The final stages of the 2020/21 season means all eyes will be on the run-in for those all important Champions League places and who may miss out.
The capitulation of the European Super League means next season’s competition will be unaffected and qualification will go ahead as normal.
The plans are dead, despite what Real Madrid president Florentino Perez thinks, and perhaps by no coincidence some of the teams who would have been part of the European Super League look unlikely to even make the Champions League next season.
In fact, of the 12 ‘founding members’, four – Arsenal, Liverpool, Chelsea, and Tottenham, aren’t in a position to qualify right now.
Meanwhile, Juventus and AC Milan could potentially miss out if results went against them in the coming weeks.
Overall, there are a number of top clubs, and therefore top players, who could be unlikely to play in Europe’s premier competition, unless they move in the summer, but who are the stars who could be unable to showcase themselves on the biggest stage?
Mohamed Salah – Liverpool
The reigning Premier League champions failing to even qualify for the Champions League seemed unthinkable at the start of the season, but that’s the situation we are at at the moment.
The Reds are seventh, but are just two points off Chelsea in fourth place and the race for those spots are heating up.
Salah has been sensational for Liverpool in Europe ever since he joined in 2017, reaching two finals and winning the trophy once.
He netted 11 Champions League goals on their way to the 2018 final, where he was injured early on as they lost to Real Madrid.
The Egypt international has scored another 15 in the following three seasons, including five on their way to victory against Tottenham in 2019.
Salah has proved himself to be one of the best forwards in world football, but faces the very real prospect of being out of the Champions League.
Transfer rumours have been persistent with links to Madrid not going away.
And if Salah is absent then it means teammate Sadio Mane, another fine forward will not be in the competition either.
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Harry Kane – Tottenham
Spurs only qualified for the Europa League last season and that ended pretty disastrously when they were dumped out by Dinamo Zagreb.
This season, Tottenham are sixth in the table and battling for those third and fourth spots.
Like Liverpool, they are just two points off Chelsea following their 2-1 win over Southampton on Wednesday night.
They had to do that without Kane, who is nursing and injury, and they hope he will be back for Sunday’s Carabao Cup final, which is LIVE on talkSPORT.
Kane will be vital to their chances of making the top four this season, in the Premier League alone he has 21 goals and 13 assists.
Should they fail, then the England striker could leave in the summer.
Erling Haaland – Borussia Dortmund
The German side were never part of the European Super League plans and perhaps watched with glee when it all unravelled just 48 hours after it was announced.
They were reportedly offered a place, but wanted no part of it, just like fellow Bundesliga club Bayern Munich.
Dortmund do, though, face the prospect of missing out on next season’s Champions League.
That would mean one of the best strikers in world football, Erling Haaland, missing out.
Haaland, 20, has been sensational since bursting onto the scene last season with Red Bull Salzburg in the Champions League group stages.
He netted ten for Salzburg and Dortmund last season and then a further ten this campaign.
Haaland became the youngest person to reach that milestone and the Champions League next season without him would be a lesser competition.
Dortmund are currently fifth and four points off Eintracht Frankfurt.
Sergio Aguero – Unknown
The Argentine striker is leaving Manchester City in the summer and his next destination is unknown.
This conundrum means it can’t be guaranteed that one of this generation’s finest finshers will be in the Champions League next term.
Over his career with City and Atletico Madrid he’s netted 41 times in the tournament and he’ll want to hit 50 before he retires.
Currently, Chelsea, Tottenham, and Barcelona were the initial main contenders for his signature.
Paris Saint-Germain and Inter Milan are also possibilities and are likely to give Champions League football, but who knows where Aguero will eventually end up this summer.