Essien, Fletcher, Badstuber and Other Champions League Squad Omissions
On Monday the 32 teams remaining in the UEFA Champions League were compelled to submit squad lists to European football’s governing body.
Article 18 of the Champions League regulations states that no club can register more than 25 players for the group stage and knockout portion of the competition, and of those 25 a minimum of eight must be “locally trained,” as in players having spent three full seasons at their current clubs between the ages of 15 and 21.
“If a club has fewer than eight locally trained players in its squad, then the maximum number of players...is reduced accordingly,” the regulations read.
Given these stipulations, a handful of high-profile players are typically omitted from their clubs’ Champions League squad lists each season, and this campaign is no exception.
Chelsea, for example, left both Michael Essien and Josh McEachran off their list—both players no doubt the casualties of an increasingly deep midfield corps at Stamford Bridge.
Essien’s omission is somewhat surprising, however, given his ability to play full-back as well. With his extensive experience in Europe’s premier club competition (his left-footed volley against Barcelona in 2009 still sticks in the mind), his absence from Jose Mourinho’s list raised a few eyebrows.
Manchester United also left a pair of recognizable faces off their squad sheet.
That Darren Fletcher will play no part in this season’s Champions League is hardly surprising given his chronic bowel problem, and just last month he banned himself from the club’s Carrington training ground saying it was “difficult being there when you are not actually training.”
But United’s decision to register only two goalkeepers is rather curious. David de Gea and Anders Lindegaard got the nods obviously, but there was no place for Ben Amos.
Paris Saint-Germain’s bloated squad was always going to result in a few casualties when it came time for manager Laurent Blanc to make his Champions League selections, and on Monday the former France boss submitted a list that included neither Mathieu Bodmer nor Mohamed Sissoko, who was released from the club shortly after the UEFA deadline came and went.
Finally, Bayern Munich were unable to register Holger Badstuber, as the Germany defender is only expected to make his return from injury in March 2014.
In May the 24-year-old suffered a setback in his comeback attempt following last December’s cruciate ligament tear, and given the shortage of football he’ll have under his belt heading into the summer he’s unlikely to be included in Joachim Low’s Germany squad for the World Cup, either.
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