The Champions League is one of the most decorated competitions in world football. It’s the one everyone wants.
Pep Guardiola has been deemed a failure at Manchester City for failing to win it while Unai Emery was sacked by PSG for not bringing the elusive trophy back to Paris.
On top of taking home one of the most eye-catching pieces of silverware on the planet, you rake in a considerable amount of cash too.
Marca estimated that this season’s winners could earn around £72.3m. That’s a truly ridiculous sum of money, one that could prove game-changing for clubs like Lyon and Leipzig.
The knock-out stages have thrown up unrelenting drama too.
Atalanta were a minute away from qualifying for the semi-finals when Marquinhos and Eric Chuopo-Moting scored late on for PSG.
Leipzig knocked out Atletico, Lyon defeated Manchester City and Bayern Munich absolutely pulverised Barcelona 8-2.
The Champions League is famed for being a playground for someone the best players in world football but it will see no Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo in the semi-finals for the first time since 2005.
We’re seeing new contenders emerge, teams who don’t have the riches that a Barcelona or PSG have.
For context, Neymar earned more than the entire Atalanta squad that he destroyed last week.
It makes a nice change to see money taken out of the equation on the pitch - you only need to look at Lyon’s exploits for evidence.
However, what are the most expensive matches in Champions League history?
We’ve consulted Transfermarkt’s in-depth statistics to put together a list of the ten most valuable matches we’ve seen in the competition.
Here they are...
10) Spurs 2-4 Barcelona - £1.10bn
It might be a surprise to see Spurs on this list given how little Daniel Levy has spent in recent years but they still have one of the most expensive squads around. That’s predominantly because of Harry Kane who Transfermarkt rate at £108m. Barcelona’s squad needs no introduction – Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez are worth a pretty penny – their side was valued at £689.4m at the time.
9) Liverpool 4-0 Barcelona - £1.10bn
Unsurprisingly, Barcelona feature on this list a lot of times. However, boasting players like Trent Alexander-Arnold, Virgil van Dijk, Mo Salah and Sadio Mane, Liverpool have one of the most expensive squads, per Transfermarkt. This was one of the most miraculous matches we’ve seen in recent history and it’s also fondly remembered for the ‘Corner taken quickly...Origi’ commentary line.
8) Manchester United 0-1 Barcelona - £1.13bn
With this game, another to be held during the 2018/19 season, we only go further into the billions. Barca’s squad at this point was worth over a whopping £700m. Crikey.
7) PSG 2-1 Liverpool - £1.13bn
For the first time, the might of PSG feature on this list. Possessing some of the world’s best talent including Neymar and Kylian Mbappe, it’s no revelation they make their way onto the most valuable matches in world football. Liverpool’s estimations were also rising too. Their squad at this point was now worth £527.4m compared to the Parisian’s which was over £600m.
6) Barcelona 3-0 Manchester United - £1.14bn
The second tie between these two teams to feature here. Barca swatted aside United with relative ease and with a squad value of £720m, you could have seen that result coming from a mile off.
5) Real Madrid 1-2 Manchester City – £1.14bn
We’ve had to wait until now for the perennial winners Real Madrid to finally make their way onto this list. Coincidentally, it’s also one of the more recent clashes, taking place only a few weeks ago. City’s squad was worth £682.2m. Crazy stuff.
4) Spurs 0-2 Liverpool - £1.16bn
Last season’s Champions League final comes in at four on our rankings. Liverpool have a plethora of players high sell-on value so make up a large portion of this list. I suppose it’s only right that the 2018/19 final is on here.
3) Barcelona 3-0 Liverpool - £1.26bn
Wow, just look at the money involved in this one. This was, of course, before Barca’s fall from grace and also before Liverpool really took off. Can you imagine how valuable the match would have been with the pair in their peaks? It’s a scary thought.
2) Liverpool 2-3 Atletico Madrid (AET) - £1.29bn
This was one of the last matches that fans were allowed to attend before the peak of the Coronavirus hit and it was one to remember as the holders were knocked out. Possessing players like Joao Felix who is rated at £72.9m, it’s no great shock to see Atletico so high up. However, things get even more valuable.
1) Atletico Madrid 1-0 Liverpool - £1.32bn
The most valuable match in Champions League history so far was the first leg between Atletico and Liverpool. Incredibly, Liverpool’s squad was valued at a colossal £864m but they still lost. Having the most expensive players isn’t always the answer it seems.
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