Every year begins with objectives and aims for all organizations, and football clubs are no different. Each season comes with its own challenges, with transfers and managerial changes among the major steps taken to achieve the campaign's goals.
The hierarchical nature of football means that different clubs have different aims. While some are content to maintain their top-flight status and avoid relegation, others are well-poised to gatecrash the upper echelons but do not mind mid-table obscurity.
However, there are a select few clubs at the highest levels, for whom anything other than winning trophies at the end of the season classifies as a major disaster.
These sides are mostly traditional teams who are well-versed in the art of winning, with generations of their fans accustomed to celebrating title triumphs almost every spring.
However, the competitive nature of football means that not every team can achieve their objectives. There are always cases where clubs fail to fulfil their potential.
The year 2020 came with its own unique challenges, chief of which was the COVID-19 pandemic that changed the world as we know it.
Football, like every other industry, was badly hit by the pandemic and footballing activities were shut down globally for over three months, while majority of stadiums remain closed to supporters.
Despite the challenges, football thrived to give us some truly remarkable stories, like Liverpool winning a maiden Premier League title as well as Bayern Munich decimating all in their path to win a second continental treble.
However, for all the gains made by some sides, there were several others who imploded spectacularly in the year.
Here, we shall have a rundown of the 5 most disappointing clubs in the year 2020.
Benfica are the most successful club in the history of Portuguese football and came into the 2019-20 season as defending champions of the Portugal Primeira Liga.
They, however, failed to defend their title, finishing five points behind champions Porto on the points table.
Their third-place finish in the Champions League group stage in 2019 meant that they dropped down to the Europa League. However, Benfica failed at the first hurdle, falling to a 5-4 aggregate defeat to Ukrainian side Shakhtar Donestk in the Round of 32.
They failed to make it to the Champions League group stage this season after being eliminated by PAOK. A second-place finish to the Rangers in their Europa League group means they will face Arsenal in the next round.
Further disappointment was recorded in the final of the Taca de Portugal, where Porto defeated them 2-1 before inflicting another 2-0 defeat in the Portuguese Super Cup in December 2020.
#4 Inter Milan
Inter Milan sent a statement of intent when they appointed Antonio Conte as their manager in the summer of 2019.
The former Chelsea manager had proven his mettle as one of the most astute coaches in the world and was adequately backed in the transfer market, with several new players arriving at San Siro.
His debut campaign with the Nerrazurri, however, did not go according to plan, with a Champions League group stage elimination meaning that they dropped down to the Europa League.
The Serie A side made it all the way to the final in August 2020 but fell to a 2-1 defeat in the final to Europa League specialists, Sevilla.
Their Coppa Italia run came to an end with a penalty shootout loss to Napoli in the semi-final but they finished as runners-up in the league to Juventus.
After threatening to leave the club in the summer, Conte was shown the requisite support but the club's European sojourn once again ended in the group stage. Rather disappointingly, they would not play continental football in the new year, having finished bottom of their group.
Their Champions League elimination in the group stage was inarguably a nadir for the club. It is not far-fetched to suggest that Inter Milan were one of the most disappointing clubs of 2020.