Portugal's Primeira Liga ranked seventh in UEFA coefficient, behind Russia.
Portugal’s top flight maintained their position as just the seventh most reputable division in European football according to the UEFA coefficient ranking, meaning just one guaranteed place in the Champions League group stage will be allocated to Portuguese clubs this season.
Porto will be advancing directly to the group stage of Europe’s most prestigious competition, while Benfica, who qualified automatically last season – as well as being in pot 1 – will have to successfully progress through two qualifying rounds to make the main draw, despite finishing second in the Primeira Liga in the previous campaign.
Russia edged ahead of Portugal in the UEFA coefficient rankings last season, and Portugal’s inability to regain the crucial sixth spot from this year’s World Cup hosts means that Portugal will be limited to a maximum of two Champions League sides for at least the next two seasons.
It comes after a poor showing from Benfica on the European stage last season, who failed to gain a single point in the Champions League group stage, finishing last in the process, while Porto were knocked out in the round of 16. Sporting, who were the third club representing Portugal in last season’s edition of the Champions League, slipped into the Europa League after finishing third in a very difficult group containing Barcelona and Juventus, eventually being knocked out by eventual winner Atletico Madrid 2-1 on aggregate in the quarter final.
Portugal are being punished further by a change in the seeding process; last season, the reigning Champions League winners and the champions of the top 7 domestic leagues were placed in pot 1. However, this year, both the previous Champions League winners and the Europa league holders will be in pot 1, and as such just the champions of the top 6 European leagues will be placed in pot 1 instead, meaning Porto just miss out.
All in all, this indicates a potentially challenging season for Portuguese sides on the European stage, with Porto guaranteed to be drawn into a group containing one of Real Madrid, Atletico Madrid, Manchester City, Barcelona, Bayern Munich, PSG, Juventus and Lokomotiv Moscow, while Benfica face stern tests just to have the right to compete in Europe’s most prestigious club competition.
Meanwhile, Sporting CP will be competing in the Europa League this season, their place in the Group Stage guaranteed, while both Braga and Rio Ave, who finished 4th and 5th respectively in the league last season, will have to go through the gruelling qualifying process.
Benfica will find out their Champions League opponents for the third qualifying round on the 23rd July.