Manchester United among European football's fallen giants

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GMS takes a look at some of the European superpowers that have endured troubles in recent times...

Inter Milan

The 18 times champions of Italy are nowhere near the same side that won the treble as recently as 2010, enduring a massive fall from grace since the reign of Jose Mourinho.

Inter have not won a major trophy now since their triumph in the 2011 Coppa Italia and have been missing from the Champions League since the 2011-12 edition of the tournament.

This poor form has seen them lose some of their top players from their treble winning side including Wesley Sneijder, Samuel Eto'o, Maicon and Julio Cesar. Their squad these days is starved of any real world class talent although they did sign Manchester United captain Nemanja Vidic on a free transfer in the summer.

This season Inter have had an inconsistent start to their Serie A campaign, but have made a return to European club competition and sit top of their Europa League group.

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AC Milan

Inter’s city rivals themselves have also now slipped down the pecking order not just in Europe but in Italy as well.

After a disastrous 2013-14 campaign AC Milan missed out on a place in both the Champions League and the Europa League. In last year’s Champions League they desperately under-performed and were well beaten by eventual runners up Atletico Madrid in the last 16.

Milan's slump in form really began back in the summer of 2012 when they sold both Thiago Silva and Zlatan Ibrahimovi─ç to PSG and they have not won a major trophy since.

Milan's poor form has resulted in a struggle to attract world class players to the San Siro and hopes for the club's future really on youngster Stephan El Shaarawy, who is tipped to go on to be a top player.

Under new manger Filippo Inzaghi, Milan have made a decent start to Serie A and a return to European football, probably in the Europa League, looks on the cards.

Manchester United

Since Sir Alex Ferguson retirement following a title triumph in 2013, United's form has taken a dramatic turn for the worse.

United had a shambolic 2013-14 season under David Moyes which saw them finish seventh in the Premier League with some humiliating defeats during the season.

Among these were an embarrassing defeat to Sunderland in the semi-finals of the League Cup and being knocked out in the third round of the FA Cup at home by Swansea. All this meant United missed out on any European football for the first time since the mid-90s.

But, unlike the two Milan clubs United still do have world class players among their number including Robin van Persie, Wayne Rooney and Juan Mata.

They were joined at United by their new manager Louis Van Gaal, who spent big in the transfer market on more world class players, recruiting the likes of Angel Di Maria and Radamel Falcao.

However United’s leaky defence is still their Achilles heel and causing them major problems, and add in a never ending injury list and you get United’s worst ever start to a Premier League season.


Things began to go downhill for Valencia in 2010. Money trouble saw Valencia forced to suspend construction on their new stadium and also sell their best players such as David Villa, David Silva, Juan Mata and Roberto Soldado, over the last few years.

With their best players always being sold to pay off debt, it’s been hard for Valencia to progress and challenge the big two in Spain. Last season saw them miss out on European football which was a huge blow for them in terms of revenue.

But things are starting to look up again for Valencia, as Singapore businessman Peter Lim is involved with the club now and there is some money being invested back in the team.

Valencia have a deal in place to sign Alvaro Negredo from Manchester City at the end of the season, and a good start to La Liga sees them currently in second place.


Hamburg is one of Germany’s largest clubs and has been in the top flight since the end of the First World War. But this all nearly changed however at the end of the 2013-14 season.

Hamburg needed to go through a relegation/promotion playoff to ensure their top flight status. They drew 1-1 with second division side Greuther Fürth and only stayed up on away goals.

Due to their poor form Hamburg have had to sell promising youngsters Hakan Çalhano─člu and Son Heung-Min to Bayer Leverkusen. This season Hamburg look set to battle it out again to secure top flight status but have won 1-0 at Borussia Dortmund.

Manchester United
Inter Milan
AC Milan
Premier League
La Liga
Serie A

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