AC Milan will head to Newcastle in the final round of the Champions League group stages with the hopes of achieving a miracle and reaching the last 16, but dropping into the Europa League might not be all doom and gloom.
Journalist Giovanni Capuano writes on Twitter that Milan have ‘no choice’ on the last day against Newcastle: they must win to stay in Europe. Whether it is enough to stay in the UCL depends on Dortmund-PSG, but getting third and playing in the Europe League play-offs is ‘worth it’.
There are two reasons why for Capuano. The first is that it allows the Rossoneri to accumulate points for UEFA ranking so as to avoid future draws from low pots, like happened this time being in Pot 3.
Secondly there is the financial aspect: even without winning it, getting relatively far in the competition offers up earnings very similar to those that getting to the round of 16 in the Champions League would offer.
As an example, Juventus exited the group stage of the Champions League in December, reaching the semi-final of the Europa League. They collected €10m from UEFA between prize money and the market pool.
Then, they also got the gate receipts for home matches against FC Nantes, SC Freiburg, Sporting CP and Sevilla which was worth another €8.6m, for a total of around €18.6m.
Winning it would be worth another €12m, including participation in the European Super Cup, as well as guaranteeing a spot in the Champions League for 2024-25 as a Pot 1 team.
Would it affect league form? That is something that must be further analysed, but Juventus reached the top four mathematically last season despite playing in the Europa League from February onwards, before their points deduction.