Champions: kill or be killed | Soccer | Sports



Madrid, city of comebacks

A stadium is stones that structure and crowds that feel. For the tribe to feel the stadium is theirs, it is not enough to move. You need a routine, a ritual and deeds that remain forever in your memory. The Metropolitan climbed the last step this week on a long and tremendous night. Atlético was facing a bad streak, a bad result and a bad opponent. Problems that only faith can solve. We will never know if it spreads from the players to the fans or the other way around, but there is a moment when these two energies merge with an effect that elevates the players to heroic heights. Influence also reaches rivals, only in this case to devalue them. It happened to Inter. There are games that are a before and after. From now on, a tie at the Metropolitano will be an experience on another level.

I accuse

Barça, that fun team, learned to suffer. Winning these days, rather than a consecration, is interpreted as a relief by Barcelona fans. The Lluís Companys Stadium is not an ally. It is difficult to get there, watch football and, in its provisional nature, it is not capable of housing and projecting identity. Surviving in times of crisis has a lot of merit. In cases like this, the unity of the fans and the team is a critical factor, but it is important not to forget the importance of the story. When, after the tie against Naples, Xavi took his toll on Ramon Besa for an article that he considered very critical, it seemed to me that something else was broken at Barça. Ramon Besa is probably the journalist who knows the most and best tells what the club is and represents. He doesn’t fix what doesn’t work by accusing the messenger.

Gain time

The League travels well. With suffering he placed three teams in the Champions League quarterfinals, more than anyone else. It is influenced by merit and luck or, in other words, the explainable and inexplicable things that characterize football. Madrid, Barça and Atlético fought more than usual, aware that it is the Champions League that gives or takes away prestige and peace of mind. Can you imagine what any of the three would be experiencing if they had been eliminated? Time is money and now, in the worst case, they will win a month. Time in which Real Madrid will recover Courtois and Militao, and in which Xavi, with the legitimacy that the victory gives, can change his mind and stay for another year. As for Simeone’s Atlético, he will be able to add to his military football the technical competence and attacking intention that gave him such a good result against Inter.

And meanwhile, to dream

The draw has once again established the Champions League as a global event. There are no confrontations between Spanish teams (morbidly fraternal), but the draw was not generous. If the stadiums matter, the most favored is Barça, which will play the second game at home, in a year, that is, where the home team does not have the strength of that Camp Nou that still remembers a historic comeback against PSG. Now it’s time for another PSG, with Luis Enrique moving the baton from the bench and Mbappé, doubly an enemy, with the spear from within. A walking danger. Madrid clashes again against City, in a match with no prediction in which the Bernabéu will have to imagine a comeback in the first match to reach Manchester with an advantage. Atlético, even without the Metropolitano in the decisive match, is the only favorite. With a little luck, the Spanish teams will be able to kill each other later.

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