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Jason Clarke Photography Jason McAteer, Robbie Fowler and Didier Hamann in Dublin yesterday.
# Champions League
'English clubs are some way off the top European teams' says Hamann
The Ex-Liverpool and Bayern Munich midfielder claims the Premier League’s elite cannot compete with their German and Spanish counterparts.

DIETMAR HAMANN BELIEVES Premier League clubs simply haven’t got the players to compete with the top sides in the Champions League anymore.

Arsenal and Manchester City were both eliminated from the competition this week while Manchester United trail Olympiakos meaning Chelsea look best placed to progress to the quarter-finals — Jose Mourinho’s side hold a 1-1 with Galatasaray ahead of next week’s second leg.

It may be only two years since London club defeated current holders Bayern Munich on penalties at the Allianz Arena but former Liverpool and Germany midfielder Hamann thinks England’s top tier no longer attracts the best talent.

“You can say that Chelsea won it not long ago but I think England had their golden generation, even though they were probably just only silver because they never did it in a tournament.” Hamann said during a visit to Dublin yesterday for Carlsberg’s ‘Join The Greats’ competition.

“They had some very good home grown talent and on top of that I think the foreigners were better 10 or 15 years ago and I’m not saying that because I’m German.

“If you look back at the Chelsea team again, there was five or six World Cup winners and a Drogba, a Makelele, a Robben. There were world class players in abundance at every team.

“You look at it now, how many players would get in a World XI. Would a Man United player? At the time you had Keane, Van Nistelrooy, Beckham, Scholes, Stam, you could have made a World XI out of Premier League players.

“Now, you would struggle to find three. Man United, Arsenal wouldn’t, Liverpool might get one or two in, Chelsea maybe get one or two in and so would City, that’s the big difference.

There’s some good players coming through now but the foreigners aren’t as good as they were and the quality is a lot different to what it is now. This is why they don’t compete in the Champions League.”

Last season, Bayern Munich capped off a remarkable treble by seeing off Bundesliga rivals Borussia Dortmund in an all-German final, while Spain’s top two Real Madrid and Barcelona made up the last four.

That dominance looks set to continue with the likes of mega-rich Paris Saint-Germain and Diego Simeone’s Atletico Madrid also muscling in on the action this year.

“It (the Premier League) is the most attractive league but it goes in cycles,” he added. “There was three English teams in the semi finals for a number of years, then you had Spanish and last year an all-German final.

“If you took the 10th place team from England, Germany, Spain and Italy and put them in a mini-league, I think you’d get different winners every time you play.

“I don’t think there’s too much between them but it was obvious last year that the two best teams were German and the third and fourth best were Spanish.

“But I think it’s very hard to say that one league is better than the other, I think it’s very hard on the basis of what happens in the Champions League.

“What you can say is that the English teams are some way off the top European teams at the moment.”

Carlsberg gives fans the chance to JOIN THE GREATS and play at Anfield with their mates. The competition is strictly over 18′s only and runs from March 13th until the closing date of April 20th and can be won by purchasing Carlsberg in participating pubs and off licences, entering via Carlsberg Football’s Facebook page or listening into Newstalk during April for a further opportunity to win the prize.

Cork native John Egan scored a belter for Southend last night

‘Robben is good at getting something out of nothing, he’s a good diver’ – Wenger

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