FIFA president Gianni Infantino’s long-held ambition to bring the world’s top clubs (32!) together in a grand final tournament every four years will see the light of day in 2025, and Benfica will almost certainly be among them. It was already known that UEFA would be entitled to 12 seats (plus 6 for South America, 4 for Asia, Africa and Concacaf, 1 for Oceania and 1 for the host club), but yesterday FIFA shed some light. on how they will be assigned. And the criteria benefit the incarnates.
Four of those 12 European places will go to the Champions League winners of the four years preceding the competition – namely the European champions of 2021 (Chelsea), 2022 (Real Madrid), 2023 and 2024. “ranking of clubs with based on the same four period of the year”. But with a caveat: there will be a limit of two clubs per country, unless three or more different clubs from the same confederation are continental champions in that quadrennial. In the European case, this will only be possible for the 2025 Club World Cup if Manchester City win the Champions League this year and an English club other than Chelsea or City wins the competition in 2024.
In this way, at least six European countries will be represented in the inaugural event of the new World Cup. Which immediately increases the chances of the Portuguese.
It remains to be seen how the clubs will be ranked to find those eight spots – or more, because if a club is European champion more than once in that four-year period, it opens up an extra place in the rankings. FIFA said it would have “further consultations with confederations and stakeholders to determine the calculation mechanisms”, which would be based on “sporting criteria”.
It therefore follows that the criteria for drawing up the ranking will be the same for all confederations. If so, it is likely that, in the European case, only Champions League results will be taken into account – because the number and format of club competitions is very different between continents. If FIFA decides to limit the ranking to results in the main club competition, Benfica is guaranteed. In the last three seasons (including the current one), which already count towards qualification (the 2023-24 season will be missing), only six clubs have made multiple appearances in the Champions League quarter-finals: Real Madrid, Chelsea, Manchester City. , Liverpool, Bayern and Benfica.
UEFA, however, already has a club ranking. It’s unlikely to be used as it couldn’t be replicated in the rest of the world, but it also shows Benfica’s favorable position. Counting the last three years, Benfica is currently in 10th place. But among the nine in front of him there are four Englishmen, who would soon remove two… In the top 20 of the current ranking, in fact, there are only four clubs outside the four main leagues (England, Spain, Germany and Italy ): Benfica, Porto, PSG and Ajax. They are the main candidates for the four vacancies that will theoretically remain. With Benfica and PSG standing out.