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Inter Milan qualify for Europe next season

The question is: Which tournament will they play in?

AC Chievo Verona v FC Internazionale - Serie A
Ivan Perisic of Internazionale FC scores his team’s second goal during the serie A match between AC Chievo Verona and FC Internazionale at Stadio Marc’Antonio Bentegodi on April 22, 2018 in Verona, Italy.
Photo by Mario Carlini / Iguana Press/Getty Images

Following Inter Milan’s 3-0 win at Chievo over the weekend and AC Milan’s 1-0 loss at home to Benevento, the Nerazzurri are all but assured a spot in European football next season.

But, the question still remains: Which tournament will Inter play in?

Presently, Inter Milan sits in fifth place – one point back of both Lazio and Roma, who are both in Champions League qualifying spots. If the season ended today, Inter will qualify for the Europa League with Atalanta.

However, with four matches remaining, the Nerazzurri still have a shot at entering the Champions League. But, Inter have their destiny in their own hands.

Regardless, on 66 points, losses in the last four matches would still see Inter grab one of the two Europa League spots. The only factor – AC Milan – is on 54 points and could only manage a maximum of 66 points if they win out – which doesn’t seem likely. Inter has the head-to-head over AC Milan and a significantly higher goal differential.

For Inter to earn a Champions League position, they must keep pace with both Lazio and Roma over the last four weeks. In fact, if that is the case, the final game of the year between Lazio and Inter could decide that Champions League spot.

Over the next four weeks, Roma will be at home with Chievo, travel to Cagliari, back home with league-leading Juventus and close out the season at Sassuolo. Lazio will travel to Torino next week, then return home to face Atalanta, travel to Crotone and close the season at home with Inter. The Nerazzurri will have Juventus in the Derby d’Italia at the San Siro, travel to Udinese, get Sassuolo at home and travel to Lazio to close out the season.

Another question in the air is if Inter Milan only make the Europa League, what will that mean for the futures of Luciano Spalletti and current transfers Rafinha and Joao Cancelo. Both Rafinha and Cancelo are favorites of Inter management and the team wants to keep them on a permanent basis. However, without the added boost of Champions League money, will they be able to afford them and still remain under the Financial Fair Play radar?

AC Chievo Verona v FC Internazionale - Serie A
Borja Valero of Internazionale FC reacts during the serie A match between AC Chievo Verona and FC Internazionale at Stadio Marc’Antonio Bentegodi on April 22, 2018 in Verona, Italy.
Photo by Mario Carlini / Iguana Press/Getty Images

Inter Sporting Director Piero Ausilio told Radio Anch’io Sport that the club could only keep Cancelo is the team makes the Champions League. He added, however that the futures of Spalletti and striker Mauro Icardi would not rest on that qualification.

“We want to build an even longer future with them than what their contracts entail,” Ausilio said. “We’ve already renewed Icardi’s contract three times, and we can sit down and discuss it again.”

They payout in the Europa League is generous to be sure, but it pales in comparison to the Champions League.

Here is a breakdown of Europa League payouts based on this season’s tournament:

  • Market Pool Payment: €160 million – this is distributed on a proportional value based on the value of the domestic television market. Teams from England, Germany, Spain and Italy get a higher share compared to teams from other countries.
  • Qualifying and playoffs: €215,000 for first qualifying round, €225,000 for second qualifying round, €220,000 for third and €235,000 for play-off losing teams.
  • Participation bonus: €2.6 million guaranteed for each of the 40 teams who play in the group stages.
  • Performance bonus: €360,000 for each win and €120,000 for each draw
  • Group stage bonus: €600,000 for group winners and €300,000 for group runners up.
  • Round of 32: €500,000 for each of the 32 teams.
  • Round of 16: €750,000 for each of the 16 teams.
  • Quarter-finals: €1 million for each of the eight teams.
  • Semi-finals: €1.5 million for each of the four teams.
  • Runners-up: €3.5 million for each of the two teams.
  • Winners: €6.5 million for the champions.

The winner of the Europa League would get between €15 million and €17 million from the performance pot plus whatever it earns from the market pool. This is compared to the between €54 milllion and €57.2 million the winner of the Champions League can receive.

So, there is a sizable disparity, but it is extra money no matter what league Inter Milan will play in. To put it in perspective, the Champions League participation bonus is €12.7 million which is just slightly less than what the Europa League champion would receive.

“Obviously the Champions League would help from an economic point of view, but that alone doesn’t make a season positive,” Ausilio said. “Asamoah? He’s a Juventus player and I’ll only talk about the market after May 21. Cancelo? We’ll make a decision on keeping him once the season is out, seeing whether we qualify for the Champions League or not. However, these are just economic assessments and not technical ones. There’s no doubt about the player’s quality.”

What do you think? Post your comments below!