SUPER LEAGUE: THE 48 HOURS THAT (ALMOST) CHANGED FOOTBALL

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.

SL: Florentino Pérez announces the end of the Champions League

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 […]

SL: Florentino Pérez announces the end of the Champions League

SUPER LEAGUE: JP MORGAN ANNOUNCES FUNDING FOR THE PROJECT

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.

Super League format unveiled

The Super League was officially inducted this Sunday, in the face of a huge outcry. Here is the format of this new competition.

It’s official since Sunday, the European Super League was born . Twelve clubs have decided to embark on the adventure, including Real Madrid, Juventus, FC Barcelona or Manchester City, Chelsea and Manchester United. We know a little more about the financial endowments , but also about the course of this competition which is already causing much ink to flow in the world of football .

The twelve founding members are still looking for three lasting partners to reach a total of fifteen. To these fifteen stables would be added five guests who change with the seasons and for whom the selection criteria are still unknown (prize list? Latest results on the continental scene? Prestige?). Two pools of 10 teams would thus form with round-trip matches in the form of a classic championship.

3 more tickets to take, 5 guests per season

The top three in each group would directly qualify for the quarter-finals. The fourth and fifth, they would play round-trip play-offs to get the last two tickets. From the quarters, we would find a system comparable to the final phase of the Champions League, with two-way oppositions.

The final would be played at the end of May, in a dry match, on neutral ground, at the end of a tournament which would start in August. The matches would be played on weekdays so that participants could continue to play their respective national championships. On paper, the project is clear. It remains to be seen whether, faced with the hostile reaction of authorities and football fans, it will come to an end.

Ronaldo’s inexcusable attitude

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.

Spain: Lionel Messi accused of having ruined FC Barcelona

Lionel Messi accused of having ruined FC Barcelona

Long considered a living god, Lionel Messi is undergoing increasingly violent attacks as his contract with Barcelona comes to an end. The Argentine is now accused of having ruined Barça.

When you want to kill your dog, you say he has rabies. This expression seems to apply more and more to Lionel Messi on the side of FC Barcelona. As long as the six-time Ballon d’Or lined up victories and trophies with Barca, no one blamed him for anything but the fact that the Argentinian Blaugrana star announced last summer that he refused to extend his contract with the Catalan club suddenly opened the floodgates to criticism. And, at a time when FC Barcelona’s financial accounts are in bright red, since there is talk of a deficit exceeding one billion euros at the end of the season, Lionel Messi is accused of having contributed to plunge the club on the chart of accounts. This Sunday, the very seriousE l Mundomade its headlines with a figure: 555,237,619 euros, which represents the cost of the contract signed in 2017 by Messi to renew for four years at Barça. And the title is hardly more flattering for the player and Josep Maria Bartomeu, who headed the club at the time:  »  The pharaonic contract of Leo Messi which ruined Barcelona « . The daily, which had access to this document, however highly confidential, gives the details that lead to these 555.2 ME spent in four years to keep La Pulga.

This four-year contract extension, signed on November 25, 2017, allows Lionel Messi to pocket his salary, image rights, a series of bonuses qualified as unpublished by the media, varying amounts depending on different objectives, that is to say 555.2ME of which the player would have already pocketed 92% within six months of the end of his contract. Of this total, the part related to salaries would be 138ME, or 380.00 euros per day, while the bonuses are numerous with for example 97ME of extension bonus, 66ME of loyalty bonus, 1.6ME per season if Messi plays 60% matches, 2.3ME in case of a Spanish title or even 3.5ME in case of victory in the Champions League. And the same goes for image rights which gives rise to a shower of bonuses, including 17ME of extension bonus and 11.6ME of loyalty bonus. Barca’s presidential elections are approaching, which may explain it.

Diego Maradona: football and politics

File photo of a tattoo of former Cuban President Fidel Castro is seen on Diego Maradona's leg
Maradona had a tattoo of the late Cuban leader Fidel Castro, whom he often referred to as his « second father, » on his leg

considered one of the greatest footballers of all time, but politics was also his passion. The late Fidel Castro considered him to be the cheguevara of football.

During the World Cup in 1986, in the quarter-finals when his country Argentina played a game against England, he scored a goal using his hand willingly (the hand of God) and afterwards he declared that he wanted to stand avenge Argentinian soldiers killed by the British army in the Falklands

He had relations with several leaders of Latin America, such as Fidel Castro of Cuba, Hugo Chávez of Venezuela Nicolas Maduro Moros and Evo Morales

 Coincidentally, the two men died on the same day, November 25, 2020 for Maradona and November 25, 2016 for Castro. He even said that he considered Castro to be his second dad, “Diego is a great friend and very noble too. There is no doubt that he is a great athlete and that he has maintained a friendship with Cuba without any material gain for himself, ”Castro once said.

Diego Maradona was also close to the late Hugo Chávez, in 2005 he traveled to Venezuela to visit him at the presidential palace, « Everything Fidel does, everything Chávez does, for me is the best [that could be done] ”, he said in 2007.

Recently, Maradona supported Evo Morales, when the latter left Bolivia following mass protests and pressure from the army chief last year. Maradona described the change of power as « a coup ».

After Maradona’s death, Nicolás Maduro, the current ruler of Venezuela, shared the video of Maradona and Castro.

The open criticism of the Vatican when John Paul II was Pope is one of its most famous stories, and of what Maradona saw as a lack of focus on the cause of the poor.

“I walked in and saw the golden ceiling. And I thought, how [he] can… live with a golden cap and then go to poor countries and kiss boys with stomachs like that. I stopped believing, because I saw, ”said after his visit to the Vatican.

He regained his confidence after many years when the Argentinian was appointed Pope, he met Pope Francis several times in the Vatican after being elected in 2013 as the first pontiff in Latin America.

Diego Maradona: le football et la politique

Photo de fichier d'un tatouage de l'ancien président cubain Fidel Castro est vu sur la jambe de Diego Maradona
Maradona avait un tatouage de feu le dirigeant cubain Fidel Castro, qu’il appelait souvent son «deuxième père», sur sa jambe

considéré comme l’un des plus grands footballeurs de tous les temps, mais la politique était aussi sa passion. Le feu Fidel Castro le considérait comme le cheguevara du football.

Pendant la coupe du monde en 1986, en quart de final lorsque son pays Argentine disputa un match contre l’Angleterre, il a marqué un but en utilisant sa main volontairement (la main de Dieu) et après il a déclaré qu’il voulait se venger des soldats Argentins tués par l’armée Anglaise dans les îles Malouines

Il avait des relations avec plusieurs dirigeants de l’Amérique latine, comme Fidel Castro du Cuba, Hugo Chávez du Venezuela Nicolas Maduro Moros et Evo Morales

 Par coïncidence, les deux hommes sont décédés le même jour, le 25 novembre 2020 pur Maradona et le 25 novembre 2016 pour Castro. Il a même déclaré qu’il considerait Castro comme son deuxième papa, «Diego est un grand ami et très noble aussi. Il ne fait aucun doute qu’il est un athlète formidable et qu’il a maintenu une amitié avec Cuba sans aucun gain matériel pour lui-même », a déclaré un jour Castro

Diego Maradona était aussi proche de feu Hugo Chávez, en 2005, il s’est rendu au Venezuela pour lui rendre visite au palais présidentiel,«Tout ce que fait Fidel, tout ce que Chávez fait, pour moi est le meilleur [qui puisse être fait]», a-t-il déclaré en 2007.

Récemment, Maradona a soutenu Evo Morales, quand ce dernier a quitté la Bolivie suite à des manifestations de masse et à la pression du chef de l’armée l’année dernière. Maradona a décrit le changement de pouvoir comme «un coup d’État».

Après la mort de Maradona, Nicolás Maduro le dirigeant actuel du Venezuela, a partagé la vidéo de Maradona et Castro.

La critique ouverte du Vatican lorsque Jean-Paul II était Pape est l’une de ses histoires les plus célèbres, et de ce que Maradona percevait comme un manque de concentration sur la cause des pauvres.

«Je suis entré et j’ai vu le plafond doré. Et je me suis dit: comment [il] peut… vivre avec un plafond doré et ensuite aller dans des pays pauvres et embrasser les garçons avec le ventre comme ça. J’ai arrêté de croire, parce que je voyais », a déclaré après sa visite au Vatican.

Il reprit la confiance après de nombreuses années quand l’Argentin fut nommé pape, il a rencontré le pape François à plusieurs fois au Vatican après avoir été élu en 2013 comme premier pontife d’Amérique latine.