inter Milan is the strongest team in Italy. Inter hope to hold off city rivals AC Milan and defend their league title, they are four points ahead. They still aren’t at the level that clubs ahead of them are on this list; losing twice to Real Madrid in the Champions League group stage. If they can get past Liverpool in the round of 16 they will earn instant respect for the Italian league.     

#8 Arsenal

Arsenal has had a great season so far, hoping to return to the Champions League once again next season. They’ll need a top-four finish in the Premier League to do so and they’re right on track so far. Not playing European football has given them more time to concentrate on domestic fixtures with positive results. They’ve won five straight matches to end 2021 and face a huge test on New Year’s day hosting Manchester City. 

#9 Juventus

Juventus has proven they’re still an elite club by winning their Champions League group. Their only loss in the Champions League so far was against Chelsea, however, they still managed to finish two points ahead of them. They’ve been somewhat disappointing in Serie A matches, considering all the star power they have. Although eight points behind AC Milan in Serie A, because they’ve played so much better in Europe they’re ranked higher on this list.   

#10 AC Milan

Accumulating 42 points from 19 Serie A matches leaves AC Milan in second place. However, their disappointing Champions League campaign has ended their European football hopes. The only Champions League game they managed to win was against Atletico Madrid on November 24. They’ll have lots of time to concentrate on catching Inter Milan without playing in Europe. They should be back in the Champions League group stage come September.  

#11 Manchester United

Qualifying for the Champions League in England is harder than in any of the other big five European Leagues. Unfortunately for Manchester United, they look a bit off the pace so far this season. Four points behind Arsenal, with a game in hand, they will be challenged to qualify for next season’s Champions League. Manchester United did play well enough to win their Champions League group though. Fortunately for Man U, they’ve drawn a team that’s even more out of form in Atletico Madrid.   

#12 Sevilla

Sevilla is in second place in La Liga eight points behind Real Madrid. They’ve got a five-point gap ahead of third-place Real Betis and should expect to qualify for the Champions League next season. This season they’re out of the Champions League after finishing third place in their group, and into the Europa League again. They should have been able to win their group considering Lille, Salzburg, and Wolfsburg were the competition. However, playing in the Europa League seems to suit them considering they’ve won the competition more than any other club. 

#13 Tottenham Hotspur

Since Antonio Conte took over as head coach of Spurs on November 2, they haven’t lost in the Premier League. They’ve advanced to the EFL Cup Semi-final with a win over West Ham on December 22. Unfortunately, their time in the Europa Conference League appears to have prematurely ended because of Covid. They hope to overtake arch-rivals Arsenal in fourth place for the final Champions League qualification spot. At the end of 2021, they are five points behind Arsenal, with two games in hand. The north London derby against Arsenal is set for January 16 at Tottenham Stadium.   

#14 Ajax

After 18 games in the Dutch Eredivisie Ajax has 42 points with an amazing goal differential of 52. They’re ahead of PSV Eindhoven on goal differential by 30 goals. They are a point behind PSV in the standings, however, I wouldn’t bet against Ajax winning the Eredivisie. What’s really impressive about Ajax has been their play in the Champions League, they won all six matches in the group phase. They defeated Borussia Dortmund twice, 4-0 and 3-1, effectively knocking them out of the competition. Ajax drew Benfica in the Champions League round of 16. They are favoured to advance to the quarter-finals in the knockout stage of that competition.     

#15 Borussia Dortmund

Borussia Dortmund is sitting comfortably in second place in the German Bundesliga. Already nine points behind Bayern, their hopes of winning the German league are diminishing. They sit five points ahead of third place and should easily qualify for next year’s Champions League. Unfortunately, they missed out on the Champions League knockout phase by the slightest of margins. Tied for second with Sporting Lisbon, each with nine points, Sporting advances having a better goal differential. Dortmund is now favoured to win the Europa League.    

#16 Atalanta

Sitting in fourth place in Italy’s Serie A, Atalanta hopes to continue playing in the Champions League next season. It will be a challenge to stay in that position as the top eight teams in Italy are all very competitive. Eliminated from the Champions League with a third-place finish in the group phase, Atalanta will move on to the Europa League. Defeating Napoli at the Stadio Maradona on December 4th puts them ahead on this list. 

#17 Real Betis

Sitting all alone in third place in La Liga, Real Betis has a legitimate chance of qualifying for next year’s Champions League. They played well to advance to the Europa League knockout phase and should win their draw with Zenit St. Petersburg. With wins over Barcelona and Real Sociedad in December’s La Liga play, Real Betis looks like a real threat. They will be challenged to maintain their current form for the rest of the season. 

#18 Barcelona

Barcelona is having a very poor season by their standards. Depleted by Covid and injuries, they are currently in seventh place in La Liga. They are out of the Champions League and will face Napoli in the Europa League knockout phase in February. They should have things figured out by then, and as of now are only two points back of the final Champions League qualifying position. Expect to see Barcelona turn their season around. They are favoured to do very well in the Europa League.  

#19 Napoli

Napoli had some big wins in December, defeating AC Milan in Serie A, and Leicester to advance in the Europa League. Unfortunately, they’ve also lost three matches in December. Their inconsistent play may keep them from qualifying for European football next season. However, as of now, Napoli are alone in third place in Italy’s Serie A. Their next match is against Juventus on January 6, which will be a huge test for them.    

#20 Atletico Madrid

In very poor form at the moment, Atletico has lost three straight matches, however, Real Madrid and Sevilla aren’t easy opponents. The loss to Granada in the final game of 2021 was a real disappointment though. Atletico played well enough in the Champions League group play to advance to the knockout phase. They’ve drawn Manchester United in the round of 16, who aren’t really in top form either. With all the star power Atletico has in their lineup I can’t see them finishing outside the top four in La Liga. As of now, Atletico sits in fifth place, only a point back of Rayo Vallecano who they host on January 2.  

About the Author /

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Nathan Holowaty is a writer and blogger, with a passion for everything soccer-related. He is a lifelong soccer player and fan, helping to grow the sport in a positive manner. Nathan began working on Top World Football in early 2021.

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