Manchester United are the only team in English football history to pull off the Treble, securing the league title, the European Cup and the FA Cup all in one season. This was United at their peak.
Since then, there has been talk of whether United could win it again. The current bunch of players is the best squad Sir Alex Ferguson has ever had, which he will quite happily admit. If that is the case, then surely another Treble should be on the cards?
Whilst Liverpool harp on about their European success, their last cup coming in 2005, United have the bragging rights for recent history. Considering Liverpool finished fifth in the Premiership the season they won the European Cup, it certainly questions the priorities of this team. The same can be said of the last winners, AC Milan, who were miles away from the top spot in their own league.
Barcelona proved that in the modern game, you could be crowned Champions of your own league as well as in Europe, when they achieved this in 2006, but those kind of teams are few and far between these days. It is looking more and more like you have to focus your attention on one or the other, your domestic title or the Champions League.
Manchester United goalkeeper, who returned to action against Aston Villa in the FA Cup, has today said that he ranks the Champions League above the Premiership. “It is very difficult to make a choice on trophies,” he said. “I don’t think you can really aim for one. I think you have to go with the flow a little bit. But, if you had to make a choice in March or April as to which game you would prefer to play in, then I would prefer the Champions League.”
For me, winning the Champions League has the shine taken off it if you have not won the league title. How can you claim to be the best side in Europe if you’re not even the best team in England (or the best team in Liverpool, in the dippers’ case back in 2005)? Still a remarkable achievement and of course you’d rather win it than not, but for me, the league always has to take priority. The league proves who the best team is. There are no mistakes on the day that trophy is handed out, in contrast to the Champions League, which proves nothing. Putting preference on the Champions League seems to be more an attitude associated with our European players, but it is not an attitude I can agree with.
Do you agree with Van der Sar? Would you prefer another European Cup to add to our honour roll over a league title?