Ranking the teams left in the Champions League quarterfinals

Champions League (Photo by OZAN KOSE/AFP via Getty Images)
Champions League (Photo by OZAN KOSE/AFP via Getty Images) /
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Benfica, Darwin Nunez
Benfica, Darwin Nunez (Photo by JOHN THYS/AFP via Getty Images) /

The UEFA Champions League is officially in its critical and exciting phases, as we are just four stages away from the tournament’s final game. After an exciting Round of 16, in which some teams produced a stunning comeback whereas others did not, we are now in the quarter-final stage, with eight teams remaining with a desire to outperform each other.

Because of its size and how it determines a team’s performance throughout the season, the Champions League is a far more significant and decorated event, and upsets, spectacular comebacks, and surprising displays of football from particular teams are never ruled out.

Even clubs who perform ordinary or below average in their local leagues appear to bear the load in the UCL that allows them to surpass any other team, which is why the European competition is always a source of excitement and debate.

There are eight teams left to eye each other in the fast-approaching quarterfinals, and in this article, I have all of the qualified teams lined up and ranked in order of worst to best for you, which also very firmly indicates the probability of these teams going all the way and winning the Champions League.

Let’s get right into it without further ado!

 8. S.L. Benfica

Starting with the least favourite and poorest club of the remaining eight, we have Benfica, who recently shocked Ajax by eliminating them from the Champions League with an aggregate score of 2-3 in their favour. The Portuguese squad is presently in third place in the Primeira Liga, with 58 points, trailing first-place holders Porto, who have 70.

Despite this, they managed to edge out Ajax, who are comfortably leading their league, and this is why, as previously indicated, local results are entirely unimportant when it comes to the Champions League.

Nobody anticipated Benfica advancing to the quarterfinals, as they assumed their fate to be similar to that of their Portuguese counterparts, Sporting CP, who were outplayed by Manchester City by 5 goals in the Round of 16, but Verssimo proved to be a step ahead of Erik ten Hag and earned a spot in the next knockout round.

All praise to Benfica for pulling off the unexpected, but they remain, quite literally, the worst team among those who remain. Any other name on the list of qualifiers is plainly and readily better than Benfica, putting them in eighth place in our rating and making them the worst of all.

My point is that this should not be mistaken as Benfica’s inferior quality, but rather as a result of the tremendous efficiency of other clubs, which forces the Portuguese club to first place when it comes to being the weakest.

7. Villarreal CF

Anything said in appreciation of this Villarreal team is less for the stature that they have developed in European competitions over the past couple of years. It is a huge accomplishment for a team coming from a city of merely 50,000 people to make it all the way to the final of a European competition and win it as the first-ever trophy in the club’s entire history.

The club that previously failed to reach the highest level of Spanish football suddenly defies all expectations and wins the Europa League. Villarreal has come a long way, most of which must be owed to their boss, Unai Emery, who has entirely turned the squad from a pack of mere survivors to that of fighters.

Winning the UEL assured Emery a berth in the Champions League group stage this season, and the team blasted its way to the quarterfinals of the tournament by stunning a particularly abrasive Juventus side.

As for the ranking from worst to best, Villarreal’s placement above Benfica is decently justified, as the Spanish team has evidenced that they are not a one-season wonder by outclassing the biggest European elites over several seasons now, whereas the team at #8 could still slip into the aforementioned bracket.

There are no concerns about Villarreal’s potential, but it is well recognised that there is a boulder of a difference between winning the Europa League and winning the Champions League. While both competitions are highly sought for, the level of competition drops dramatically when we progress into the Champions League’s second division As a result, Villarreal remains among the weak, if not the weakest.