Although national leagues will always be the defining factor when choosing the best teams in the world, the Champions League title will always be the one attracting thousands of fans around the world.
Winning this title isn’t easy though. Top teams make preparations for years to regularly fail when committing their resources into winning it, or advancing through it as much as possible, any specific season.
The reason behind this dynamic is the sheer amount of money UEFA grants clubs for advancing through this continental tourney.
The Financial Distribution
For teams like Barcelona, Manchester United, and Real Madrid, winning the title is about status and pride, but for the vast majority of clubs within UEFA, advancing through the Champions League means more money will enter the club, and that’s always a good thing.
It’s better to keep advancing even knowing your team is going to lose next time.
The Fitness War
Nowadays teams aren’t just training their skills on the field and doing jumping jacks to boost their cardio. These pro athletes are following strict nutrition and fitness programs which have been specially designed for them.
The programs consider lots of variables your generic gym won’t even think about when you train.
The pro football scene skyrocketed in the last five years and now teams are preparing their bodies in ways never seen before. The fact that most teams playing Champions League matches regularly are some of the fittest in UEFA isn’t just a coincidence.
Long gone are those days in which raw talent would define close high-level matches.
The new trend is for clubs to find really talented players, who are also genetic outliers, and make them train from a young age, not just skill but raw physical power.
This dynamic is producing some of the fittest generations of players pro soccer has ever seen, and this trend isn’t going anywhere, as fittest teams are the ones winning in the last years.
Big Results for Fit Teams
Liverpool was the last Champions League winner, one of the most intense teams in the world and definitely the fittest this season, and Chelsea was the Europa League winner, another Premier League tactical-oriented physical team.
On top of that, the last World Cup-winning team, France, is comprised of tall, fast, and powerful players.
The trend is pretty self-explanatory. Currently, physical traits are winning over technical prowess when players are being drafted and it doesn’t seem to be stopping anywhere in the near future.
On top of that, these players are all being trained to become extremely good with the ball on their feet, and it shows!
It’s easy to see why teams are focusing on their fitness more than ever before and how the Champions League is changing how clubs create and design their seasons’ conditioning protocols.
Every team wants a piece of the pie and the price to pay seems to be the extreme focus in fitness in order to compete with the best.
While high pressure and high intensity-oriented teams keep winning most titles, players taking advantage of their physical traits will mostly be the ones drafted and highlighted.
This is ultimately changing the way football is played by an entire generation of players who’re watching these events and practicing while dreaming about the world cup.