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Champions League: Glasgow Rangers endure worst group stage campaign in tournament history




CNN

The good news for Glasgow Rangers is that the Scottish club have pocketed over $15 million for competing in the Champions League. The bad news is that after waiting 12 years to return to the group stages of the competition, the club’s comeback has been nothing short of a nightmare.

After a 3-1 loss to Ajax on Tuesday, Rangers finished the group stage with six defeats from six and with a goal difference of minus 20 – they scored just twice and conceded 22 times.

Croatian club Dinamo Zagreb previously held the worst record with zero points and a goal difference of minus 19, set in 2011.

“It’s a learning curve that we will have to follow at our own pace. Going forward we will learn from it and we will only come back stronger,” Rangers captain James Tavernier told BT Sport after Tuesday’s defeat.

“It’s the finer details of these games when you play against this quality of opposition.

“It was a proud moment for all of us to take part in this competition, but we didn’t do ourselves justice.

“We didn’t give the fans the minimum they wanted, we will recognize that and can only apologize.”

After his long-awaited return to the group stage, Rangers immediately found themselves up against him after being handed a very tough draw.

He faced last year’s runners-up Liverpool, 2019 semi-finalists Ajax and a resurgent Napoli, who might be the most informed side in Europe.

In truth, the chasm in class was evident in nearly every game he played in this season’s competition, but none more so than in their 7-1 home loss to Liverpool in October – and that was after. have taken the lead.

Rangers manager Giovanni van Bronckhorst says his side are simply not on the same level as their opponents, both financially and in terms of quality.

“It’s very disappointing. We were all happy to have entered the Champions League because we hadn’t competed at this level for 12 years, so it’s very positive,” he told reporters on Tuesday.

“But on the other side, we were up against so many good teams. It’s a learning point.

“Of course we want to be involved again next year, but we have to do better than we did this season. It’s been tough. These are facts.

Rangers are currently second in the Scottish Premiership, four points behind rivals Celtic.

Despite his disappointment on the pitch in Europe, Rangers will benefit financially from their Champions League campaign.

All clubs that qualify for the group stages will earn $15.5m from host UEFA this season, helping teams like Rangers grow and become more competitive if they qualify again next year.

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