It was one of those nights in the UEFA Champions League where two of the best clubs in European football – Spanish giants Real Madrid and German giants Bayern Munich – locked horns in a bid to progress to the semi-finals and possibly lift the most coveted trophy in club football.
The Bernabeu was lit up by flares of spiteful emotions as what many believe to be UEFA’s doing, saw Real Madrid, who are gunning for a record 12th trophy, defeat Bayern Munich 4-2 (6-3 on aggregate) to progress to the semi-finals of the competition after taking the game to extra time thanks to a Sergio Ramos own goal.
Most pseudo-analysts and fans usually attribute what has been termed “UEFA’s club” to Barcelona, because in recent years they have been the most successful team in Europe (sometimes winning their matches thanks to questionable decisions by referees)… and they have Lionel Messi. But with Barcelona currently at the edge of a cliff and Real Madrid/Ronaldo’s more recent heroics… it seems the “UEFA’s club” term has been transferred from the Catalunya giants to the Spanish giants.
Also, the prospect of a semi-final draw that will surely bring in more revenue for the European football governing body has to be called into question. With Atletico Madrid already in the semi-finals, and the hopes of Barcelona repeating the comeback they did against PSG when they face Juventus on Wednesday night, the prospects of possible mouth-watering El Clasico and/or Madrid Derby fixtures are really just too good to pass up.
Imagine having Real Madrid, Barcelona, and Atletico Madrid in the semi-finals. The draw will surely see Real Madrid face either one of the teams which can set up mouth-watering semi-finals and finals (should the third La Liga team defeat their own opponent) thus bringing in more revenue for UEFA. After all, with the exorbitant price-tag of players now, football has become more of a money-grabbing scheme than the beautiful, passionate and wonderful game it was where all teams and clubs could compete on equal ground.
Bayern Munich were clearly out of favour as very questionable decisions went against them. From Arturo Vidal getting sent off while Casemiro who should have been sent off was thriving on the pitch to Ronaldo’s equaliser which was clearly offside, Ancelotti’s loss to Zidane was harder to swallow, especially losing in such a manner.
Also, take nothing from Zidane’s men because they did pull through, and may have still won the match regardless of being a man up or not (guess we’ll never know). But to deepen UEFA’s pockets, Real Madrid qualifying for the semi-finals of the UEFA Champions League seemed like the best course of action. And it obviously favours fans because who wouldn’t want to see an El Classico happen again in the Champions League, or a yet another Madrid Derby?
Don’t lie, you’d prefer that to watching Bayern Munich v Barcelona/Atletico Madrid.
P.S – Congrats to Cristiano Ronaldo who became the first player in history to score a century of goals in the Champions League. And also congrats to Xabi Alonso and Phillipe Lahm, who both played their last games for Bayern Munich in the Champions League last night… Two legends who undoubtedly made the game of football even better than it was before!