Get ready for the chaos of the Champions League - The Warm-Up
The Champions League is back but not as we know it. Wayne Rooney’s mates leave a lot to be desired at times and futsal should not have its funding cut, as evidenced by Max Kilman in Wolves’ win against Leeds United in the Premier League.
Kingsley Coman of FC Bayern Munich celebrates with the UEFA Champions League Trophy following his team's victory in the UEFA Champions League Final match between Paris Saint-Germain and Bayern Munich at Estadio do Sport Lisboa e Benfica on August 23, 2020
If the above is meandering its way down your ear canal on a mission to set in motion some endorphin release then that means one of three things:
a) you're listening to one of the greatest songs of all time
b) the Champions League is back
Tonight is both, you lucky devils, you. The Champions League is back. And if domestic football is anything to go by, it is going to be chaos. Why? Well, the usual contenders - see Real Madrid, Barcelona, PSG, Bayern Munich, Juventus, Manchester City and Liverpool - are all in differing degrees of disarray.
Here is a helpful table to illustrate said degrees:
Bog standard disarray
A suggestion of disarray
Now, that means that this truncated, bizarre season of football may mean a super club might not actually win the Champions League this year. Glorious. The 2004 winners, Porto, are the last team without vast resources to have won it. Well, perhaps Liverpool in 2005. Anyway, it is a good 15-odd years since the Champions League had a true surprise winner. This could be the year. So who is in the mix to produce a shock? Marseille all the way. André Villas-Boas to grind his way to glory, and become the first manager to compete at the Dakar Rally and win the Champions league.
Pal 2: Popped round, maybe to his kitchen, when they had been advised to take a Covid-19 test
For context on pal 2, Rooney released a statement via his management company saying that he was 'angry and disappointed' that a friend who had been advised to take a Covid-19 test had elected to pop round to Rooney's house.
The coronavirus pandemic has led to some very tough decisions at the FA. One of which was to more or less completely cut funding to the futsal program.
It is a poor decision and one without merit when set alongside the context of the growing popularity of the game within the UK, and it seems devoid of logic considering it was described by England coach Gareth Southgate as a “great game and development tool”.
Such a great development tool, in fact, that Wolves' man of the match in their 1-0 Premier League win against Leeds was futsal alumni Max Kilman.
The former Genesis, Helvecia and England player is in no doubt that the game shaped him – assisting in his rise from non-league Maidenhead United F.C. to the Premier League - telling the Guardian back in 2019 that:
Since I’ve got to Wolves I’ve realised that I’d benefited from my time playing futsal. It helps with what they do really well here. The speed of decision-making, everything is just sharper and quicker. You need to know what you’re going to do next.
The 23 year old produced a mature performance against Leeds that also included an assist and winning 100 per cent of his duels. It was a fine performance, just someone tell Conor Coady.
IN THE CHANNELS
Bruno Fernandes was clearly unaware that he was about to be named Manchester United captain for their Champions League fixture against Paris Saint-Germain.
HEROES AND ZEROS
This one is interactive today and presented without comment, you decide.