THE Champions League is a fine, aristocratic competition but, compared to the Premier League, I declare England wins over Europe.
It would be crackers to deny the quality of Uefa’s pet tournament.
Any contest starring Messi and Barcelona, Bale and Modric of champions Real Madrid and Ronaldo of Juventus plus an entire squadron of outstanding players must be highly attractive.
Yet the Premier League has greater virtues. It is no accident dozens of millions of people the world over watch it on TV for its thrills and unpredictability.
Or that most fans, and certainly Liverpool’s, would prefer to win the domestic trophy to the Coupe des Clubs Champions Europeens.
Possibly part of the reason is Liverpool — with 18 top-flight titles to their name — have never won the Premier League since its creation in 1992.
That fact is bound to bring facial twitches from Reds when they are reminded Manchester United have won 13 Prem titles.
As far as Europe’s elite event goes, Liverpool have five titles — most recently in 2004-05 — and United three.
Sheikh Mansour covets a first Coupe so greatly he has spent a reputed £1.3billion to try to pin this badge of honour on Manchester City and bring his Abu Dhabi conglomerate closer to dominating world football.
Where else did he start but the Premier League?
It’s a weekly Star Wars of football — fabulously wealthy, competitive thrills, fluctuating fortunes, stunning rises and shocking falls. And at West Ham, sometimes all in a week!
I love the whole hope opera. Nothing comes easily. You think the team is good but, other than perhaps City and possibly Liverpool, no team is good enough.
No matter how much money you throw at your club, it takes a lot more than money, prayers and passion to keep the team up there.
And I guess at West Ham we think the current players are excellent and with good management can succeed. Let’s hope so.
But other teams in the past have thought that and not delivered.
That’s why the Premier League is the toughest competition.
The Champions League has an immense fashion-show glamour. It relates to the elite, which is its objective, in terms of increased revenue streams and chest-puffing self-congratulation.
But it is not a show for dreamers — the Premier League still is, albeit to a diminishing degree.
There is often talk of an elite European league, top clubs from each country giving up domestic leagues to earn — they hope — greater sums all round.
It might work for them but I have serious doubts about Premier League clubs even considering that.
First of all, they would lose their cut of £7.6bn of league payments.
So I suspect we shall carry on more or less as we are, the Prem attracting huge sums mainly from TV while the top five or six continue to push their claims for more of whatever cake is baking in Europe.
Every other member has ambitions to gatecrash the top but, to a club like Leicester who did just that, the Champions League is a side issue.
The Premier League is far, far more important. And it always will be.