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Guardiola vs Real Madrid: A Champion’s League Tale Continues



A week after going off air, the UEFA Champions League returns, but this time with a very critical clash in an eye watering Semi final first leg. It’s Man City; last year’s finalists and runner’s up versus Real Madrid; La Liga giants and 13 time Champions. Egos are up and about for this fixture as both clubs would want to re-enforce its dominance in Europe’s premier competition, and for City’s end, lay claim to being a European giants.

It is one title they haven’t laid claims to, however ironic it may sound considering they have spent the most money to be considered a top side, conquered England and all there is on consecutive times. But that precious crown, keeps eluding them and possibly to its fandom, a metaphorical kryptonite the club falls beneath every time it comes inches to holding grasp of it.

Compared to prior times, City have seen its team eliminated in succession through the years from the Quarter final stages in the most ridiculous way possible to teams like a struggling Liverpool in the 2017/18 season, a Tottenham side that wasn’t a quarter of the money Man City had invested into the purchase of players, and very awkwardly; a French side in Olympique Lyon. In fact, the one time they had escaped the Quarter final curse under current Manager Pep Guardiola was last season when they met Bundesliga side; Borussia Dortmund, winning on aggregate 4-2. This coincidence the second time.

And judging by the reputation Guardiola has built over the years in his career, this game has a lot going for it and at stake considering his time no matter how many trophies won at City, will be considered a failure if he fails to get to the final let alone win it. His last UEFA Champions League trophy victory was at Barcelona with the likes of Messi under his tutelage as Manager. It’s become a key narrative in the argument that has labeled him a fraud of sorts as without the Argentine magician, he has been able to replicate that success in any of the clubs he had managed after then.

Knowing Guardiola, he overthinks for these games, but looking at the fixture on paper, the game will be decided based on each team’s forward line and how clinical they are in front of goal; something Manchester City lack of late pressing forward. For Madrid, they only need their defense to be as focused and compact as ever cause Guardiola’s pressing and tiki taka monster of a team will sure want a considerable percentage of possession, and judging from the Chelsea quarter final second leg, a repeat will be detrimental to their Champions League campaign.

Of course, been a Barcelona boyhood fan, a game against Real Madrid is a derby game, but then, it is a personal derby for Guardiola against the Champions League in order to reclaim bragging rights. Then again, who will win?