90min’s Definitive European Power Rankings: Week 23 – Black Books Special

​Following a week in which: 

– No one LISTENED to Maurizio Sarri. 

– No one WATCHED the Europa League. 

– No one TASTED defeat quite like Arsenal. 

– No one could TOUCH an irrepressible Bayern Munich side. 

– No one SNIFFLED without the closing down half a country. 

We, using quotes from classic sitcom ‘Black Books’, rank the 15 best teams in Europe. 

15. Juventus (Down 7) 

Miralem Pjanic,Adrien Rabiot

“I do sell a lot of w–k, don’t I?”

God, ​Juventus did buy a lot of w–k central midfielders, didn’t they? 

It wasn’t that long ago that Juve had the most dynamic and physically dominant midfielder in Europe. 

Now they have Adrien Rabiot, Miralem Pjanic, Aaron Ramsey, Blaise Matuidi, Rodrigo Bentancur and Sami Khedira. 

Only one of those people can run – Matuidi – and he can’t play football. AT ALL. 

14. Real Madrid (Down 4) 

Sergio Ramos

“What do they want from me? Why can’t they leave me alone? I mean, what do they want from me?”

Pep Guardiola just will not leave ​Real Madrid alone. 

At the Bernabeu, Pep-led teams have now beaten Los Blancos on five occasions – and only lost on one. 

13. SSC Napoli (Re-Entry) 

Dries Mertens

“You can paint with both hands – that’s nice.”

Unlike Lionel Messi, Dries Mertens can kick a football with both feet – that’s nice.

On Tuesday night he used his right foot to curl in his 121st Napoli goal, and join Marek Hamsik at the top of the club’s all-time goalscoring list. That’s nice. 

12. Barcelona (Down 3) 

Quique Setien

“I’m eating scrambled eggs, with a comb, from a shoe!”

Quique Setien played Arturo Vidal, one the best CENTRAL MIDFIELDERS of his generation, as a right midfielder. 

Much like eating scrambled eggs with a comb from a shoe, that is idiotic. IDIOTIC!

And of course, it was a complete disaster too, as Vidal was sent off and ​Barcelona lumbered to a 1-1 draw at the Stadio San Paolo. 

11. Olympique Lyonnais (New Entry) 

Olympique Lyon v Juventus - UEFA Champions League Round of 16: First Leg

“He’s a young guy, he likes the Stereophonics, he rides a scooter. Let’s see how far I can push him.”

Olympique Lyonnais were more than deserving of their famous win over Juventus, but the job isn’t done quite yet. Let’s see if they can do it again in a few weeks time. 

10. Manchester United (Re-Entry) 

Bruno Fernandes

“The only thing that’s going to bring me inner peace is a beard-seeking missile!”




It’s fair to say that ​Manchester United fans like their new signing, and they bloody well should be; he’s the beard-seeking missile firing the Red Devils back into the big time, baybee!

9. Inter (Up 4) 


“Well, maybe we could sit down, open a bottle of wine and watch it together?”

Juventus vs Inter is must watch tv this weekend. 

So on Sunday night, crack open a bottle of wine (or Guinness…preferably a tun of Guinness), sit back and watch an Antonio Conte-led Inter beat Juve into submission. 

8. Atalanta (Down 6)

Hans Hateboer,Robin Gosens

“It’s charming. It has character.”

Atalanta didn’t play this past week because, to quote a Bergamo local: “[Coughs profusely].” 

7. Atletico Madrid (Down 4) 


“There’s only one system: bet, lose, borrow, steal, lose, take the drugs, lose, prison…death.”

There’s only one tactical system at ​Atletico Madrid: defend, snatch a lucky goal, defend, defend, waste time, defend, randomly hit the post, defend…win 1-0. 



This past weekend, Atleti went goal crazy – by their standards – by going all-out-attack – by their standards – and winning a game 3-1. Madness. 

6. Borussia Dortmund (Down 2) 

Erling Haaland

“What’s under there?”

“Dunno. We just call it…the thing.”

Erling Haaland scored his 40th goal of the season in ​Borussia Dortmund’s 2-0 win over Werder Bremen.

Yes, his 40th. 

Yes, we know he’s only 19 years old. 

Yes, it is ridiculous. 

5. RB Leipzig (Up 1) 

Julian Nagelsmann

“This paint will make a tasty dish! Yes! Yes! My oven can cook anything, my oven can cook…BITS OF OVEN!”

Julian Nagelsmann is one fantastic manager! Yes! Yes! 

He can turn any team into a group of world beaters. He made Hoffenheim a Champions League club while he there, and now he’s making RB Leipzig genuine title contenders. 

Yes! Yes! 

4. Manchester City (Up 10) 

Josep Guardiola

“If you’re gonna give the guy pencils for drinking his wine, you’re talking about, you know, magic pencils. You draw a cow, the cow comes to life – those kind of pencils!”

Prior to most Champions League knockout games in recent years, Pep Guardiola has drawn up some wavy gravy tactics on a whiteboard that his players have looked at, with heads tilted, and thought: ‘What in sweet honourable Jesus is he thinking?’ 

This utterance is then usually followed up by a disastrous defeat. 

But, this past week, Pep drew up some – let’s say, creative – tactics that actually worked. 

By dropping three of his four best players and playing an out-and-out centre forward as a left winger, Guardiola out-thought Zinedine Zidane and masterminded the great Champions League win in ​Manchester City’s history. 

3. Liverpool (Up 2) 

Georginio Wijnaldum,Jürgen Klopp

“You know, in Tibet, if they want something, do you know what they do? They give something away.”

“They do, do they? That must be why they’re such a dominant global power.”

You know, at Anfield, if they want something, do you know what they do? They give something away. 

Two years ago that ‘something’ was Philippe Coutinho. 

And since then, ​Liverpool have become a dominant global power set to win their first Premier League title in 30 years. 

2. Bayern Munich (Up 5) 

Serge Gnabry

“We’re on the pig’s back, charging through a velvet field.”

Bayern Munich’s post-Christmas form: 

Played: 8.

Won: 7.

Drawn: 1. 

Lost: 0.

Goals Scored: 27.

Goals Conceded: 7.

Goal Difference: +20. 

Too good. 

1. SS Lazio (-) 

Ciro Immobile

“So what’s it like, then, fags and booze?”

“Well. To be honest. After years of smoking and drinking, you do sometimes look at yourself and think.” 


“You know, just sometimes in between the first cigarette with coffee in the morning to that 400th glass of corner shop piss at 3AM, you do sometimes look at yourself and think…”


“This is fantastic. I’m in heaven.”

Remember back in 2018 when Napoli beat Juventus 1-0, celebrated like they’d won the Scudetto, and then bottled an away game at a mid-table side the following week? 

Well that’s basically what half of Italy thought would happen after SS Lazio beat Inter two weeks ago. 

However, it didn’t. 

Instead, Lazio followed up their title race-defining win by collecting another crucial three points away at Genoa. 

It was fantastic. 

Lazio fans are in heaven. 


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