SCOTTISH giants Rangers are clinging on to a golden ticket to the biggest-ever club tournament.
Fifa’s new expanded, 32-team Club World Cup, expected to have a huge prize fund worth up to £50m-plus per team, will kick off in the USA in 2025.
The Champions League winners from 2021 to this season will gain entry, alongside eight clubs from the four-year ‘coefficient’ list, based on European results.
Fifa want only one club per country to qualify from the performance-based list.
It means Manchester United, Barcelona, Inter Milan or Borussia Dortmund would have to win the Champions League this term to enter.
On current standings, Chelsea, Manchester City, Real Madrid and this season’s Champions League winners would be joined by Bayern Munich, Liverpool, Roma, Villarreal, Paris Saint-Germain, Benfica, Ajax and the Gers.
But the Ibrox side are only just ahead of Salzburg, Club Brugge, Shakhtar Donetsk and Slavia Prague — meaning they probably need to reach the Europa League knockout stage to stay in contention.
United’s struggle to qualify comes after they finally picked up Champions League group games on Tuesday night at the third time of asking.
Harry Maguire, who headed the only goal, and Andre Onana, with a stoppage-time penalty save, were the unlikely heroes of a 1-0 win over FC Copenhagen.
And it’s also on the eve of what should be the toughest Prem match of their Old Trafford campaign.
The Red Devils host neighbours and champions City on Sunday.
And summer signing Rasmus Hojlund is dreaming of breaking his top-flight duck in the derby by matching what he considers the greatest ever United vs City goal.
Asked for his verdict on the best strike, the Danish striker went back 12 years: “The bicycle kick from Wayne Rooney, of course! Everybody remembers that, don’t they?”
Hojlund added: “It would be a big experience, so I am looking forward to it.
“It is always special to play a rival and if we win the game, we can get closer to the top.”
But he added: “I am only 20 and not the finished article yet. I still have a lot to improve and I am getting there slowly.” — The Sun.