No More Lustre: Has the UEFA Champions League Lost Its Glamour?
So as FC Barcelona managed to sweep their bitter rivals Real Madrid and Manchester United FC brush aside German hopefuls FC Schalke 04 in the 2010/11 edition of the UEFA Champions League, there’s one thing that creeps into mind when you look at the two finalists for the final at Wembely: Normalcy.
The Champions League is European football’s (nay, the world’s ) most elite and prestigious club footballing tournament, where the very best of European clubs get the chance to cut their metal and test their grit against other European footballing elite. It’s literally the stuff dreams are made of. Mouth-watering group stage encounters, nail-biting semi-finals and a melting pot of the world’s footballing elite players competing to lift the coveted trophy at the end of the tournament.
Quite romantic when you think about it. After all, imagine the prospect of a (say for example) Marseille taking on Juventus in the quarter-finals to see who will take on the winner of Chelsea FC and Valencia in the final. It could be about the “little clubs” fighting and battling against European royalty and brushing them aside to hold that illustrious trophy at season’s end.
But as recently history will tell you, it’s been far from that. The romance and the thrill of the ties in the Champions League is slowly and surely fading away. This season’s edition sees FC Barcelona take on Manchester United in what no doubt should be a very entertaining affair. But it’s become all too typical. For the past few seasons (since 2000) the Champions League trophy has only been placed in the trophy cabinets of four different footballing nations (England, Spain, Portugal and Italy), with Germany’s Bayern Munich making the final twice but losing both times (Valencia CF in 2000/01 and Inter Milan 2009/10).Continued on the next page