With the first leg of the 2021/22 Champions League going on, UEFA is believed to be considering making serious changes to the format of the competition in the future, reports The Times.
Real Madrid are one of the four semi-finalists this season and fell to a 4-3 defeat in the first leg on Tuesday against Manchester City. However, they will have a second bite at the apple when the two teams clash in the second leg at the Bernabeu next week.
However, that might not be the case in the future as UEFA is considering doing away with two-legged semi-finals.
Instead, plans are being chalked out to play the two semi-finals and the final in a single week and in one city, as was the case during the 2019/20 campaign which was hit by Covid-19.
The two-legged semi-final format has been in place since 1995 when the European Cup was launched. But several prominent figures, including PSG president Nasser Al-Khelaifi, are throwing their weight behind the new proposal being dubbed the “week of football” plan.
UEFA President Aleksander Ceferin is also in the favour of the change and has spoken positively about the idea in the past. Now, the report states that the European Club Association (ECA) is also ready to back the proposal.
The European Leagues Association would also need to agree to the idea. Even if it is passed, the changes would only come into practice from the 2024/25 season when UEFA are set to introduce a new format in the Champions League.
While it would ease some pressure from the packed fixture schedule, the new format would also take away the magic of second-leg comebacks at the semi-final stages.
Should the plan go ahead, the number of cities that can host the “Champions League week of football” would be whittled down to around half a dozen venues, including London, Paris, Madrid, Rome and Istanbul among others.
Real Madrid may look to sell 24-year-old star if top target arrives in the summer – report
Real Madrid are leaving no stone unturned in their bid to assemble an even stronger squad for the upcoming campaign.
Kylian Mbappe and Alphonso Davies are the club’s top targets in that regard, for the two new signings will be regular starters and bonafide difference makers on the field for Los Blancos.
The latter, in particular, arrives to reinforce a position where none of Carlo Ancelotti’s current options are convincing. Fran Garcia and Ferland Mendy have both had their hiccups at the left-back position for Real Madrid, leaving the position open for Davies to take over.
A potential departure
As revealed by MARCA, Davies’ arrival next season will jeopardise Garcia’s importance in the team for the Canadian will be the manager’s first choice by a mile.
Moreover, Ancelotti is said to be in favour of renewing Mendy, implying that Garcia will practically be his third choice.
Come summer, Garcia could thus be sold if the club receive an offer that they can make money off. Considering that they shelled out €5 million last summer for his incorporation, any offer north of that mark could do the job.
In 18 appearances and 11 starts in La Liga this season, the 24-year-old has provided four assists for Los Blancos. Interestingly, he has started just one of Real Madrid’s last six games across all competitions.
As revealed earlier this week, Real Madrid have reached a verbal agreement with Alphonso Davies. An agreement with Bayern Munich over a transfer fee could be a difficult proposition, however.
As such, it is unclear if Los Blancos will make the move for Davies this summer at a subsidised fee or wait until next year when the player will be a free agent.
Garcia’s future, needless to say, depends on their plan of action on the Davies front.