Tag Archives: Champions League

Lewandowski on the verge of overhauling Ronaldo’s European record

To think that a 31-year-old Pole is on the verge of overtaking Cristiano Ronaldo’s record haul of Champions League goals in one season.

Yes, it is true and let’s be honest, very few people would have predicted that Robert Lewandowski would have the honour of getting one over the great Ronaldo.

As it stands, Lewandowski is only four behind the great man’s total after picking up a brace as the German Champions beat Chelsea 4-1 on Saturday for a 7-1 aggregate victory.

Ronaldo’s haul of 17 Champions League goals happened in 2013-14 when he featured for Real Madrid. With the strong possibility of Bayern Munich reaching the final in Lisbon, that amounts to three more games for Lewandowski to surpass Ronaldo’s total.

However, he still has a long way to go to get anywhere near Ronaldo as Champions League top scorer. The Portuguese striker tops the list with 130 with Messi in second on 115. Lewandowski stands in fourth place with 66 so far but that aside one has to marvel at just how well the Pole has been playing this season.

Lewandoski’s incredible season can be summed up by his numbers this season. Over the two legs against Chelsea he played a part in all seven Bayern goals in the tie.

His 53 goals in all competitions this season have come in 36 out of 44 matches. Lewandowski’s haul for both club and country this campaign includes four in a Champions League game away at Red Star Belgrade, a hat trick against Schalke in the Bundesliga and another hat trick- this time for Poland away at Latvia- in a European qualifier.

If you add up his total goals and assists in domestic games over the past two seasons, his tally is an impressive 67, only surpassed by the legend called Messi with 95 for Barcelona.

Already the likes of Tammy Abraham have gone on record to say that Lewandowski is the best striker in the world at the moment. Only today, German legend Lothar Matthaus came out and said that he felt the Pole is not only the best striker in the world but best footballer also.

No doubt the likes of Ronaldo and Messi will have something to say about that but you can’t deny that Lewandowski is a world class player, who one day will become a Bayern all time club legend.

As the champions league enters the final 8 stage George Clayton talks about the who co on our YouTube channel Now by clicking the link below

https://youtu.be/lCbgefVH2W0

Manchester City see Champions League ban overturned

One of the biggest stories of the season so far has seemingly come to an end with Manchester City avoiding a two year ban from the Champions League, after the Court of Arbitration for Sport cleared them of any wrongdoing.

This has been a long debated topic of whether 5th place would qualify as a Champions League spot, with many people calling for a harsh punishment in order for UEFA to ‘make an example’ of City. They have been criticised for not being strict enough with FFP and this result has left its reputation heavily damaged.

What were City accused of doing?

In November 2018 a German newspaper, Der Speigel, published supposed leaked documents of Manchester City overvaluing their sponsorship deal – misleading football’s top European body.

It was accused that they lied about this valuation in order to mislead UEFA for FFP rules – making it seem as though they were breaking even and not in a loss.

In February, the CFCB, an independent adjudicatory body, claimed that City bent the laws by “overstating its sponsorship revenue in its accounts and in the break-even information submitted to Uefa between 2012 and 2016”.

They attempted to investigate but City refused to cooperate as they didn’t trust the CFCB and didn’t believe they were independent. The club were also punished for similar issues in 2014 and fined £49m.

It must be noted the owners always refuted the claims and were adamant they had not broken any rules.

What was the verdict?

The CAS claimed that the club were completely cleared of “disguising equity funds as sponsorship contributions”.

They did, however, state that Manchester City had failed to cooperate with the CFCB investigation and were still subject to a fine.

The original fine of 30m Euros was reduced to 10m Euros – a considerable drop. The two-year Champions League ban imposed on City has also been reversed meaning they will be allowed to play in the competition for future seasons.

What does this mean for FFP and this season?

Many fans have complained about the loopholes in FFP rulings as it allows bigger clubs who generate more revenue to spend more – whilst other clubs may struggle to grow due to financial restrictions on allowed losses.

Whilst the Premier League have different rulings to UEFA they still fall under the same umbrella terms, so the differences are minimal.

With its fractured reputation already, this decision has only exacerbated things for UEFA as people are calling into questions its legitimacy. After all, City broke similar regulations in 2014 and yet they haven’t been banned and have been given a reduced fine.

The failure to punish the richest clubs for breaking the rules means clubs will seemingly be able to get away with spending a bit more. If the fine is only 10m Euros like this case, then you can be sure many clubs would take that hit for success.

Where this leaves the ruling is yet to be seen, a reform in the system seems to be the most effective option, allowing smaller clubs to spend to help grow, whilst debt can be controlled to avoid clubs going into administration.

In terms of this season, it of course means that 5th place is no longer the golden ticket into the Champions League and the race for the top four will be even more intense now.

Whilst most people expected the decision to be overturned, it still offers up a very interesting end to the campaign as top four is absolutely vital. Whilst this damages Wolves and Sheffield United’s hopes of qualification; Manchester United, Chelsea and Leicester will all be fighting more than ever now in these last few games.

For further discussion on what Manchester City’s European ban being overturned means check out the video below:

 

Emre Can returns to Germany after signing loan deal with Borussia Dortmund

Juventus midfielder Emre Can signed a season-ending loan deal with Borussia Dortmund, returning to play in Germany for the first time since 2014.

There had been reports of Can returning to the Premier League to play for Manchester United, but he will be suiting up for the Black and Yellow for the remainder of the season.

The German international began his senior career with Bayern Munich in 2012 before departing the Bavarians for another short stint in the country, this time with Bayer Leverkusen. Can played most of his career in England for Liverpool, spending four years with the club before leaving the club to join Juventus after his contract expired.

In 185 appearances at the senior club level, the 26-year-old has scored 18 goals. However, this season has been one to forget for Can as he did not seem to fit new manager Maurizio Sarri’s plans for the team, which caused him to only make eight appearances this season.

For the German national team, Can has made 25 appearances, but has only the found the back of the net once for his country. Although Can was excluded from the squad from Germany’s squad in the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia, he did make an appearance in the UEFA Euro 2016, starting in a 2-0 semi-final loss to host France.

It is currently a neck-to-neck race for the top spot in the Bundesliga with leaders RB Leipzig only having a four-point differential between them and fourth place Dortmund. 

After the squad landed transfer market gold by signing young talent Erling Haaland, who has scored five goals in two appearances so far, the team is hoping the Can is able to provide solid midfield depth that can carry them to a first-place finish in the league for the first time since 2012.

Also, with the UEFA Euro 2020 right around the corner, this could be Can’s chance to reassert himself back into the squad for a major competition.

Yannick Carrasco returns to Atlético Madrid on short-term loan

After playing a big part in Atlético Madrid’s success during his three-year tenure, Yannick Carrasco is returning to the Spanish capital on a short-term loan from Dalian Professional.

Carrasco, who arrived in Madrid for his first stint in 2015 after departing Monaco, is brought in after the club failed to sign Edinson Cavani away from PSG. However, the squad are getting a player who is accustomed to playing this team’s style, so it could end up being more beneficial in the long run.

The Belgian international had scored 17 goals in 81 appearances for Atlético before his departure in 2018. However, he has not found trouble finding the back of the net with the move as he scored 24 goals in 50 Chinese Super League appearances for Dalian, who are owned by Atlético’s partial owner Dalian Wanda.

The 26-year-old’s biggest moments for the club was during the 2016 UEFA Champions League Final at the San Siro.  After coming on the pitch as a half-time replacement for Augusto Fernández, Carrasco scored a 79th-minute equalizer, making him the first Belgian to score in a European Cup final. However, they ended up losing to arch-rivals Real Madrid in a penalty shoot-out.

The creative winger also is a constant appearer for the Belgium national team. Included in the 2018 FIFA World Cup squad by manager Roberto Martínez, Carrasco helped the squad finish in third place at the most recent edition in Russia. In 41 appearances for his country, he has scored six goals.

As Atlético sit in fifth place at the moment in the La Liga standings, the fans and the team are hoping that Carrasco provides some spark to help them improve their spot. His first test will be on Saturday in The Madrid Derby.

Will Liverpool make it unbeaten?

As of their recent fixture against Sheffield United, Liverpool completed a full calendar year unbeaten in the Premier League and with performances like Thursday’s, their run looks set to continue.

Image result for liverpool fc 2020
A fimilar image; Liverpool’s front three celebrate another Premier League goal.

Nothing but admiration is what has to been given to Liverpool’s perfomances of late, whether it has been a goal fest as such against Mersyside neighbours Everton or a 1-0 against a valiant Wolverhampton. Liverpool’s football has been mature and is evidence of 4 years of Jurgen Klopp’s management and timely building of what can be suggested to be a world class team.

The front three of Mane, Firmino and Salah have been poignant to the Red’s success in front of goal but this season, but its been clear the rest of the team are just as important. Working from the back, Virgil Van Dijk has been at the heart of their defence. Advantageous to the team, Van Dijk’s height to reach defensive headers and composure when passing out from the back under pressure, is a massive part of his game and why he is a world renowned defender.

What is particular about the Liverpool team is their knowledge of spatial awareness with passes and even clearances nearly always find man in red helping to maximise possession. Aswell, as passing their way through teams, Liverpool boast the talent of their two first choice full backs in Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andy Robertson. Their crosses into the penalty area have become staple to the team’s goal scoring opportunities with both players continuing to rack up their personal assists.

It can be argued Liverpool’s success has been formulated from all aspects of their play and management and a new culture brought in by Klopp since his arrival. This season has also seen them be able to cope with absentees of Lovren and Matip in defence due quality in the depths of their sqaud. Which can be contrasted to league rivals Manchester City who have not had an as simple season as reigning champions. Aymeric Laporte’s injury early in the season has made him exempt for the majority of City’s games and their results show they have not been able to cope as well as the City fans would have wanted. Consequently seeing them fall further and further behind League leaders Liverpool.

There is a feeling this is already Liverpool’s year and 13 points ahead it is difficult to see where 4 defeats would come from, even if Liverpool are prevented of an invincible title its hard to see them not lifting the Premier League trophy come spring.