Change of pace: The English elite failed in Europe again as Barca continue to thrive
Although a Premier League awash with cash is full of 'healthy competition' the English elite still aren't technically good enough to match the best of Europe
The blood and thunder of the Premier League will never create a team like Barcelona who can dominate European competition for a sustained spell, according to Dutch legend Marco van Basten.
The three-time Ballon d’Or winner, speaking exclusively to Mirror Sport, believes that while the Premier League is in a healthy state, awash with money, the technical level in England remains below Spain’s La Liga.
Spanish champions Barcelona meet Juventus in the Champions League final on Saturday evening, where the Blaugrana will be looking to make it four European crowns in nine years in Berlin, 10 nights after Sevilla made it four Europa League/UEFA Cup successes in the last decade.
Altogether during the last decade, La Liga has claimed 10 of the 19 major European trophies on offer, with England trailing in their wake having been triumphant on only four occasions.
Another level: Barcelona have led the way over the last decade
According to former Ajax and AC Milan star van Basten, the continued physical nature of the Premier League means English clubs will never consistently dominate in the same way as their Spanish counterparts.
"In England there's a lot of money to create a great team like Barcelona," said van Basten, Nissan’s ambassador for the UEFA Champions League Final in Berlin. "And yet the style of play is still different and still not good enough to bring the English teams to the final.
"This year you have Manchester City, Chelsea and Arsenal [all failing in the last 16] and I think the Premier League is very healthy.
Damning: While a Premier League fan, van Basten says it won't equal European success
"[But] The way Barcelona and Real Madrid play is more technical, less physical and I think that in England you have more games where it is just physical.
"So if you have a long season [38 league games, two cups, Europe] like England has, then in the end then you can't physically challenge. English football is very strong physically, but Spanish football is more technical."
In addition to the physical nature of the English game, van Basten argues that the Premier League’s level of ‘healthy competition’ is also a factor.
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Chelsea won the title with 87 points this term, with the gap between top and bottom 57 points. In Spain, champions Barcelona claimed 94 points, 74 more than bottom side Cordoba.
Van Basten reckons that the Premier League being a closer field only adds to the English clubs problems in Europe, with the last 16 the furthest any English side went in both the Champions League and the Europa League this term.
“The competition is so healthy that also it's something which plays a role in making it difficult for the English clubs.
Dejected: Chelsea were one of three English sides dumped out at the last 16 this term
"For example, in Spain it's Atletico Madrid, Real Madrid, Barcelona - in particular the last two - winning the championship.
"If you see England you have Chelsea, Manchester United normally, Manchester City, Arsenal, Liverpool, Tottenham Hotspur normally all challenging: There are more top clubs."
One man who van Basten knows well is Louis van Gaal, the Manchester United boss who will take his side into the Champions League next season following their absence from this year’s competition.
The two have crossed paths as managerial rivals in the Eredivisie in previous years and van Basten is looking forward to seeing how United develop under his old adversary next season.
Top level: United, led by van Gaal, will be in the Champions League next year
"Manchester United is of course a big club. Louis van Gaal is a big manager, very experienced. He's already had big clubs - Barcelona, Bayern Munich.
"It's been very interesting to follow him at Manchester United, which I think is not an easy job. Last year they didn't have a good season and he had to change the situation, add a lot of new players, new thoughts and that wasn't easy.
"Hopefully he's able to make the difference and compete at the top next year."