La finale de la Ligue des champions, jouée à Porto samedi 29 mai, a vu Chelsea l’emporter face à Manchester City (1-0) au stade du Dragon. Le milieu de terrain Kai Havertz a inscrit le but victorieux des Blues, qui soulèvent la Coupe aux grandes oreilles pour la seconde fois après celle de 2012. Les Cityzens de Guardiola, trop timorés, voient leur rêve s’envoler.
La malédiction se poursuit. Comme Paris l’année passée, Arsenal ou encore Chelsea en son temps, Manchester City n’a pas réussi à s’imposer par la première finale de Ligue des champions de son histoire. Les champions d’Angleterre voulaient plus que tout l’emporter samedi et imiter le Borussia Dortmund de 1997 (vainqueur de la Juventus 3-1 pour sa première finale de C1). Le sort, le match et Chelsea en ont décidé autrement.
Pour cette finale délocalisée au Portugal, les tribunes du stade du Dragon de Porto étaient un peu garnies. Malgré la pandémie de Covid-19, les instances ont autorisé la présence de 14 000 spectateurs britanniques, dépistés ou vaccinés. Un grand match avec des supporters pour mettre de l’ambiance, cela faisait plus d’un an que l’on n’avait plus vu ça en Ligue des champions.
Champion d’Angleterre et vainqueur de la League Cup, Manchester City avait l’occasion de réaliser le triplé. Pep Guardiola a aligné d’entrée son meilleur onze, avec bien sûr son capitaine et maître à jouer Kevin De Bruyne à la baguette. Mais c’est Chelsea qui est le mieux entré dans cette finale.
Chelsea ajoute une deuxième Ligue des champions à son palmarès, après celle de 2012. Pour Thomas Tuchel, battu en août dernier avec le PSG par le Bayern Munich en finale de la précédente édition, puis débarqué par le club parisien fin 2020, ce sacre est sans doute savoureux. Manchester City, malgré les investissements colossaux de son propriétaire d’Abou Dhabi depuis 2008, repart triste, frustré et bredouille. La Ligue des champions est un Graal décidément bien difficile à obtenir.
The rise and fall of the Super League: in 48 hours, this private competition project carried by twelve major dissident clubs set European football on fire and blood … before faltering in the face of the defections of five of the six English clubs, taken away by Manchester City.
A story of two days that almost changed the face of European football, before turning into a bad joke.
Sunday April 18, 5:19 p.m. PST
The rumor returned periodically, which had prompted the European Football Union (UEFA) and the International Federation (Fifa) to publish an unusual joint statement in January: the two bodies threatened with sanction any possible secessionists wishing to develop a private European competition. and competitor of the Champions League, flagship event of UEFA since 1955. But Sunday, the threat becomes clearer as the European body is preparing to adopt the next day a reform of the C1, however more favorable to the big clubs to which the authority intends to guarantee more matches, therefore income. At 5:19 p.m., sensing the imminent formalization of the Super League project, UEFA drew a preventive press release threatening to exclude from any national and international competition the clubs which participate in a private league, as well as their players. A rare occurrence in sporting matters, an area where the Elysée usually remains in the background, the French presidency also denounces a project « threatening the principle of solidarity and sporting merit ».
Monday, April 19, 12:01 a.m.
A three-page press release, with the header « The Super League », falls into journalists’ mailboxes and has the effect of a bomb: twelve clubs among the richest (Real Madrid, Barcelona, Manchester United, Liverpool …) announce that they are creating their almost closed competition, with 15 full members and five guests each season. This paradigm shift, in a pyramidal European football built on the principle of sporting merit, calls into question the redistribution of television revenues. This time, the Super League seems concrete and is no longer the argument periodically waved by the big clubs to obtain more concessions. « If it’s a bluff, it’s a bluff with incredibly high stakes, with an official website, with formal statements on their websites, » said
Monday April 19, 1:27 p.m.
We discover that the rebellious clubs are ready to go into battle: in a letter obtained by AFP, the Super League warns UEFA and Fifa that it has taken the courts to « ensure the establishment and smooth operation of the competition ».
Monday April 19, 2:42 p.m.
UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin appears at a press conference, dark suit and closed face, after an executive committee of the instance. The Slovenian lawyer does not mince his words: the Super League is « a shameful proposition » of a few « snakes » only « guided by greed », « a spit in the face of all football lovers ». On a more personal level, the betrayal is immensely painful for him: he is the godfather of one of the children of Andrea Agnelli, the boss of Juventus, one of the dissident clubs! The latter, after having assured him at the beginning of the weekend that the rumors of secession should not be believed, turned his jacket over, suddenly becoming unreachable by his former friend. Ceferin then promises a response and announces in passing the
Monday April 19, 5:30 p.m.
Faced with the miraculous revenues promised by the promoters of the Super League, in particular an initial payment of 3.5 billion euros to the founding clubs, the financial markets are rubbing their hands. The action of Juventus Turin closes sharply on Monday late afternoon (+ 17%) while that of Manchester United is progressing significantly in New York.
Tuesday April 20, 12:03 am
Florentino Pérez, all-powerful boss of Real Madrid and new president of the Super League, appears on the set of the Spanish talk show El Chiringuito. The business manager considers it « impossible » that rebellious clubs are excluded and defends his project. « The new Champions League is supposed to start in 2024 »; by then, with the pandemic, « all the clubs will be dead! » pleads Pérez.
Tuesday April 20, 10:38 a.m.
Gianni Infantino, FIFA president who often disagrees with Ceferin, provides notable support to UEFA: before the congress of the European body, the leader castigates the rebels who “will have to suffer the consequences” of their rupture. In the process, the 55 member federations unanimously adopt a resolution condemning the Super League, even if Ceferin assures the rebels that it is « still time to change their minds ».
Tuesday April 20, 5:42 p.m.
The legal battle is becoming clearer: in a summary decision, a Madrid commercial court bans UEFA and Fifa from any measure against the launch of the Super League, pending a decision on the merits of the case . This first victory in the courtroom seems to augur a long legal standoff between two apparently irreconcilable camps.
Tuesday April 20, 7:45 p.m.
Incredible turnaround: several British media, including the BBC, are starting to talk about the hesitations of certain rebellious clubs, or even their desire to withdraw. At the same time, hundreds of angry supporters from different English clubs gather on the outskirts of Stamford Bridge, the home of Chelsea, one of the rebels.
Tuesday April 20, 9:19 p.m.
Under pressure, Manchester City is the first to give in, announcing in a statement « to withdraw from the group responsible for developing the European Super League project ». A turnaround for which UEFA President Aleksander Ceferin immediately said he was « delighted ».
Tuesday April 20, 11:55 p.m.
In turn, several other English clubs follow in City’s footsteps, gradually emptying the Super League of its substance. Liverpool, Arsenal, Tottenham and Manchester United give up, ensuring that they have taken into account the rejection expressed by their supporters. « We made a mistake, and we apologize », summarizes Arsenal on Twitter.
Wednesday April 21, 9:29 a.m.
Agnelli, one of the figures of secession, admits to the facts: the president of Juventus believes that the project cannot exist without the six English clubs, AFP learns from his entourage, while the stock market title of Juve unscrews at the Milan Stock Exchange. Shortly after, Atlético Madrid and Inter Milan in turn formalized their withdrawal from the project, a new nail in the coffin of the Super League.
UEFA is working hard behind the scenes and preparing the response, which will be financial, after the surprise birth of the Super League. When we attack it, UEFA strikes back. As announced by Bloomberg and confirmed by RMC Sport, UEFA is preparing a large-scale response behind the scenes, after the formalization on Sunday of the possible […]
First official speech by the president of the SuperLeague, and things are clear. The new competition is there to replace the Champions League, and bring more money to the big clubs. This is the bombshell of this week, and probably of this year 2021. 12 of the most prestigious clubs in Europe have decided to come […]
Paris Saint-Germain do not seem so insensitive to the Super League project in the end, even if they are currently opposed to it. While twelve of the biggest clubs in the world have declared themselves for a new competition, called the Super League, Paris Saint-Germain say they are currently opposed. It’s also not the only club in this […]
A few hours after the announcement of the creation of a Super League by twelve dissident clubs, the American bank JP Morgan officially announced that it would finance this project for a new competition. An investment of between 4 and 6 billion euros is expected.
The Juventus can not do it. After Ajax Amsterdam in 2019 and Olympique Lyonnais in 2020, this time it was FC Porto who thwarted the forecasts and caused the loss of the Old Lady. Three weeks after winning in Portugal (2-1), the Dragons certainly lost 3-2 in Piedmont, but the two goals scored at the Olympic Stadium allowed them to win their ticket to the quarter-finals.
Reduced to ten shortly before the hour mark, the champions of Portugal seemed to be on the brink of the abyss when attacking extra time, but a distant free kick was going to make the men of Sergio Conceicao happy. Already a goal scorer from the 19 th minute, Sergio Oliveira would afford an improbable double thanks to a low shot from 30 meters. The fault, in particular, to Cristiano Ronaldo , according to Fabio Capello.
He has no excuse
“Cristiano Ronaldo jumps and turns in the wall. Whoever is in the wall cannot be afraid to take the ball. It is an unforgivable mistake, he has no excuse, ” thus launched the former coach of Juve (2004-06) at the microphone of Sky Italia. The five-time Golden Ball is not the only fault, but the Portuguese effectively turns around when his partner strikes in selection, allowing the ball to pass through the wall.
If he was more evasive, Andrea Pirlo did not fail to regret the mistakes made by his troops at the end of the meeting. « Four mistakes in two games cost us our qualification and in a competition like this, you can’t make so many mistakes » , regretted the Turin coach.