Champions League 2021/22 favourites: Who has the best squad in Europe?

(Image credit: Getty)

We were told there would be a toll with the pandemic. That footballers would not longer sell for quite as much as they did before. 

Well, that might be true - but it certainly doesn't  like they're short of money in the French capital. Achraf Hakimi, Gini Wijnaldum, Sergio Ramos, Gianluigi Donnarumma and of course Lionel Messi were all added to a squad that managed to retain Kylian Mbappe, too. 

So we thought we'd compare how PSG stack up to the rest of Europe, by comparing the squad depth across the eight most valuable sides on the continent. 

Not every player in every squad will be part of their manager's plans, but if you had the choice to take over one of these sides, who would you choose?

Paris Saint-Germain

CL team squads

(Image credit: Future)

Keylor Navas has been one of the most underrated goalkeepers in the world in the past few years - and PSG have brought in the keeper that won Player of the Tournament at Euro 2020. Not to mention the fact that Alphonse Areola was also quality - yet not good enough to stay. And that's just in goal.

There are leaders across the pitch here, with the obvious standouts of that attack. Pablo Sarabia was great for Spain at the Euros; Julian Draxler is still a good player - and both are nowhere near PSG's best team.

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The wealth of options in midfield is unbelievable too, with pretty much every profile you could need. The question now is how it all slots together...


CL team squads

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Not content with their lot, the European Champions went out and threw £100m at Romelu Lukaku. Blimey. 

Chelsea famously stockpile talent but even by their standards, their current crop is insane. The options in attack are outrageous, while the likes of Ethan Ampadu, Conor Gallagher and Billy Gilmour are all good enough for other Premier League sides but not currently part of Thomas Tuchel's thinking.

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The Blues looked a little weak at the back under Frank Lampard - but that's all fixed now under Tuchel. Still, you wouldn't bet against them spending £150m on another couple of defenders next summer.

Bayern Munich

CL team squads

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Bayern lost David Alaba and Jerome Boateng in the summer - and it barely dents the defence. 

Pinching the league's biggest stars certainly has its benefits for Bayern Munich, who brought in Benjamin Pavard, Joshua Kimmich, Leon Goretzka, Robert Lewandowski, Serge Gnabry and most recently Dayot Upamecano from rivals. But another strength is the youth that Die Roten have. Jamal Musiala and Alphonso Davies have established themselves after coming through the ranks.

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As a result as being the supreme force in Germany, Bayern have by far the best young prospects, the pick of German players and shrewd buys that they've bought before the player matured. It's an impressively assembled squad and it's packed with quality and competition. 

Manchester United

CL team squads

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Manchester United's squad, on paper, is the strongest it's been since Sir Alex Ferguson left in 2013. The attacking depth alone is frightening - and that's even aside from Cristiano Ronaldo re-joining.

United's big names across the pitch really catch the eye: Jadon Sancho, Raphael Varane Harry Maguire, Paul Pogba and Marcus Rashford are all standout headliners but there are still some phenomenal squad players in there, too. Alex Telles is an excellent backup full-back, Donny van de Beek would get in most Premier League sides and the depth of goalkeepers is great.

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United are another team, however, with a superb academy. When you can bring the likes of Rashford, Mason Greenwood and Scott McTominay into the side, you're always going to have a strong squad. 

Manchester City

CL team squads

(Image credit: Future)

OK - so City didn't land Harry Kane. It's still one of the strongest squads in world football, with or without the England captain.

The depth in midfield is everything you'd expect from a Guardiola side, while each defender cost at least £30m. There are leaders across the pitch now and Gareth Southgate is pretty thankful for the English core in the side, too.

No Aguero, no Kane, no problem. This City side can still slice you open in a plethora of ways. 


CL team squads

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Barcelona aren't what they were - but still have half a dozen star names to make the average football fan tune in...

The experience across the pitch is incredible, with Barca able to field so many title winners and international captains, while there are a number of quality youngsters coming through, too. While the club don't have much variety in terms of profiles, they have the ability to bring in similar players to do similar jobs - whatever side they pick from this lot, they could pass you to death.

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You can see why they're keen to offload many of these guys. They could look much better this time next year.


CL team squads

(Image credit: Future)

You can forget how good Liverpool's squad actually is. Injuries ripped through it last campaign, depleting them to the bare bones, and there isn't exactly a raft of talent competing for the front three spots, like a lot of Champions League-chasing sides.

Ironically, the depth in defence is now superb, having added Ibrahima Konate and got the likes of Alexander-Arnold, Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez back. Liverpool are stacked in midfield even without Wijnaldum, too - if everyone's fit from that bunch, it's a tough choice of who Jurgen Klopp fields.

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And there's the attack, which aside from the iconic front three, has Diogo Jota competing for a spot with Divock Origi - plus there's the injured Harvey Elliott who tore up the Championship for fun last season. Maybe we're all underrating this Reds side...

Real Madrid

CL team squads

(Image credit: Future)

They've lost Sergio Ramos and Raphael Varane... and yet David Alaba, another world-class footballer just slots in perfectly.

Real Madrid have barely spent money on anyone in recent times - but with this set of players, why would you need to? The core of the squad is phenomenal, with excellent options in midfield and experience across the side. It's an unbelievable group of players to pick from. 

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And it's likely to add Mbappe next season - potentially Haaland, too...

Atletico Madrid

CL team squads

(Image credit: Future)

Atletico Madrid don't make a fanfare going about their transfer business. Hell, the Griezmann signing attracted more attention from Barcelona selling than it did from Atletico signing the World Cup winner.

But they've quietly built one of the most enviable selections of players in Europe over the years. There's quality in every position and they're superbly drilled - as Real and Barca hit a transition period, Atleti look favourites for another title.

What about a European run, too? It could happen, looking at this side...

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Mark White
Staff Writer

Mark White has been a staff writer on FourFourTwo since joining in January 2020, writing pieces for both online and the magazine. An encyclopedia of football shirts and boots knowledge – both past and present – Mark has also been to the FA Cup and League Cup finals for FFT and has written pieces for the mag ranging on subjects from Bobby Robson's season at Barcelona to Robinho's career. He once saw Tyrone Mings at a petrol station in Bournemouth but felt far too short to ask for a photo.