How will Leicester fare versus Champions League royalty?
That’s the question bookmakers Ladbrokes seeks to answer with its new online tool Champions League Champions, which pits the Foxes against the best teams in this year’s Champions League competition using a range of stats and criteria, including biggest signing of the summer and the squads’ collective value.
Seen as the underdogs in the competition, Leicester has made a flying start so far, topping Group G with two wins from both games they’ve played.
However, they’ll only encounter teams that could be counted among Champions League royalty, such as five-time winners Real Madrid, should they make it out of the groups.
Analysing the competition
Ladbrokes’ tool shows just how strong Leicester’s underdog status really is. It compares them to the Champions League favourites across a number of different areas, including top goal scorers, experience of current players, and the monetary worth of the squad.
While Jamie Vardy was the sensation of the last Premier League season, his tally of 24 league goals pales in comparison to the likes of Zlatan Ibrahimović’s 38 for PSG, and Luis Suárez’s 40 for Barcelona.
Leicester also received praise for achieving their first Premier League title with a squad built on a shoestring budget. Jamie Vardy himself was bought for a meagre £1 million back in 2012, which was a non-league transfer record but a world away from the £76.5 million that Juventus spent on Gonzalo Higuaín.
Worth £178.93 million in total this season, Leicester City’s squad has certainly increased in value alongside their success, but they’re still a fair few million pounds behind Real Madrid and Barcelona, valued at £653.91 million and £643.03 million respectively.
The saving grace?
Despite Leicester coming out bottom in many of the stats in Ladbrokes’ asset, one area where they’re at least on par with their notable rivals is the accolades of the team’s manager, Claudio Ranieri.
Adding the 2016-16 Premier League title to his list of trophies, the Italian also has five domestic cup victories and a UEFA Super Cup to his name, amongst others.
While he has never won the Champions League and his trophy cabinet doesn’t glitter in the same way as the 21 of Manchester City Manager Pep Guardiola, he is on par with Diego Simeone and Michel Preud’homme in terms of total trophies won as a team boss.
Nodding Leicester ahead
But the gaffer can only do so much; it’s the players on the pitch that do the legwork. And thanks to the Foxes’ success last season, they’ve been able to splash out on club record signing, Islam Slimani.
The Algerian striker has already scored once in Europe for Leicester, proving his worth straight away. Costing £25.5 million pounds, this figure is still a chunk less than the £38.25 million pounds that normally tight-fisted Arsenal spent in May on Swiss midfielder, Granit Xhaka…
Although Leicester have adapted perfectly to life in Europe’s most esteemed club footballing competition, it remains to be seen how they’ll perform against the big dogs – teams that happily score four or five goals a week, no matter who the opposition is.
Visit here to see the latest Champions League betting odds, with Leicester City currently at 1/3 to finish top of their group thanks to their winning start.