New Delhi: Spain on Wednesday became the first country to have five teams qualify for the UEFA Champions League after Valencia beat Monaco in their qualifying play-off.
Despite losing 1-2 in France, Valencia secured their place thanks to a 4-3 aggregate victory, and joined last season's La Liga champions Barcelona, runners-up Real Madrid and third placed Atletico Madrid. Top three teams from La Liga automatically qualify in the continental tournament under the Spanish quota thanks to their higher UEFA's club coefficient rankings.
Besides these four teams, Sevilla – who finished fifth – was also given an automatic place in the tournament for winning the Europa League earlier this year.
In a move to boost interest in Europe's secondary club tournament, the UEFA have reserved a place in the 32-team tournament for the winners of Europa League starting 2015-16. This, in turn, allowed countries to have five teams in the Champions League group-stage.
Spain, the winners of 2010 FIFA World Cup, have dominated the world's premier club competition in recent time, winning four of the last seven editions. Barcelona, who beat Juventus in May's final, will defend the title.
The draw for the group stages will be made tomorrow.