Champions League: Barcelona-Manchester, The Spanish Empire Under Threat?

Champions League Barcelona play Manchester United

Spanish football, which already has only one representative at the quarterfinal stage of the Champions League, could lose FC Barcelona on Tuesday 16th April, 2019.

Sovereign in the Champions League for five years, Spain football is in decline? His last champion, FC Barcelona , is threatened Tuesday, April 16, 2019 (21h) in the quarterfinal return by the stunning Manchester United , a member of an English foursome who hopes to shake the Spanish empire.

Of course, having won Old Trafford in the first leg (1-0), Barca are entering the second leg in a strong position in their impregnable stronghold at Camp Nou, where Captain Lionel Messi and his troops have not lost in Europe. since 2013 (27 wins, 3 draws).

But the Red Devils are not afraid outside, having debunked Paris SG at Parc des Princes in the eighth (0-2, 3-1). And the early eliminations of Real Madrid and Atlético sound like two warnings: this is the first time since 2010 that the Liga has only one representative in quarters of C1. A paradox while the final is played in Madrid … as in 2010.

Barcelona does not want to go to the trap

“We are the only survivors of the Spanish Liga, it is not something usual,” admitted Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde, after five years of 100% Iberian winners (four C1 for Real Madrid, one for Barcelona).

This season, the powerful English Premier League has qualified four clubs for the European top 8, a first since 2009. And their representatives stand on the road to Barça: if the team blaugrana tames Manchester United, it could cross in the semifinal Liverpool, who took a clear option in the first leg against FC Porto (2-0).

The final, more hypothetically, may be about Tottenham, winner of Manchester City 1-0.

Manchester United players during a training session at Camp Nou, April 15, 2019.
Manchester United players during a training session at Camp Nou, April 15, 2019. (© AFP / Archives / Josep LAGO)

Hispano-English war

On the floor below, in the Europa League, we are moving except surprise to the semi-finals with two English clubs (Chelsea and Arsenal) and one Spanish club (Valencia).

“It’s not a scoop to say that the Premier League is a championship of an extremely high competitive level,” Valverde analyzed.

And here is revived the Hispano-English war for the best players, the most beautiful trophies and the most attractive rights television. In this area, the Premier League has a head start (about 3.3 billion euros collected per year, combined domestic and foreign markets) compared to the Liga (at least 2 billion euros).

This financial strength is one of the reasons for the rise in English but not only: in the opinion of Zinedine Zidane, we must also welcome the contribution of renowned foreign technicians like Pep Guardiola (Manchester City), Jürgen Klopp (Liverpool) and Mauricio Pochettino (Tottenham). José Mourinho has been replaced on the Manchester United bench by Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

Champions League: Barcelona vs Manchester United.
Champions League: Barcelona vs Manchester United. (© AFP / File /)

Zidane not surprised by the English

“It’s a football in progress, it does not surprise me to see the English clubs” at this level, said Sunday the French coach of Real Madrid. “Because the coaches who are at the head of these teams bring their novelty, their know-how, which is different. The association can be good. ”

Zidane, recalled at the beginning of March to rebuild the “White House”, nevertheless ensures that Spanish clubs are not at the end of the cycle, while Real and Barça remain the two clubs with the most revenue in the world, according to Deloitte.

“Spanish football still has its place, from next year,” warned the Frenchman.

“I do not think the Spanish cycle is under threat.”

A prognosis that Barça has the duty to confirm Tuesday at Camp Nou to reach its first semifinal since 2015 and erase three consecutive failures in quarters.

Without overconfidence: after inflicting a “remontada” to PSG in 2017 (0-4, 6-1), then having suffered one last year in Rome (4-1, 0-3), the Catalans are well placed to beware of Manchester United and his French star Paul Pogba. And the durability of the Spanish empire is at stake.

Read more: : Coupe de France : quand acheter ses billets pour la finale entre Rennes et le PSG ?

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