The Real Football Thread

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In Madrid they found an harmless and disbanding team but this time Ajax were really impressive, they let Juventus play in the first half but then in the second was a total domination. I've heard Agnelli and Allegri post match interviews and they didn't even try to protest for the handball in the extra time admitting a fair and square defeat and the superior strength of the opposition.

Now will be interesting to see them against Citizens (if Pep won't try to commit suicide again like last week) but if they hold that shape in an eventual final against Barça i think they are favourites because Barça suffers terribly when the opposite team hold the game and play aggression not letting them play in the way they want.
 
Gigs_98 said:
Tottenham or Ajax will be in the CL final. Incredible. I'm so happy right now.
I really hope Ajax will prevail out of that pair as I've not managed to warm to Tottenham quite as much as many other football fans I know. I don't know what exactly it is, but something about them manages to irritate me and I usually end up cheering against them when watching them play. Maybe its their often quite pragmatic and cynical playing style, maybe something else.
 
Barça away are a joke, year after year they always win at home (IIRC only with Juventus they didn't win at home) helped by the atmosphere of Camp Nou and by the referees that in Catalunya are thier 12th man and then they collapse away. And Messi's skill to disappear in important games is even bigger than his talent.
 
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Pricey_sky said:
Epic comeback, another crazy European night at Anfield.
Exactly - Liverpool ran like mad men for 90 minutes and Barcelona's defence kept giving the ball away. If Liverpool had played like that in Barcelona then it would have all been over then.
 
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Robert5091 said:
Pricey_sky said:
Epic comeback, another crazy European night at Anfield.
Exactly - Liverpool ran like mad men for 90 minutes and Barcelona's defence kept giving the ball away. If Liverpool had played like that in Barcelona then it would have all been over then.
I thought Liverpool were unlucky last week, the played well for most of the game and should have scored at least once with Salah, Milner and Mane all missing key chances.

Barca got lucky there, they couldn’t rely on that this week against a side that wouldn’t give up.
 
Re: Re:

Robert5091 said:
Pricey_sky said:
Epic comeback, another crazy European night at Anfield.
Exactly - Liverpool ran like mad men for 90 minutes and Barcelona's defence kept giving the ball away. If Liverpool had played like that in Barcelona then it would have all been over then.
Liverpool played very well at Camp Nou. They couldn't exactly play the first game away as they've played at home chasing minus 3.
Barcelona thought they've done enough, I got an impression.
 
PL last day is on Sunday but CL Final is on June 1st.

Don't think I've ever seen two teams have 3 weeks gap before the final.

Thats more than half the summer break for some players. Wonder how those 2 teams will keep ready.
 
Re:

The Hitch said:
PL last day is on Sunday but CL Final is on June 1st.

Don't think I've ever seen two teams have 3 weeks gap before the final.

Thats more than half the summer break for some players. Wonder how those 2 teams will keep ready.
Motivation obviously won’t be an issue, but I’d have though that both teams will be off on a foreign training camp for a week or so in the middle of that 3 week gap, saying that it’s probably only just over 2 weeks gap. They will more than likely get Monday/Tuesday off next week, and leave for Madrid on the Wednesday before the final.

There is also the issue for most of the remaining England squad who have an even longer gap to the following Thursday for the Nations league semi-final with Netherlands.
 
This is the nadir of the cosy cartel at the top. Back when Ajax last won the Champions' League, you had to actually be the Champions to get into it. Liverpool and Spurs haven't won a Premier League between them. There's just too much of the money and the prestige concentrated into a couple of leagues. The Ajax team is going to be stripped bare in the coming months as the top 6 Premier League teams, the top 3 La Liga teams (maybe 4 if you include Sevilla, prestige and money wise they belong there) and maybe a couple of big spenders from elsewhere (Juventus? PSG? Bayern?) gut their squad of all of its young talents, because they know Ajax can't afford to keep them. It's been headed that way ever since the implementation of the mini-league system killed off the idea of an underdog upset, but now we've reached the point where teams with glorious European history like Ajax, Anderlecht and Benfica are underdogs against teams that finish 4th in Serie A or the Premier League and haven't won anything, but by finishing 4th get to qualify for the Champions' League. It's pretty unsustainable when you reach a point where four teams from the same league populate both European competition finals. And that doesn't include the team that's actually going to win that league. The standards of so many of the leagues have fallen through the floor because they simply can't keep any talented players, and you have this subset of clubs like PSG, Shakhtar Donetsk, and to an extent maybe Ajax are headed this way too if they can hold on to some of these players, who exist solely for the Champions' League because winning their domestic league is just childs' play, but because they're not playing up to a high enough standard week in week out, can't raise the funds to compete with the juggernauts.

I mean, to an extent this is also the result of the fact that in England the TV money is distributed equitably, rather than team by team on an independent basis, so there's more depth of competition, which has always been an issue in e.g. Spain, where Barcelona and Real Madrid attract more audience, so get on TV in more markets, so charge more for their matches, so make more money, so have more to spend, so perpetuate their domination, and if other leagues want to have a slice of the pie and not just be cannon fodder for the EPL teams, they need to look at doing something similar so that they aren't left with a weakening league thanks to all the talent being concentrated at the very top like in Ligue 1. Not that we aren't seeing a similar runaway situation in the EPL, but doesn't it speak volumes that teams 25 points off the pace in the EPL are filling European finals while the cream of the crop elsewhere can't beat them?

Looks like next season's Champions' League maybe I'll have to cheer on Getafe or Eintracht Frankfurt. At least they're from a big enough league that they'll get seeded for the group stages then inevitably get dumped out by a 'name' club. What the Ajax story has told us is not to dream. There is still room for the occasional miracle, like Chapecoense or Leicester City, but the system is designed to try to make them as rare as possible, because they don't want outsiders ruining the cartel's money spiral. And as Manchester City have shown, the only way to break into that cartel is to have so much money that they are reluctantly forced to accept you. Spurs are in the process of finding their way into it - they're from the right league but they haven't spent that big (well, in comparison to the likes of Ajax and co they have spent plenty over the last few years, but in comparison to the kind of superteams in the CL cartel they haven't) aren't part of the inner circle of the superclubs, I'd say. I think they'd have to win this final to stand a chance of being initiated into that.
 
There's no reason strong enough to make any side withdraw from football competitions. That's how sweet football pie is. Would be blasphemy if untrue, but religion becomes secondary when it comes to "big games" and the influence they have on masses. Of course, officials are doing everything to expand the business and they're organizing it in the way to become culture-free, culture in and for itself. So, money remains the leading value in such a structure.
Young players, surrounded by stories of wealth, luxury, glamour, aren't immune to rich offers as soon as they receive them, and it's hard to explain to them that nowadays there's more than enough time in career to sign a big contract and secure future (football numbers are changing the order of magnitude by lightning speed, and they've always been the highest), and that they (young players) should try to leave a mark by playing for clubs they've been brought up in before they leave elsewhere. Leaving a mark somewhere means Eurocup placement, and somewhere Eurocup trophy. Anyway, it means the wider distribution of quality.
But the rate of changing the order of magnitude is so high that less rich clubs can't catch a step with the richest, so they're stuck trailing in order to keep going.
 
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