Manchester, England – In those final few minutes, even as the game was sealed and in the final safe spot, Manchester City staffers and substitutes could not sit still. They pulsed with energy. He used to challenge every poor. He demanded action from the referee for every offense. He cheered every full pass.
As the clock ticked through the injury time, he won a free kick to Paris Saint-Germain, seeing ofderson’s goal, when they fluttered and wept. He was happy when he left. The voice of Mark Sartori, the club’s longest-time masseur, spread to the empty Etihad Stadium. “Not a possibility,” he sighed. There was no more than 30 seconds left, and PSG was required to score three times.
For the rational brain, there was nothing to worry about. Riyad Mahrez had two goals long and kept the tie beyond doubt. The distant prospect of a PSG revival was completely evaporated when Dingel Di María, its Argentine winger, was ejected at Fernandinho and duly dispatched. The city was home and dry since then.
But the rational brain calms down when the stakes are high enough. Everything Citi has achieved in the last 13 years has been transformed from tough hardwares for a pre-eminent force in English football, soon to be the winner of three of the last four Premier League titles and five of the last 10. , The Champions League has become something of an open embrace.
Like PSG, City were built at considerable expense to win the Champions League. Not in the sense that this is the game’s final frontier, the team’s greatest ambition. It is that for the city – this iteration of the city, anyway – this competition is the ultimate objective.
That’s why Pep Guardiola, the standout coach of his generation, was hired; That is why he was hired by his former colleagues living in Barcelona, Txiki Begiristain and Ferran Soriano. This is why they are given the opportunity to assemble a squad that enables them to meet in a training facility designed to meet their every demand.
Soccer, of course, does not work according to a formula, regardless of how much money and expertise it takes to manufacture it. He has learned that the city has a difficult path.
The long slogan of the Premier League has proved to be easier than the Champions League. In this competition, Guardiola said “something in the stars”, and it’s hard to disagree: he has spent the most in the last 10 years on behalf of either a powerhouse Bayern Munich team or Manchester City. Excellent talent, yet it will be his first appearance in the finals of the tournament since 2011.
The disappointment in his diversity is shocking, forced into his unpredictability. Under Guardiola, the city is caught cold by a young and untrained Monaco, and then blown away by a growing and hungry Liverpool. Its heart is broken by Tottenham and its brain is frozen by Lyon.
And now, after a decade of trying, it has broken that roof. The question of what this game means for football is that – for all that fans of both Citi and PSG will be angry for it – the game should continue to contemplate.
Subsequently, football’s most glamorous, most exclusive club competition featured two teams supported by undisclosed assets from the Gulf states competing for a spot. It should not be controversial to suggest that the motives behind their current prominence are not uniquely sports.
This may be the first time they have met on this grand stage, but the simple economics in the game – especially after the epidemic – will not be the last. They have spent their money individually, on individuals and in the city, on PSG and the wider squad, but they have spent it in sums, if any of their rivals can match.
But when geopolitics and ethics and wider influence matter, they don’t mind – not at the moment – the players and staff who have been tasked to take Manchester City to where it wants to be. It is not the story they are part of, not for them.
Instead, his is a story of personal ambition and childhood dreams and professional satisfaction, to see decades of dedication rewarded by a lucrative contract or a high-profile transfer but reaching the long-anticipated opportunity that almost everyone Is from the point of view. The pinnacle of his career.
Therefore, minutes before the end, Kevin de Bruyne ran off the field, his face scorched and his body heavy and he slipped off the chair. He was almost alone, he did not spend the last few minutes bouncing and screaming: there was not a single drop of energy left in his body.
He had spent all this chasing PSG’s defenders, as he tried to get out of Manchester City’s relentless, Lupine Press, and on rare occasions was back on track to spot the threat, which was threatened by Neymar . It seemed, at one point, unable to resist the temptation to meet fire with fire, to react to PSG’s provocations, to reduce its fire slightly. He was already warned; He may have been removed for his own benefit.
When the final whistle rang, he moved his feet heavily into the ground. His teammates were hugging in front of him. Guardiola’s coaching staff arranged themselves in a row to greet each player as soon as they landed. Ruben Dias was shirtless in the bitter cold in principle spring in Manchester, which he could find.
Manchester City has waited for this for over a decade: the culmination of a project, the realization of a plan. Guardiola has waited 10 years to return to the finals of the competition that he, for one, shares more than any other. His players, however, have waited until now. He has waited all his life, indeed, for this one shot. And that, in that moment, is what it means.