There is a team worth 628 million euros and one from a tiny village of not even 5,000 inhabitants. There is a club from a country not yet globally recognized and a team that has won two UEFA Cups (or rather: one UEFA Cup and one Europa League). The magic of the UEFA Conference League is all about this. In its differences, contrasts, and opposites.
First and foremost, economic opposites. Consider that the most valuable team of Uefa Europa Conference League, Aston Villa, has a squad that would cost over 600 million euros on the market (Ollie Watkins alone is worth 60 million according to Transfermarkt, as are Moussa Diaby and Douglas Luiz, while Pau Torres costs 45 million), while the poorest teams, all together, don’t even reach 13 million. We’re talking about FC Ballkani, Breidablik Kopavogur, and Ki Klaksvik, a club from the remote Faroe Islands. Not even 5,000 inhabitants, players who have other jobs, some work in banks, supermarkets, or offices. Players who now, perhaps, will face Edin Dzeko, who boasts Wolfsburg, Manchester City, Roma, and Inter in his resume, top scorer in Serie A and Bundesliga. Or with Emiliano Martinez, World Champion with Argentina.
A competition of contrasts that obviously sees the richest as the favorite: Aston Villa, whose final victory is played at 3.75. Good chances also for Eintracht Frankfurt, a team that boasts a UEFA Cup in 1980 and a Europa League in 2022, listed at 9.00, or Lille, quoted at 11.00. The second favorite is Fiorentina, which, not by chance, is also the second richest team in the Conference League with a total value of 246 million euros (40 more than Fenerbahce). And precisely the Italian team is among the 7 teams that boast at least one European title, in this case the Cup Winners’ Cup, as well as Slovan Bratislava, Aston Villa, and Aberdeen, while Dinamo Zagreb and Ferencvaros have a UEFA Cup in the 60s.
European champions and shooting stars, big clubs and extras, titled, famous, award-winning players, and people who don’t even play professionally. The Conference League amazes precisely for this, for representing the union between impossible worlds. And for guaranteeing everyone access to a dream. Something that only football can do.
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