Special nights needed after Champions League overload

April 27, 2009

I’m not exactly sure why, but I’m not as excited as I should be given it’s the Champions League semi-final first legs this week.

Both ties should be making my mouth water. Manchester United v Arsenal is always a decent game in the Premier League and with Alex Ferguson’s men still wearily battling for the domestic title, Arsene Wenger’s boys have the perfect opportunity to spring a surprise.

Barcelona and Chelsea have a big recent rivalry too. Their contrasting styles could make for interesting viewing over the two legs with the majestic magic of Messi coming up against the sheer physical power of Drogba and Co.

Despite all this, I sense a slight feeling of apathy towards the games. I cover sport for Reuters in Italy but I’ve been in England over the weekend and I barely heard anyone talk about the Champions League or saw any hyped-up publicity.

In fact, the Italians seem equally as excited as the English despite having no teams left in the competition.

A factor for this malaise is obviously the dominance of English teams of late. It is just another semi-final. Back when United were battling to re-establish themselves as a European force in the mid-nineties, a Champions League semi-final was a really big deal.

Chelsea overcame Liverpool after a quite amazing quarter-final second leg, yet still I don’t feel in semi-final mode.

Maybe it’s because it’s the first legs or perhaps I feel the semis have come too quickly after the quarters, where the two legs were played straight after each other.

Maybe a bigger gap would help build the anticipation.

Right now it’s just a barrage of domestic league, Champions League, domestic league, domestic cup semi, Champions League. I wouldn’t begrudge a player if he couldn’t motivate himself 100 percent every time but surely this week they must.

So come on Messi, Lampard, Ronaldo, Fabregas – put on a real show this week and make me fall in love with the Champions League again.

PHOTO: Chelsea captain Frank Lampard celebrates after their Champions League quarter-final second leg soccer match aggregate win against Liverpool at Stamford Bridge in London April 14, 2009. REUTERS/Toby Melville


We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see http://blogs.reuters.com/fulldisclosure/2010/09/27/toward-a-more-thoughtful-conversation-on-stories/

[…] to Source Share and […]

Posted by Special nights needed after Champions League overload | Soccer News Info | Report as abusive

I just wish it wasn’t the same clubs over and over and over again … it’s monotonous after a while.
Chelsea vs. Barca … again? Really?
Arsenal vs. Man U … ok, I get it … but there’s no news shiny feeling about this season’s Cup, or any CL since 2004 and Porto beating Monaco.
I dunno … maybe I’m cynical because my club Valencia isn’t in it.

Posted by Cesar | Report as abusive

I think to look at the first leg of a tie and get excited about it is easy to do but a bit naive to think it’s going to be a good game.

I always think of the first leg as a feeler for the two teams and if anything good happens then it’s a bonus. I do however expect really explosive ties in the second leg and the Champions League rarely disappoints.


Posted by Steven Jones | Report as abusive

it was long time ago……Barca defeated chelsea in second leg….but did they deserve it ? no in my opinion….


Posted by Total Sports Madness | Report as abusive