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  • Manuel Locatelli celebrates after netting at San Siro (AFP)Source: AFP
Nick Budicin looks at five clubs whose absence from the UEFA Champions League has them reeling.
By
Nick Budicin

25 Oct 2016 - 10:34 AM  UPDATED 28 Oct 2016 - 2:02 PM
A.C. Milan
Since the departures of Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Thiago Silva in 2012, A.C. Milan have never been the same. Milan went from perennial european title contenders to irrelevancy in no time.
 
After a dismal Serie A campaign last year, the Rossoneri have now failed to qualify for any european competition
since 2014.
Currently sitting third in Serie A, the Italian giants seem to be finding their feet again, however, with the club’s recent reluctance to chase big money transfer targets, new coach Vincenzo Montella will have his work cut out for
him in trying to get the club back to the big stage.
 
Chelsea F.C.
This might be jumping the gun a little bit, but Chelsea’s recent past has them trending in a very similar direction to Milan.
Memories of their 2012 Champions League victory, and even of their 2015 Premier League title seem like ancient history—in part because of just how disappointing the side was last year.
It might be too early to tell whether or not the Blues can slot back into european football next year, but the early signs under Antonio Conte have been mixed.
 
Valencia C.F.

A recent dip in form has seen the Spanish club miss the Champions League in three of the last four seasons. 

Since making two Champions League finals in a row in the early 2000’s, Valencia has been a staple in the european footballing landscape. Even after losing David Villa, David Silva and Juan Mata to bigger clubs, they still managed to qualify for the Champions League in the next three seasons.

Valencia are in a funk, one that will be hard to break out of this season as they currently sit in 14th place in La Liga.

Manchester United 

After making three Champions League finals in four years from 2008-11, the Red Devils—as all clubs do—went through a period of change. They have now failed to qualify for the Champions League in two of last three seasons.

The recent acquisitions of Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Paul Pogba show the club’s intent to return to their former glory and though United’s current situation may not be as dire as that of Chelsea or Milan, alarm bells must at least be beginning to ring.
AFC Ajax

Since the mid-1990s, Ajax Amsterdam have been regulars on the Champions League circuit.

Their four European Cup victories saw names such as Cruyff, Neeskens, Kluivert, Seedorf and Davids crowned champions, but in recent times Ajax has found themselves devoid of big name players.
 
The Dutch club last appeared in the Champions League in the 2014-15 campaign, struggling to overcome rivals PSV Eindhoven in the Eredivisie. Despite a recent run of good form, Ajax again find themselves in second place in the league. The possibility of a third straight season trying to qualify via the repechage awaits—a fate they’d be keen to avoid.