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Mourinho mocks ‘failed sharks of the UCL’ in a dig at Barcelona and Juventus



There is a looming threat that Barcelona and Juventus could both drop down and qualify for the Europa League knockout stages should they both finish third in their respective Champions League groups.

Jose Mourinho has aimed a not-so-subtle dig at a number of Europe’s biggest clubs by branding them ‘failed sharks of the Champions League’ should they drop down to join his Roma team in the Europa League..

Atletico Madrid and AC Milan are also in danger of suffering the same fate following underwhelming group stage campaigns in UEFA’s elite club competition.

And while Mourinho’s Roma still have some work to do themselves to qualify for the Europa League knockout stages, the former Manchester United, Real Madrid and Inter Milan boss couldn’t resist taking a cheeky dig at his former rivals.

Following a 1-1 draw with Real Betis, Mourinho was asked if he thought the Spanish sides are favourites to win the group with his side sitting in third, which Mourinho smirked and said: ‘I see them [Betis] as candidates, but the failed sharks of the Champions League will arrive, and they will come in hard.

‘They shouldn’t come but it’s the reality. It’s going to be fun. The failures of the Champions League.’

Barcelona are currently third in the Champions League group behind Bayern Munich and Inter Milan and do not have the head-to-head advantage against the Italian side, after they were beaten 1-0 at the San Siro then clawed back a point in a thrilling 3-3 draw back home at the Nou Camp.

Juventus meanwhile also sit third in Group H behind PSG and Benfica, but their hopes of qualifying for the knockouts took a huge dent following an embarrassing 2-0 defeat at the hands of Maccabi Haifa.

Atletico Madrid are now fighting with Porto for the final qualifying spot in Group B given how Club Brugge have already sensationally sealed their spot in the last-16.

While AC Milan find themselves third behind RB Salzburg and three points off Group E leaders Chelsea.

However, should Roma fail to finish in the top two of their group, they will drop down to the Europa Conference League, which would allow them the chance to defend their crown.

Mourinho added: ‘We want to go through and finish second, but if we finish third, we’ll become candidates to retain the Conference League.’

Dropping down to the Europa League could also have dire financial consequences for Barcelona.

Spanish publication Mundo Deportivo have reported how much Barcelona stand to lose financially, unless they are able to win their final two games and other results go their way.

It’s claimed the club will lose £18.4million if they don’t reach the quarter-final stage of the tournament.

As previously reported, Barcelona spent over £132m on rebuilding Xavi’s team in the summer but to pay for the spending they have budgeted this season for the team to reach the last eight of the European competition as a minimum.

Progression now looks unlikely for Xavi’s side though, who also face the task of beating a Bayern Munich side who they have struggled against in recent seasons.

As previously reported, Barcelona would earn around £8.4m if they reach the last 16 and a further £9.3m if they get to the quarter-finals.

From there they would get a further £11m for the semi finals, and £13.6m or £17.5m depending on if they won the final – if they were to get that far.

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