The UEFA Champions League has not disappointed this season. The competition has delivered on every aspect that it promised, from the drama to the nail-biting action and enthralling comebacks.
Now, only four teams remain in the race for European glory. The semifinal stage of the competition is set to kick off early next week and it is clear that the world’s focus will be more fixated on one semifinal than the other.
Inter Milan and AC Milan contesting a derby in the final-four stage makes up for a special storyline. Yet, one cannot help but view the game between Manchester City and Real Madrid as a clash between the two best clubs in the world.
Earlier this week, Aymeric Laporte spoke about the opposition his side face in the Champions League next week. It was clear that the Machester City defender did not forget the painful defeat at the hands of Real Madrid last season as he said:
“In the Champions League, we face another big team in Real Madrid and we will try to get our revenge from last year.”
Pep Guardiola’s side looked to have sealed a spot in the final of the prestigious competition last year and even had a two-goal lead on aggregate heading into the 90th minute of the second leg.
Two clutch goals from Rodrygo in two minutes, however, downed the confidence of the English champions and forced extra time. Karim Benzema had the pleasure of inflicting the final blow on the night as City collapsed out of the competition.
This time, however, the Blues appear to be a rung higher in terms of quality. The addition of Erling Haaland makes them a formidable side in attack, while Kevin De Bruyne’s return from injury gives Guardiola a close-to full-strength squad.
Carlo Ancelotti’s men will thus have to play at their very best if they are to advance to the next round.
Real Madrid the most likely destination for Kylian Mbappe with Liverpool not pushing for transfer
Journalist Florian Plettenberg has affirmed that despite Liverpool’s continued interest, Real Madrid remain the most realistic destination for Kylian Mbappe either for next year or the year after that.
As far as PSG are concerned, the Ligue 1 champions are totally relaxed over the drama as they are now financially secure for his possible departure. Nonetheless, Liverpool are not at all pushing for the player which leaves Real Madrid as the only team as suitors.
Mbappe has declined an extension offer from PSG, as his current deal is set to expire in 2024 and the 24-year-old forward seems poised to determine his future destination sooner rather than later.
As for Real Madrid, while they have denied holding any talks with the 2018 FIFA World Cup winner, the interest in him has always been there as he remains one of the club’s main targets for 2024.
One last attempt for Mbappe?
Real Madrid have been chasing Mbappe since 2021 and while there have been instances when he almost joined, the move has always failed to materialise for some reason.
Last year, he ended up signing a new contract and this year, as he looked certain to leave PSG, a sudden change of heart saw him stay put. Now, there are going to be some repercussions of his continued ignorance.
These repercussions Mbappe will experience if rejects Madrid once again as it is said that the team from the Spanish capital is fed up with playing this game and if the move fails next summer, the door for Mbappe will be closed forever.
On the contrary, Plettenberg reports that it is not a matter of if for Mbappe, but a matter of when.
So even if they somehow miss out on his acquisition this summer, they will be able to sign him in 2025 as they are currently the only team running for his signature.