Can you spend your way to the Champions League? Not necessarily, but it certainly improves your chances, based on analysis of the last 10 seasons, which shows a strong correlation between revenue and progress to the latter stages.
Tottenham Hotspur face a tricky trip to Italian title holders AC Milan when the Champions League knockout stage begins on Tuesday, but history is on their side.
Although money is no guarantee of success, European football’s most prestigious club competition has become the preserve of the very wealthiest teams.
Those outside the top 10 of Deloitte’s Football Money League are at a severe disadvantage, analysis of results in the last decade shows – and that is good news for Spurs.
Tottenham were ranked ninth in the annual rich list last month, which is based on revenue in the previous season and is the most widely-used measure of wealth.
Milan, meanwhile, were 16th, despite being one of the game’s most storied names and winning Serie A for the 19th time.
Spurs’ income was £443m, almost double the Italian champions’ £224m, underlining the growing financial superiority of the Premier League.
Deloitte’s Football Money League: A proxy for the Champions League?
The extent to which Deloitte ranking has almost become a proxy for the latter stages of the Champions League is laid bare in analysis of the competition since 2013.
Only twice in that time have clubs in the top 10 of the Football Money League not made up the majority of quarter-finalists and semi-finalists – and on both occasions they had half of the representatives.
Non-top-10 sides have virtually no chance of reaching the final and even less hope of winning it. Atletico Madrid are the only team to have made it that far in the last 10 editions of the competition, in 2016 and 2014, and lost to neighbours Real Madrid on both occasions.
There is sure to be at least three non-top-10 Money League clubs in this season’s Champions League quarter-finals, however.
Eintracht Frankfurt play Napoli, Club Brugge meet Benfica and Inter Milan face Porto in ties solely involving teams not in the upper reaches of the rich list.
There could even be as many as six, with Borussia Dortmund, who face Chelsea on Wednesday, and RB Leipzig, who drew Manchester City, as well as Milan among those still in contention.