UEFA Champions League Quarter-Finals: 5 Most Valuable Teams That Did Not Qualify This Season

UEFA Champions League Trophy
UEFA Champions League Trophy

The 2023-24 UEFA Champions League season started with 32 wide-eyed teams, all dreaming of going deep into the competition. After grueling group-stage encounters and tense Round-of-16 battles, eight teams — Manchester City, Real Madrid, Barcelona, Atletico Madrid, Arsenal, Borussia Dortmund, Paris Saint-Germain, & Bayern Munich — have qualified for the quarter-finals, leaving the other 24 in despair.

Today, we will take a look at the teams who had the means to make it into the business end of this season’s competition but failed to find a way through. Here are the five most valuable teams who could not qualify for the UEFA Champions League quarter-finals:

Valuation & stats: Transfermarkt

#5 Napoli: €513.15 million ($561.10 million)

Napoli Lost To Barcelona In The Champions League Round Of 16
Napoli Manager Francesco Calzona

Reigning Italian champions Napoli could not go deep into the UEFA Champions League this season. The €513.15 million ($561.10 million) outfit crashed out of the competition after losing to Barcelona in the Round of 16.

The Partenopei finished second in their Champions League group, behind record 14-time winners Real Madrid. In the Round-of-16 first leg, they held Barcelona to a 1-1 draw but failed to deliver in the return leg. Francesco Calzona’s side crumbled under pressure in Catalonia, suffering a 3-1 defeat and exiting the competition.

#4 AC Milan: €533.45 million ($583.30 million)

AC Milan Crashed Out Of The Champions League Group Stage
AC Milan Manager Stefano Pioli

The second-most successful team in UEFA Champions League history, seven-time winners AC Milan also prematurely crashed out of the competition this season. Unlike Napoli, €533.45 million ($583.30 million)-rated Milan could not even qualify for the Round of 16, crashing out in the group stage itself.

Fighting for a top-two finish alongside Paris Saint-Germain, Borussia Dortmund, and Newcastle United in Group F, the Rossonerri fell a little short. With eight points on the board (2 W, 2 D, 2 L), Milan finished third, owing to their inferior head-to-head record with the Parisians. However, after dropping to the UEFA Europa League, Stefano Pioli’s team have turned it around, successfully qualifying for the quarter-finals.

#3 Inter Milan: €622.35 million ($680.51 million)

Inter Milan Crashed Out Of UCL Round Of 16
Inter Milan Manager Simone Inzaghi

Serie A leaders Inter Milan, whose squad valuation stands at €622.35 million ($680.51 million), are the third team on this list. After amassing 12 points from six games (3 W, 3 D), the Nerazzurri finished second in Group D, behind Real Sociedad. Finishing second cost them heavily, as they were pitted against La Liga powerhouse Atletico Madrid in the Round of 16.

Simone Inzaghi’s side beat Atletico 1-0 in the first leg at San Siro but lost the reverse leg 2-1 at the Civitas Metropolitano Stadium. Penalties commenced to decide the match, where Los Rojiblancos came out on top, clinching a 3-2 victory.

#2 Newcastle United: €637.70 million ($697.29 million)

Newcastle United Failed To Cross UEFA Champions League Group Stage
Newcastle United Boss Eddie Howe Looking Dejected

Eddie Howe’s Newcastle United performed superbly to seal a top-four place in the 2022-23 Premier League season. Fans expected the Magpies to show the same zeal in the UEFA Champions League this season, but the story turned out to be quite the opposite. The €637.70 million ($697.29 million)-club fell flat in the tournament of elites, failing to go past the group-stage hurdles.

The Toons were in Group F alongside Paris Saint-Germain, Borussia Dortmund, and AC Milan. The Parisians and Dortmund made it into the Round of 16 while Milan dropped to UEFA Europa League. Finishing fourth with only five points (1 W, 2 D, 3 L), Newcastle exited Europe altogether.

#1 Manchester United: €734.25 million ($802.27 million)

Manchester United Are The Most Valuable Team Who Could Not Qualify For UEFA Champions League Quarter-Finals
Manchester United Manager Erik Ten Hag

Premier League giants Manchester United are at the summit, having failed to cross the group stage despite having a stacked €734.25 million ($802.27 million) team. In Erik ten Hag’s debut season in the UEFA Champions League as Manchester United manager, the team only managed to pick up four points from six games — their lowest ever in the competition’s history.

They suffered four losses, drew once, and managed to win just one game. The Red Devils finished in fourth place — behind Bayern Munich, Copenhagen, and Galatasaray — in Group A and crashed out of Europe. United are aiming to return to the competition next year, but with them trailing fourth-placed Aston Villa by nine points, it seems like an uphill climb.

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