By 90Min
April 09, 2018

Football clubs are always striving for greater success, both domestically and in Europe's biggest club competition - the Champions League. Doing so allows these teams to elevate in stature both on and off the field, bringing in new revenue and playing talent in the process.

These six clubs have done exactly that and have made huge strides in recent years.


Paris Saint-Germain

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Barring a monumental collapse, Paris Saint-Germain will collect a fifth Ligue 1 title in the last six years this season. But it will only be the club's seventh French crown overall, having won just two in 42 years prior to the 2012/13 season.

So what sparked such a big change in PSG's fortunes?

Oryx Qatar Sports Investment bought the club in 2011, bringing with them a massive transfer budget which was used to secure the world record €222m capture of Neymar last summer. Today, PSG are on the verge of securing their seventh league title, drawing them level with Lyon. Only four other clubs have more French league crowns. 

With increased dominance at home has come further expectation for results in the Champions League. PSG have so far been unable to crack that nut, but disappointment over their failures in Europe shows just how far the club has come in a short period of time.


Chelsea

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Chelsea had won trophies in the late 1990s, but the club's trophy cabinet got a huge boost when Roman Abramovich arrived in 2003 and began investing heavily. Premier League titles in 2004/05 and 2005/06 were the start, but the Champions League still alluded them.

After near misses in 2007/08 and 2008/09, that glory finally came in 2011/12. Ironically, Chelsea were actually underdogs on that occasion, but it mattered little.

Where Premier League titles and European triumphs were once a distant dream, now they are the expectation, and failure to deliver on both fronts this season has raised serious questions about the club's direction.


Atletico Madrid

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A decade ago, Atletico Madrid were Spanish football's greatest underachievers. Since winning La Liga and the Copa del Rey in 1995/96, they had been relegated from the top flight and upon their return were a mid-table side at best.

The team saw an improvement from 2007, reaching the Champions League in back-to-back seasons. They won the Europa League in 2009/10 and 2011/12, the latter with Diego Simeone as coach.

A year later, Atletico won the Copa del Rey and rose to third in La Liga to return to the Champions League. Then, in 2013/14, Simeone's team became the first Spanish team in 10 years to break the Real Madrid/Barcelona stranglehold on La Liga by finishing 1st, as well as reaching the Champions League final. A second Champions League final appearance followed in 2015/16.


Leicester City

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Leicester City went from playing in the Championship, English football's second tier, to winning the Premier League within the space of just two years between 2014 and 2016. Within three, they had reached the quarter finals of the Champions League.

With the top of the Premier League seemingly an exclusive and closed club, nobody could have expected the Foxes to achieve what they did.

But, as much of a fairytale as it was, it has raised expectation in Leicester. No longer are fans happy with simply staying in the Premier League. They want to see their team back in Europe and the players are certainly trying their best to make that happen this season.


RB Leipzig

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RB Leipzig only came in to existence almost a decade ago, officially forming in May 2009 when Red Bull took over local village team SSV Markranstadt in the fifth tier of German football.

From there, it was promotion after promotion for the new club. The target was to reach the Bundesliga in eight years, but Leipzig were there in seven.

Even with a handful of players from their lower league days still at the club, Leipzig finished second in their first ever Bundesliga season in 2016/17. That qualified them for the Champions League and they are in the mix to qualify again for Europe's elite competition in 2018/19.


Manchester City

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August 2018 will mark 10 years of Sheikh Mansour's ownership of Manchester City and the huge change in the club's fortunes after a yo-yo existence in the 1990s and a rollercoaster ride in the Premier League in the mid 2000s.

As soon as the new owner started investing in players, staff and infrastructure, the club's ambitions began changing. A first trophy in 35 years arrived in 2010/11 in the shape of the FA Cup and a first league title in 44 years followed the very next season.

City have blown away all before them in the Premier League in 2017/18, setting a huge new English league record for consecutive wins. Winning the Champions League for the first time is now the next big target in their whirlwind journey.


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