11 Non-European Clubs That Could Compete in the Champions League
Barcelona president Sandro Rosell came out last week and expressed his desire for a reduced Premier League and an expanded Champions League.
Whilst I am definitely against reducing the amount of teams in the EPL, there are definitely pros and cons to expanding the Champions League.
Money and TV rights would obviously be beneficial to all, but I wouldn't want my beloved Liverpool travelling to (let's say) Brazil on a Wednesday only have to be back on Merseyside for a Sunday game.
Before you say it, I am acutely aware that Liverpool aren't currently in the Champions League but the point remains the same. It just seems unfeasible to expand beyond Europe based on travel time alone.
That aside I was given the task of listing some teams outside of Europe that could compete in the Champions League - hypothetically of course.
Note the key word compete, so don't read this article expecting a list of teams that could actually win the competition. Chelsea have a hard enough time doing that.
Hope you enjoy and let me know your thoughts.
Follow me on twitter @petercwebster
Club Atletico Velez Sarsfield
Club Atletico Velez Sarsfield are based in Buenos Aires, Argentina and are the 2011 Argentine Primera Division champions (Clausura) which is the top level competition in their country.
I actually would expect them to fare moderately well if they featured in the Champions League.
Tout Puissant Mazembe
TP Mazembe are the first team from Africa to make it to the final of the FIFA club World Cup after knocking out Internacional in the semi-finals in 2010.
It would be nice to have African representation in the Champions League, and with some good guidance TP Mazembe could be the team to do it.
Sport Club Corinthians Paulista are Brazil's richest football club with revenue of approximately $132 million per annum.
Despite not having the best run of league form recently, they have the financial clout to make an impact.
Former Italian Serie A enigma Adriano currently plies his trade for the club.
C.D.Guadalajara or Chivas are one of the most successful teams in Mexican football history and finished runner up in the 2010 Copa Libertadores.
The likes of Carlos Salcido, Carlos Vela and Javier Hernandez have all played at Guadalajara at a young age suggesting that Chivas produce the quality needed to play in the Champions League.
Seongnam Ilhwa Chunma
After winning their own respective AFC Champions League title in 2010, Seongnam Ilhwa Chunma went on to finish 4th in the FIFA Club World Cup 2010.
They are based in Seoul, South Korea and play in the K-League.
Their recent Western Conference and MLS cup wins shows they are a team on the up, and have good financial backing to go further.
Whilst they may lessen the quality expected of Champions League teams, you can't deny they're Champions in their own right and after all—group stages are there for a reason.
Al-Ahly S.C were named African club of the Century in 2000 by the Confederation of African football.
They have featured heavily in the FIFA Club World Cup since it's inception and are one of the most successful African teams.
With a nickname of The Greatest Club in the Universe, let's hope they'd be able to back that claim up.
Cruz Azul are the top ranked team among CONCACEF and Mexico and they play in the Primera Division.
They narrowly missed out on the FIFA Club World Cup in 2010 after conceding a last minute goal to Pachuca.
Another Brazilian team capable of creating some upsets are Santos FC.
Santos play in the Campeonato Paulista and the Campeonato Brasileiro Serie A leagues which are the highest professional leagues that Brazil offer.
Santos have a star player in Neymar who has been linked in a pre-contract agreement with Real Madrid.
The Argentinean team has boasted some impressive players in the past including Juan Roman Riquelme, Carlos Tevez, Marcelo Delgado, Walter Samuel and Oscar Cordoba.
If anyone could warrant enough support to be considered a Champions League outfit, then surely it's Boca Juniors.
I'm sure that there are many quality teams in world football that I have failed to mention or even consider, but these are the clubs that sprang to mind when writing this article.
Please let me know your thoughts on any contenders that you think could handle life in the Champions League and thanks for taking the time to read my article.
Follow me on twitter @petercwebster