The Champions League gets back underway tonight, with eight teams battling it out across eight games for four semi-final places with a date at Wembley on the horizon.
But the fact is, despite the Champions League being the most prestigious competition in Europe the best team on the continent doesn't necessarily win, such are the vagaries of the knock-out format. Most people can agree, for example, that Chelsea weren't the best team in Europe last season yet they are for the time being Champions of Europe.
So we here at GMF have tried to figure out just who is the best team in Europe, and it was no easy task. First and foremost, "best team" is incredibly subjective. There are some people who dislike Barcelona's approach, while others believe they are the best of all time.
So we have stripped it right back to the bare facts, and taken a look at points accumulated this season (the domestic league table being the ultimate form guide as it is) as well as the best attacking record and the meanest defences.
We've only taken the league leaders from Europe's top seven leagues as they can justifiably claim to be the most "in-form" and best team in their countries given their position at the top of their respective tables.
Finally, we've taken into account the relative strengths of each league. Some, like the Eredivisie and the Liga Sagres are weaker than the Premier League or Serie A say, so it should be easier for the best teams to stop, and score, goals. To do this we've taken the Golden Shoe coefficient used to calculate the difficulty of scoring goals in each European league. This makes it possible to directly compare teams from different leagues.
So we've ranked the teams of their average points-per-game, their goals-per-game and the amount of goals they concede-per-game, then taken into consideration the league they play in. Then we have given them points based on the position they ranked in each category from seven to one based on how they performed - the lower the points the better.
Sound complicated? Well it is a little bit, but we've done all the hard work for you and ranked every team in this handy list. So check out the answer to the definitive question - who is the best team in Europe?
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