Following a year in which:
- Bayern Munich won five trophies.
- COVID ruined everything.
- Liverpool won the Premier League.
- COVID ruined everything.
- Leeds United won promotion to the Premier League.
- COVID RUINED EVERYTHING!!!!!!!
We at 90min's Definitive European Power Rankings headquarters have decided to try - TRY - to end the year on a high by ranking the 15 best teams of the year with quotes from some of the best films of 2020 (yes, some films actually came out in 2020):
15. Aston Villa
"This isn’t the Great Beyond. It’s the Great Before." (Soul)
2020 felt like a 'Great Before' for Aston Villa - a year in which the club set the foundations for a pretty damn exciting future.
They convinced Jack Grealish to sign a contract extension, they fixed their striker problem by signing Ollie Watkins, they got John McGinn back to full fitness and they tightened up their defence.
Now, heading into 2021, Villa are one of the better teams in the league and look set to only get, well, better.
"We have to take what we can when the taking is good."
"That seems dangerous."
"So is anything worth doing." (First Cow)
While the Premier League big boys are struggling to find any sort of consistency, Southampton are taking advantage while it's there to be taken.
They racked up points at a club record-breaking rate in 2020 thanks in large part to genuinely lovely man Ralph Hasenhuttl.
13. SSC Napoli
"You have to start looking at the world in a different way." (Tenet)
2020 was a tale of two polar opposite tactical approaches for SSC Napoli.
During the first half of the year Gennaro Gattuso set his side up to sneak a goal and defend it for their lives. And, you know, credit where it's due it did work - Napoli did do exactly that to win the Coppa Italia.
In the second half of the year I Partenopei have gone on the offensive, attempting to outscore every single team they come up against. And credit where it's due again but that's working too - Napoli are one of the frontrunners to lift the Scudetto in 2021.
"People stay in unhealthy relationships because it’s easier. Basic physics. An object in motion tends to stay in motion. People tend to stay in relationships past their expiration date. It’s Newton’s first law of emotion." (I'm Thinking of Ending Things)
Neil Lennon and Celtic's relationship is past its expiration date. Results have been terrible over the past few months and the Bhoys look doomed to watch on as their Old Firm rivals Rangers lift the SPFL trophy at the end of the 2020/21 season.
'So why are Celtic even in this list?'
That's a good question with a pretty simple answer: trophies.
Despite how god awful they've been this season, last season Celtic won a fourth consecutive treble.
Three trophies in 2020 = place in the end of year Definitive European Power Rankings. That's how it works.
"Gentlemen, welcome back..." (Da 5 Bloods)
After watching arch rivals Benfica lift the Primeira Liga title in 2019, Porto hit back in 2020.
The Portuguese giants not only reclaimed the league title in 2020, but they also won the Taca de Portugal (FA Cup equivalent) and qualified for the knockout stages of the UEFA Champions League.
Porto, welcome back to the big time.
"History isn't here yet. It's coming, but maybe this time we can take it on our own terms." (First Cow)
Ok, let's rattle off some numbers to back up why Rangers are 10th in the end of year Definitive European Power Rankings.
Rangers 2020/21 season so far:
Goals Scored: 85
Goals Conceded: 15
Goal Difference: +60
A first SPFL title in a decade isn't here yet. But it's coming.
9. Leeds United
"Don't try and understand it - feel it." (Tenet)
Leeds United aren't the best team in Europe (being ninth in the DEPRs tells you as much) but they might be the most fun to watch.
As likely to lose 6-2 as they are to win 5-0 - they did both over the Christmas period - Marcelo Bielsa's Leeds are a team that we'll never fully understand, but we'll enjoy them nonetheless.
Oh also, stay off Twitter Leeds. Or, you know, get someone other than 12-year-old wee boy to run your official account at the very least.
"So are you good guys or bad guys?"
"Depends on the century."
"We fight for what we think is right." (The Old Guard)
Are Juventus good or bad?
A ninth consecutive Scudetto suggests the former, but watching the team week in, week out suggests the latter.
I guess we'll find out in 2021...
7. Olympique Lyonnais
"You cannot capture a man's entire life in two hours. All you can hope is to leave the impression of one." (Mank)
Usually, you cannot ascertain the credentials of a football team in an hour and a half. One game usually isn't enough.
So when Lyon beat Man City to reach the UEFA Champions League semi finals most people assumed it was simply a fluke. However, when you take a look at just how well the Ligue 1 side have performed since that win, you'll see that the Lyon that showed up for the quarter final meeting with Man City is, well, Lyon.
It's who they are right now.
They're one of the very best teams in Europe. Their wins over Juventus, Man City, Paris Saint-Germain and their place at the top of Ligue 1 prove it.
"You simply must trust us." (Da 5 Bloods)
Sevilla are the first football team to trust Julen Lopetegui in quite a while, and that trust has been repaid with a big massive, fairly odd looking, trophy called the Europa League in 2020.
Los Nervionenses' continued very, very, very decent form since winning that trophy rightfully places them among Europe's elite this year.
5. Real Madrid
"Winning elections, that's the first thing on your wish list? Equality, justice, education, poverty and progress, they're second?" (The Trial of the Chicago 7)
Winning games of football, that's the first thing on Real Madrid's wish list. Everything else is second.
For the most part in 2020, Real Madrid won games of football.
And while the football hasn't been great, while there's concerns over the lack of goals scored by people not named 'Sergio Ramos' or 'Karim Benzema', Los Blancos have continued to win games. And that, for them, is all that matters.
4. Paris Saint-Germain
"In the real world, the power goes to where it always goes, to the people that already have it." (Project Power)
Look, we've already discussed how great Lyon are and how great it is that they're top of Ligue 1, but we all know how the 2020/21 season ends.
It ends with PSG as champions, and probably also as domestic treble winners.
In Ligue 1, the title goes to where it always goes, to Paris Saint-Germain.
3. AC Milan
"We have a real connection. A rare and intense attachment. I’ve never experienced anything like it." (I'm Thinking of Ending Things)
How is it even possible?
How is Zlatan Ibrahimovic, a 39-year-old forward who's had a serious cruciate ligament injury, able to sign for AC Milan and immediately make them basically unbeatable?
How is he still this good?
"I’m due. Heck, I’m overdue." (Soul)
Despite 2020 being the a bit of sh*tshow of a year (to say the least), Liverpool fans will take solace in the fact that they finally watched their football team win a long overdue Premier League title.
We expect they won't have to wait quite as long for another.
1. Bayern Munich
"Brilliance should be acknowledged." (The Gentlemen
I mean, of course Bayern Munich are top of the 2020 end of year DEPR.
They're the best team in Europe. It's just a fact.
The UEFA Champions League win proves it, as does the Bundesliga title... and the DFB-Pokal...and the UEFA Super Cup...and the DFB-Supercup.
They won everything.
They beat everyone.
They are the best.