Pitchside Europe

Power Rankings: Madrid close gap on Barca

Real Madrid's Portuguese forward Cristiano Ronaldo celebrates after scoring against Valencia in La Liga (AFP)

Barcelona's slip-up in La Liga over the weekend has seen Real Madrid close the gap at the top of our European Power Rankings.

Barca slumped to a shock 3-2 defeat at Real Sociedad - their first loss in the Spanish league for 29 games - and as a result dropped a huge 74 points in our list of the continent's finest teams.

And while that was not enough for the Catalan side to be knocked off their lofty perch, Madrid were able to edge closer to the leaders by picking up 35 points following their 5-0 romp against Valencia.

That defeat for Valencia sees them lose 35 points, but Los Che manage to cling onto 13th place this week.

Lyon were another big loser this week, falling two places to 18th after a disappointing goalless draw at home to Evian Thonon Gaillard.

Fellow French side Paris St-Germain jumped above Arsenal after another Zlatan Ibrahimovic-inspired win while Bayer Leverkusen and Zenit St. Petersburg also climbed a place each.

Otherwise, it is as you were, with the top 13 teams in our elite list holding their positions for another week.

HOW IT WORKS

To determine our Power Rankings, we use the Euro Club Index, which scientifically analyses hundreds of thousands of matches from the top divisions in all European nations as well as Europa League and Champions League games.

The Index takes into account all matches played over an eight-year period but with recent results carrying more weight than older ones.

The performance of a league's teams in the Champions League and Europa League reflects the rise or fall of the sporting level in that league.

So, for example, if English teams perform well in Europe, all Premier League teams receive a small bonus in their ECI score. The ranking and its predictive power are thus made even more accurate.

European Power Rankings January 22, 2013