Football

EPL is still Europe's best league, say legends

It was in 1999 when Manchester United once again reached the pinnacle of European football.

Under Sir Alex Ferguson's charge, the Red Devils conquered all before them as they won the Premier League, FA Cup and Champions League, becoming the only English side to have completed the Treble.

While three English teams - United, Liverpool and Chelsea - have gone on to win the European Cup in the 16 seasons since then, Spanish sides have established themselves as the dominant forces in the continent.

Furthermore, the struggles of the Premier League teams in this season's Champions League have led many to suggest they have fallen behind their counterparts from the Bundesliga, Serie A and even Ligue 1.

However, former Sweden winger Jesper Blomqvist, a part of that Treble-winning United side in 1999, disagreed that the Premier League is lagging behind the other main leagues in Europe.

"It depends on your definition of what is "the best league"," he told The New Paper.

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"For me, if you look at it as a whole, the Premier League is still the toughest competition.

"There is very little between the top teams and the bottom sides, the EPL is definitely still on top for entertainment."

Ronny Johnsen, Blomqvist's old teammate at United, did concede that English clubs are struggling to perform as well as some of their continental rivals.

"In the Champions League, you sometimes see some teams struggle more than others in certain years," explained the Norwegian.

"Hopefully, for English teams, it will change because at the moment it does look like there are some better teams."

Like Blomqvist, legendary Liverpool striker Ian Rush, who once held the British record transfer fee when he joined Italian giants Juventus in 1986, is adamant the Premier League is still ahead of the rest.

He declared: "I personally think it's the best league in the world.

"It's the most demanding league in the world where any team can beat anyone, and that doesn't happen in Spain or Germany.

"It's the most entertaining league and it's the most difficult to predict."

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