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UEFA is considering changing the Champions League format – report

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Photo by PAUL ELLIS/AFP via Getty Images

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.

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Real Madrid News

Real Madrid were offered Man City loanee in January, club decided against move – Romano

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Photo by THOMAS KIENZLE/AFP /AFP via Getty Images

Joao Cancelo’s loan move to Bayern Munich from Manchester City in the final days of the January transfer window came as a huge shock.

The Portuguese international signed for the Bavarian giants on a loan deal until the end of the season with a non-mandatory purchase option worth €70 million.

But, according to Fabrizio Romano, before his move to Bayern Munich, Cancelo was also offered to Real Madrid, who decided against signing any player in the January transfer window.

The Manchester City loanee has been on Los Blancos’ radars in the past, but the club made it clear that they are uninterested in signing any new players during the winter window.

As things stand, Dani Carvajal and Lucas Vazquez are Carlo Ancelotti’s options at right-back, but there are concerns over their fitness and longevity.

But, as things stand, Real Madrid have no plans to sign a new right-back in the summer as they have full faith in both Carvajal and Vazquez.

Furthermore, Romano adds that the Merengues believe that they have a top right-back for the future in the form of Vinicius Tobias.

The teenage Brazilian joined the club in April last year from Shakhtar Donetsk on loan with a purchase option. He has been earning rave reviews for his performances for Real Madrid’s Castilla outfit under Raul Gonzalez.

So, there is a good chance that the Spanish and European champions will sign Tobias permanently.

All these factors seemingly compelled them against making a move for Cancelo when he was offered to the club last month. The Portuguese international has already made his debut for Bayern Munich and registered an assist on his debut.

Whether they decide to sign him permanently for €70 million in the summer remains to be seen. As for Real Madrid, though, there do not seem to be any imminent plans to reinforce the right-back position.

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