Dilemmas of Champions – Santiago Espinoza

Life, say those who think, is about choices. And soccer, too. Choices that can often be cruel. Take the case of the Champions League quarterfinal schedule, which played its first leg matches on Tuesday and Wednesday at the same time: every day, two matches at the same time. On Tuesday they played, in England, Manchester City against Atlético de Madrid, and in Portugal, Benfica against Liverpool. On Wednesday it was the turn of Chelsea against Real Madrid, in England, and Villarreal against Bayern Munich, in Spain.

On Tuesday, my veneration for Pep Guardiola led me to watch the duel played in Manchester against Simeone’s team. A choice that, I do not deny, I regretted more than once, especially when I saw the full XI of Atlético de Madrid entrenched in their area to avoid the creative game of citizens. Only a genius of Foden, who leaked an improbable pass to De Bruyne, broke the defensive lock of the Spaniards. Meanwhile, in the other game, Klopp’s men ate the Portuguese, enduring more than one scare at the hands of his new jewel, the Colombian Luis Díaz. The match had more goals (it ended 1-3) and game, and I would have seen it well if it had been played at a different time than the one against City. With the key practically sealed in favor of the English, I doubt that he will see the return in Liverpool. It will be necessary to suffer the closing of the other key, still uncertain, in the Spanish capital.

On Wednesday I decided to watch the game that was shaping up to be the most disputed: Chelsea against Real Madrid. Although neither team provokes more than contempt in me, I followed him hoping that the English, defending champions of the Champions League, would assert their locality. He did not expect that Benzema’s “macumba” against the rival goalkeepers would also hit Mendy, the Senegalese goalkeeper who, not content with decorating the Frenchman’s first two headed goals, gave him the third with which the match was closed and Probably the whole series, which ends on Tuesday in Madrid. Only when that game was already settled, in the second half, did I watch for a few minutes the parallel match between Villarreal and Bayern. I was screaming against the uselessness of the Spaniards to score more goals to Neuer, who, in a nod to his Chelsea colleague, gave Gerard Moreno a ball that he did not know how to hole from long distance. With a minimal advantage (1-0) for the yellows, it is hard to believe that the Germans are not capable of coming back from the series. So this time I will see their second leg, because I have little faith in the London club, which is still grieving the departure of its former owner, Roman Abramovichm, and has a difficult return at home.