Could new Champions League format result in new title on trophy regardless of virus fear? | Football News

LISBON: With simply two former winners left within the competitors, no Cristiano Ronaldo and no followers, the Champions League strikes to Lisbon this week for the beginning of the ‘Final Eight’ with the intriguing prospect {that a} new format might result in a brand new title on the trophy.
However, the shadow of the coronavirus looms giant after it was introduced on Sunday two people from Atletico Madrid, one of many groups concerned in Portugal, have examined constructive.
“On Saturday, all members of the primary group and the membership’s celebration to Lisbon underwent exams as required by UEFA protocols,” mentioned a membership assertion.
“Among the outcomes identified as we speak, two positives have appeared and they’re self-isolating of their respective properties.”
It was not revealed whether or not the 2 constructive circumstances concerned gamers or backroom employees.
Barcelona and Bayern Munich, with 5 European Cups every, are in rivalry for the title however just one will attain the semi-finals — they meet one another within the quarter-finals on the Estadio da Luz on Friday.
With Barca determined for extra European success earlier than Lionel Messi, who turned 33 in June, strikes on, and Bayern wanting a fearsome proposition led by Robert Lewandowski, that guarantees to be an exhilarating tie regardless of the shortage of supporters.
But possibly this time the glory will go to somebody new altogether, with Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain each having purpose to consider this would be the yr they’re rewarded for a decade of decadence fuelled by the immense wealth of their house owners within the Gulf.
“The huge golf equipment raise the titles,” was how City boss Pep Guardiola put it after his group knocked out Real Madrid on Friday.
Perhaps Atletico, again the place they misplaced the 2014 last to Real, will ultimately go the additional step beneath Diego Simeone, or maybe there will likely be a shock winner in RB Leipzig, Atalanta and even Lyon.
At this degree, Atalanta are the minnows and it might be a exceptional story in the event that they received the trophy of their first look within the Champions League after the horrible struggling of their hometown Bergamo through the coronavirus pandemic.
It is as a direct results of COVID-19 that UEFA have taken the Champions League to the Portuguese capital for the latter phases.
The competitors restarted on Friday after 5 months in hibernation due to the pandemic. The last was initially as a consequence of be performed in Istanbul in late May earlier than being postponed.
Travel restrictions and an absence of time to get the season completed meant enjoying all video games in the identical place and taking out two-legged ties within the quarter-finals and semi-finals was the one answer.
That state of affairs, nevertheless, turned a little bit extra difficult on Sunday after Atletico’s announcement.
They will take a look at all their squad and backroom employees once more, which means that they may doubtless need to delay their deliberate Monday departure.
Atletico are as a consequence of face Leipzig in Lisbon on Thursday.
The last will likely be performed at Benfica’s Estadio da Luz on August 23. The ‘Final Eight’ will begin on the similar floor on Wednesday when Atalanta face PSG.
Whoever wins that can meet Leipzig or Atletico for a spot within the last, whereas City or Lyon will meet Bayern or Barcelona within the different semi-final.
The most uncommon Champions League has already seen Real — winners of 4 of the final six editions — exit within the final 16 together with holders Liverpool and Juventus, who had been eradicated by Lyon on Friday regardless of one of the best efforts of Ronaldo.
Now 35, the competitors’s all-time document goal-scorer would have beloved to triumph once more within the last in Lisbon, the place his profession began with Sporting.
At least it will not have harmed his possibilities of profitable the Ballon d’Or, with the award for one of the best participant on the planet known as off this yr by organisers France Football due to the pandemic.
But from Messi, Lewandowski and Kylian Mbappe to Neymar and Kevin De Bruyne, among the best expertise round will likely be on show in Lisbon.
It is only a disgrace the champions will likely be topped in an empty stadium.
Football followers have change into utilized in latest months to watching on tv as video games go forward behind closed doorways.
The various, in spite of everything, is not any soccer in any respect, as Europe continues to wrestle with the pandemic and circumstances rise once more throughout the continent after a brief interval of relative respite.
“I’m an optimistic individual, and my nice hope is that spectators will be capable to return to our matches as quickly as potential,” mentioned UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin lately.
In the meantime, there are strict well being tips in place, with groups topic to a strict testing regime and social distancing guidelines, and the variety of folks allowed inside grounds saved to a minimal.

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