For Manchester City, UEFA Champions League is the Big Prize


Although all venues will be incredibly limited, regarding media and staff, due to current social distancing guidance, and no fans will be allowed inside anywhere, the UEFA Champions League tournament will be just as anticipated as ever.

It all starts on August 7, with two matches kicking off at the same time, one of which might be the most exciting; at least on paper. It’s a little over a couple weeks until the UCL resumes, but you can circle one date already for sure.

La Liga giants Real Madrid have a big challenge, as they have a road battle at Manchester City, the favorite team to win the tournament according to Los Reyes Del Europa, the all-time Kings of Europe, Real Madrid are always a contender, as no one dominates this competition like they do, historically. However, they are only a darkhorse candidate to win the 2019/20 Champions League competition.

They are down 1-2 from the first leg of this tie, staged at their home the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu, so there prospects look grim at best. City biggest’s rivals for favorite status are Bayern Munich, coincidentally, the club that they sold star winger Leroy Sane to at the beginning of the month. However, he will not be able to feature for the Bavarian juggernaut until 2020/21. If the “big eared” UCL trophy isn’t hoisted, at the end of it all, by one of the three teams previoulsy mentioned, then it’s likely Ligue 1 ruling oligarchs Paris Saint-Germain or Madrid’s chief rival, FC Barcelona, who claim the big prize. At least that’s what it looks like on paper, when you see the UCL draws.

For Manchester City, the final day of the season, Championship Sunday, brings nothing to play for. They enter with second place already secured while their opponents, Norwich City, have already been relegated. It’s a chance for rest and squad rotation, as the clash with Real looms.

The Sky Blues have nothing to prove really regarding recent form either.

Yes, they were unceremoniously dumped out of the FA Cup last weekend, but they are also on a tear in their recent league fixtures- winning their last five with an aggregate goal differential of 16-1. However, it is in Europe that manager Pep Guardiola will define his Cityzens legacy.

He couldn’t win it all with a side that won the first domestic treble in English history last season. Ditto for the previous season, when he led a side that smashed all key Premier League season era records. Simply put- it’s time. It’s the only thing he hasn’t accomplished yet on the blue side of Manchester.

Paul M. Banks runs The Sports, which is partnered with News NowBanks, the author of “No, I Can’t Get You Free Tickets: Lessons Learned From a Life in the Sports Media Industry,” regularly contributes to WGN TVSports IllustratedChicago Now and SB Nation.

You can follow Banks, a former writer for Chicago Tribune.comon Twitter and his cat on Instagram.

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