Blog

Road to Lisbon final mapped out

Conducting the Champions League quarter-final and semi-final draws by Zoom from UEFA HQ in Switzerland threw up some unusual sights and some even more fascinating fixtures

WORDS Simon Hart

Well, it was certainly a different kind of Champions League draw that we saw this lunchtime – and not just for draw guest Paulo Sousa’s increasing resemblance to former Wham! star Andrew Ridgeley (look him up on Google, younger readers).

We had the novel sight of luminaries of the European game communicating with the Nyon mother ship via Zoom, though the biggest novelties could yet await given the make-up of the draw for the quarter-finals and semi-finals in Lisbon. After all, with the winners of Leipzig v Atlético Madrid and Atalanta v Paris Saint-Germain converging in the last four, we will definitely have one team in the final chasing their first European crown. A brand-new finalist too, unless Diego Simeone manages to guide his Atleti charges to the third showpiece of his reign.  

The other half of the draw is potentially more history-heavy, with the winner of the Barcelona v Napoli round of 16 tie (1-1 at the halfway point) facing Bayern München or Chelsea (3-0 before Munich return), and Manchester City/Real Madrid (2-1) taking on Juventus/Lyon (0-1).

Barcelona’s delegation (top); Pavel Nedvěd and Giorgio Chiellini represented Juventus. Both pictures are taken from Zoom feeds

There have been no new names on the trophy since Chelsea in 2012 but the view of Guillermo Amor, Barcelona director, is that the altered format of the competition’s closing rounds should lend itself to more surprises, befitting the unusual circumstances.

“It’s a different format, in which any team can be crowned champions,” he said after the draw. “It’s like the World Cup or the EURO: there can be more modest teams that get overlooked but when it’s just over one leg, they can win on their day and make it to the semi-final or the final. I think people might have their favourites, but a lot of the teams who aren’t being talked about so much could make it to the final.”

His one-time Barcelona team-mate, Txiki Begiristain offered another prediction. As Manchester City’s director of football, his focus is on the round of 16 home tie against Real Madrid – “There is maybe not too much advantage now,” he observed of the empty-stadium factor – but he did give a broader reflection on the fact that he expects a more conservative approach from the teams involved in Lisbon.

Paulo Sousa at the draw in Nyon

“Probably the strategies and the tactics are going to be more, let’s say, more conservative, just because there’s no room for mistakes, there isn’t a second leg,” he said. “You have to be solid, you have to show that you’re solid in defence and then, of course, try to score the goal that can take you through. But there are going to be more, let’s say, more tactical games.”

Whatever follows in Lisbon between 12 and 23 August, Emilio Butragueño, Real Madrid director, spoke of the overall benefit of the Champions League’s return after what will have been a five-month pause. “The whole world has gone through a very difficult period,” he said. “All of the sectors of our society are struggling. All the football stakeholders have been working together and we’ve been able to get back to playing. I think that’s the key element: that football has come back, because we’re aware of the role that football plays in our society, because football brings joy and happiness to everybody.” A distraction for so many amid the ongoing preoccupations wrought by Covid-19.

Penalty Pedigree

Etiam erat velit scelerisque in dictum non. Dictum non consectetur a erat nam at. Scelerisque felis imperdiet proin fermentum leo. Nibh tortor id aliquet lectus proin nibh nisl. Nulla at volutpat diam ut venenatis. At urna condimentum mattis pellentesque id nibh tortor id aliquet. Leo a diam sollicitudin tempor id eu nisl nunc mi. Dui vivamus arcu felis bibendum ut. Pharetra convallis posuere morbi leo urna molestie. Adipiscing at in tellus integer feugiat scelerisque. In arcu cursus euismod quis. Dictum non consectetur a erat nam at lectus urna duis. Facilisi nullam vehicula ipsum a arcu cursus. At tempor commodo ullamcorper a lacus vestibulum sed arcu non. Ipsum dolor sit amet consectetur adipiscing elit pellentesque habitant. Vitae sapien pellentesque habitant morbi tristique senectus. Eget nullam non nisi est sit amet facilisis. Ipsum consequat nisl vel pretium lectus quam. Elit sed vulputate mi sit amet mauris commodo quis. Pretium fusce id velit ut tortor pretium viverra suspendisse potenti.

Well, it was certainly a different kind of Champions League draw that we saw this lunchtime – and not just for draw guest Paulo Sousa’s increasing resemblance to former Wham! star Andrew Ridgeley (look him up on Google, younger readers).

We had the novel sight of luminaries of the European game communicating with the Nyon mother ship via Zoom, though the biggest novelties could yet await given the make-up of the draw for the quarter-finals and semi-finals in Lisbon. After all, with the winners of Leipzig v Atlético Madrid and Atalanta v Paris Saint-Germain converging in the last four, we will definitely have one team in the final chasing their first European crown. A brand-new finalist too, unless Diego Simeone manages to guide his Atleti charges to the third showpiece of his reign.  

The other half of the draw is potentially more history-heavy, with the winner of the Barcelona v Napoli round of 16 tie (1-1 at the halfway point) facing Bayern München or Chelsea (3-0 before Munich return), and Manchester City/Real Madrid (2-1) taking on Juventus/Lyon (0-1).

Barcelona’s delegation (top); Pavel Nedvěd and Giorgio Chiellini represented Juventus. Both pictures are taken from Zoom feeds

There have been no new names on the trophy since Chelsea in 2012 but the view of Guillermo Amor, Barcelona director, is that the altered format of the competition’s closing rounds should lend itself to more surprises, befitting the unusual circumstances.

“It’s a different format, in which any team can be crowned champions,” he said after the draw. “It’s like the World Cup or the EURO: there can be more modest teams that get overlooked but when it’s just over one leg, they can win on their day and make it to the semi-final or the final. I think people might have their favourites, but a lot of the teams who aren’t being talked about so much could make it to the final.”

His one-time Barcelona team-mate, Txiki Begiristain offered another prediction. As Manchester City’s director of football, his focus is on the round of 16 home tie against Real Madrid – “There is maybe not too much advantage now,” he observed of the empty-stadium factor – but he did give a broader reflection on the fact that he expects a more conservative approach from the teams involved in Lisbon.

Paulo Sousa at the draw in Nyon

“Probably the strategies and the tactics are going to be more, let’s say, more conservative, just because there’s no room for mistakes, there isn’t a second leg,” he said. “You have to be solid, you have to show that you’re solid in defence and then, of course, try to score the goal that can take you through. But there are going to be more, let’s say, more tactical games.”

Whatever follows in Lisbon between 12 and 23 August, Emilio Butragueño, Real Madrid director, spoke of the overall benefit of the Champions League’s return after what will have been a five-month pause. “The whole world has gone through a very difficult period,” he said. “All of the sectors of our society are struggling. All the football stakeholders have been working together and we’ve been able to get back to playing. I think that’s the key element: that football has come back, because we’re aware of the role that football plays in our society, because football brings joy and happiness to everybody.” A distraction for so many amid the ongoing preoccupations wrought by Covid-19.

Read the full story
Sign up now to get access to this and every premium feature on Champions Journal. You will also get access to member-only competitions and offers. And you get all of that completely free!

Well, it was certainly a different kind of Champions League draw that we saw this lunchtime – and not just for draw guest Paulo Sousa’s increasing resemblance to former Wham! star Andrew Ridgeley (look him up on Google, younger readers).

We had the novel sight of luminaries of the European game communicating with the Nyon mother ship via Zoom, though the biggest novelties could yet await given the make-up of the draw for the quarter-finals and semi-finals in Lisbon. After all, with the winners of Leipzig v Atlético Madrid and Atalanta v Paris Saint-Germain converging in the last four, we will definitely have one team in the final chasing their first European crown. A brand-new finalist too, unless Diego Simeone manages to guide his Atleti charges to the third showpiece of his reign.  

The other half of the draw is potentially more history-heavy, with the winner of the Barcelona v Napoli round of 16 tie (1-1 at the halfway point) facing Bayern München or Chelsea (3-0 before Munich return), and Manchester City/Real Madrid (2-1) taking on Juventus/Lyon (0-1).

Barcelona’s delegation (top); Pavel Nedvěd and Giorgio Chiellini represented Juventus. Both pictures are taken from Zoom feeds

There have been no new names on the trophy since Chelsea in 2012 but the view of Guillermo Amor, Barcelona director, is that the altered format of the competition’s closing rounds should lend itself to more surprises, befitting the unusual circumstances.

“It’s a different format, in which any team can be crowned champions,” he said after the draw. “It’s like the World Cup or the EURO: there can be more modest teams that get overlooked but when it’s just over one leg, they can win on their day and make it to the semi-final or the final. I think people might have their favourites, but a lot of the teams who aren’t being talked about so much could make it to the final.”

His one-time Barcelona team-mate, Txiki Begiristain offered another prediction. As Manchester City’s director of football, his focus is on the round of 16 home tie against Real Madrid – “There is maybe not too much advantage now,” he observed of the empty-stadium factor – but he did give a broader reflection on the fact that he expects a more conservative approach from the teams involved in Lisbon.

Paulo Sousa at the draw in Nyon

“Probably the strategies and the tactics are going to be more, let’s say, more conservative, just because there’s no room for mistakes, there isn’t a second leg,” he said. “You have to be solid, you have to show that you’re solid in defence and then, of course, try to score the goal that can take you through. But there are going to be more, let’s say, more tactical games.”

Whatever follows in Lisbon between 12 and 23 August, Emilio Butragueño, Real Madrid director, spoke of the overall benefit of the Champions League’s return after what will have been a five-month pause. “The whole world has gone through a very difficult period,” he said. “All of the sectors of our society are struggling. All the football stakeholders have been working together and we’ve been able to get back to playing. I think that’s the key element: that football has come back, because we’re aware of the role that football plays in our society, because football brings joy and happiness to everybody.” A distraction for so many amid the ongoing preoccupations wrought by Covid-19.

Penalty Pedigree

Etiam erat velit scelerisque in dictum non. Dictum non consectetur a erat nam at. Scelerisque felis imperdiet proin fermentum leo. Nibh tortor id aliquet lectus proin nibh nisl. Nulla at volutpat diam ut venenatis. At urna condimentum mattis pellentesque id nibh tortor id aliquet. Leo a diam sollicitudin tempor id eu nisl nunc mi. Dui vivamus arcu felis bibendum ut. Pharetra convallis posuere morbi leo urna molestie. Adipiscing at in tellus integer feugiat scelerisque. In arcu cursus euismod quis. Dictum non consectetur a erat nam at lectus urna duis. Facilisi nullam vehicula ipsum a arcu cursus. At tempor commodo ullamcorper a lacus vestibulum sed arcu non. Ipsum dolor sit amet consectetur adipiscing elit pellentesque habitant. Vitae sapien pellentesque habitant morbi tristique senectus. Eget nullam non nisi est sit amet facilisis. Ipsum consequat nisl vel pretium lectus quam. Elit sed vulputate mi sit amet mauris commodo quis. Pretium fusce id velit ut tortor pretium viverra suspendisse potenti.

Blog

Road to Lisbon final mapped out

Conducting the Champions League quarter-final and semi-final draws by Zoom from UEFA HQ in Switzerland threw up some unusual sights and some even more fascinating fixtures

WORDS Simon Hart

Well, it was certainly a different kind of Champions League draw that we saw this lunchtime – and not just for draw guest Paulo Sousa’s increasing resemblance to former Wham! star Andrew Ridgeley (look him up on Google, younger readers).

We had the novel sight of luminaries of the European game communicating with the Nyon mother ship via Zoom, though the biggest novelties could yet await given the make-up of the draw for the quarter-finals and semi-finals in Lisbon. After all, with the winners of Leipzig v Atlético Madrid and Atalanta v Paris Saint-Germain converging in the last four, we will definitely have one team in the final chasing their first European crown. A brand-new finalist too, unless Diego Simeone manages to guide his Atleti charges to the third showpiece of his reign.  

The other half of the draw is potentially more history-heavy, with the winner of the Barcelona v Napoli round of 16 tie (1-1 at the halfway point) facing Bayern München or Chelsea (3-0 before Munich return), and Manchester City/Real Madrid (2-1) taking on Juventus/Lyon (0-1).

Barcelona’s delegation (top); Pavel Nedvěd and Giorgio Chiellini represented Juventus. Both pictures are taken from Zoom feeds

There have been no new names on the trophy since Chelsea in 2012 but the view of Guillermo Amor, Barcelona director, is that the altered format of the competition’s closing rounds should lend itself to more surprises, befitting the unusual circumstances.

“It’s a different format, in which any team can be crowned champions,” he said after the draw. “It’s like the World Cup or the EURO: there can be more modest teams that get overlooked but when it’s just over one leg, they can win on their day and make it to the semi-final or the final. I think people might have their favourites, but a lot of the teams who aren’t being talked about so much could make it to the final.”

His one-time Barcelona team-mate, Txiki Begiristain offered another prediction. As Manchester City’s director of football, his focus is on the round of 16 home tie against Real Madrid – “There is maybe not too much advantage now,” he observed of the empty-stadium factor – but he did give a broader reflection on the fact that he expects a more conservative approach from the teams involved in Lisbon.

Paulo Sousa at the draw in Nyon

“Probably the strategies and the tactics are going to be more, let’s say, more conservative, just because there’s no room for mistakes, there isn’t a second leg,” he said. “You have to be solid, you have to show that you’re solid in defence and then, of course, try to score the goal that can take you through. But there are going to be more, let’s say, more tactical games.”

Whatever follows in Lisbon between 12 and 23 August, Emilio Butragueño, Real Madrid director, spoke of the overall benefit of the Champions League’s return after what will have been a five-month pause. “The whole world has gone through a very difficult period,” he said. “All of the sectors of our society are struggling. All the football stakeholders have been working together and we’ve been able to get back to playing. I think that’s the key element: that football has come back, because we’re aware of the role that football plays in our society, because football brings joy and happiness to everybody.” A distraction for so many amid the ongoing preoccupations wrought by Covid-19.

Penalty Pedigree

Etiam erat velit scelerisque in dictum non. Dictum non consectetur a erat nam at. Scelerisque felis imperdiet proin fermentum leo. Nibh tortor id aliquet lectus proin nibh nisl. Nulla at volutpat diam ut venenatis. At urna condimentum mattis pellentesque id nibh tortor id aliquet. Leo a diam sollicitudin tempor id eu nisl nunc mi. Dui vivamus arcu felis bibendum ut. Pharetra convallis posuere morbi leo urna molestie. Adipiscing at in tellus integer feugiat scelerisque. In arcu cursus euismod quis. Dictum non consectetur a erat nam at lectus urna duis. Facilisi nullam vehicula ipsum a arcu cursus. At tempor commodo ullamcorper a lacus vestibulum sed arcu non. Ipsum dolor sit amet consectetur adipiscing elit pellentesque habitant. Vitae sapien pellentesque habitant morbi tristique senectus. Eget nullam non nisi est sit amet facilisis. Ipsum consequat nisl vel pretium lectus quam. Elit sed vulputate mi sit amet mauris commodo quis. Pretium fusce id velit ut tortor pretium viverra suspendisse potenti.

Well, it was certainly a different kind of Champions League draw that we saw this lunchtime – and not just for draw guest Paulo Sousa’s increasing resemblance to former Wham! star Andrew Ridgeley (look him up on Google, younger readers).

We had the novel sight of luminaries of the European game communicating with the Nyon mother ship via Zoom, though the biggest novelties could yet await given the make-up of the draw for the quarter-finals and semi-finals in Lisbon. After all, with the winners of Leipzig v Atlético Madrid and Atalanta v Paris Saint-Germain converging in the last four, we will definitely have one team in the final chasing their first European crown. A brand-new finalist too, unless Diego Simeone manages to guide his Atleti charges to the third showpiece of his reign.  

The other half of the draw is potentially more history-heavy, with the winner of the Barcelona v Napoli round of 16 tie (1-1 at the halfway point) facing Bayern München or Chelsea (3-0 before Munich return), and Manchester City/Real Madrid (2-1) taking on Juventus/Lyon (0-1).

Barcelona’s delegation (top); Pavel Nedvěd and Giorgio Chiellini represented Juventus. Both pictures are taken from Zoom feeds

There have been no new names on the trophy since Chelsea in 2012 but the view of Guillermo Amor, Barcelona director, is that the altered format of the competition’s closing rounds should lend itself to more surprises, befitting the unusual circumstances.

“It’s a different format, in which any team can be crowned champions,” he said after the draw. “It’s like the World Cup or the EURO: there can be more modest teams that get overlooked but when it’s just over one leg, they can win on their day and make it to the semi-final or the final. I think people might have their favourites, but a lot of the teams who aren’t being talked about so much could make it to the final.”

His one-time Barcelona team-mate, Txiki Begiristain offered another prediction. As Manchester City’s director of football, his focus is on the round of 16 home tie against Real Madrid – “There is maybe not too much advantage now,” he observed of the empty-stadium factor – but he did give a broader reflection on the fact that he expects a more conservative approach from the teams involved in Lisbon.

Paulo Sousa at the draw in Nyon

“Probably the strategies and the tactics are going to be more, let’s say, more conservative, just because there’s no room for mistakes, there isn’t a second leg,” he said. “You have to be solid, you have to show that you’re solid in defence and then, of course, try to score the goal that can take you through. But there are going to be more, let’s say, more tactical games.”

Whatever follows in Lisbon between 12 and 23 August, Emilio Butragueño, Real Madrid director, spoke of the overall benefit of the Champions League’s return after what will have been a five-month pause. “The whole world has gone through a very difficult period,” he said. “All of the sectors of our society are struggling. All the football stakeholders have been working together and we’ve been able to get back to playing. I think that’s the key element: that football has come back, because we’re aware of the role that football plays in our society, because football brings joy and happiness to everybody.” A distraction for so many amid the ongoing preoccupations wrought by Covid-19.

Read the full story
Sign up now to get access to this and every premium feature on Champions Journal. You will also get access to member-only competitions and offers. And you get all of that completely free!

Well, it was certainly a different kind of Champions League draw that we saw this lunchtime – and not just for draw guest Paulo Sousa’s increasing resemblance to former Wham! star Andrew Ridgeley (look him up on Google, younger readers).

We had the novel sight of luminaries of the European game communicating with the Nyon mother ship via Zoom, though the biggest novelties could yet await given the make-up of the draw for the quarter-finals and semi-finals in Lisbon. After all, with the winners of Leipzig v Atlético Madrid and Atalanta v Paris Saint-Germain converging in the last four, we will definitely have one team in the final chasing their first European crown. A brand-new finalist too, unless Diego Simeone manages to guide his Atleti charges to the third showpiece of his reign.  

The other half of the draw is potentially more history-heavy, with the winner of the Barcelona v Napoli round of 16 tie (1-1 at the halfway point) facing Bayern München or Chelsea (3-0 before Munich return), and Manchester City/Real Madrid (2-1) taking on Juventus/Lyon (0-1).

Barcelona’s delegation (top); Pavel Nedvěd and Giorgio Chiellini represented Juventus. Both pictures are taken from Zoom feeds

There have been no new names on the trophy since Chelsea in 2012 but the view of Guillermo Amor, Barcelona director, is that the altered format of the competition’s closing rounds should lend itself to more surprises, befitting the unusual circumstances.

“It’s a different format, in which any team can be crowned champions,” he said after the draw. “It’s like the World Cup or the EURO: there can be more modest teams that get overlooked but when it’s just over one leg, they can win on their day and make it to the semi-final or the final. I think people might have their favourites, but a lot of the teams who aren’t being talked about so much could make it to the final.”

His one-time Barcelona team-mate, Txiki Begiristain offered another prediction. As Manchester City’s director of football, his focus is on the round of 16 home tie against Real Madrid – “There is maybe not too much advantage now,” he observed of the empty-stadium factor – but he did give a broader reflection on the fact that he expects a more conservative approach from the teams involved in Lisbon.

Paulo Sousa at the draw in Nyon

“Probably the strategies and the tactics are going to be more, let’s say, more conservative, just because there’s no room for mistakes, there isn’t a second leg,” he said. “You have to be solid, you have to show that you’re solid in defence and then, of course, try to score the goal that can take you through. But there are going to be more, let’s say, more tactical games.”

Whatever follows in Lisbon between 12 and 23 August, Emilio Butragueño, Real Madrid director, spoke of the overall benefit of the Champions League’s return after what will have been a five-month pause. “The whole world has gone through a very difficult period,” he said. “All of the sectors of our society are struggling. All the football stakeholders have been working together and we’ve been able to get back to playing. I think that’s the key element: that football has come back, because we’re aware of the role that football plays in our society, because football brings joy and happiness to everybody.” A distraction for so many amid the ongoing preoccupations wrought by Covid-19.

Penalty Pedigree

Etiam erat velit scelerisque in dictum non. Dictum non consectetur a erat nam at. Scelerisque felis imperdiet proin fermentum leo. Nibh tortor id aliquet lectus proin nibh nisl. Nulla at volutpat diam ut venenatis. At urna condimentum mattis pellentesque id nibh tortor id aliquet. Leo a diam sollicitudin tempor id eu nisl nunc mi. Dui vivamus arcu felis bibendum ut. Pharetra convallis posuere morbi leo urna molestie. Adipiscing at in tellus integer feugiat scelerisque. In arcu cursus euismod quis. Dictum non consectetur a erat nam at lectus urna duis. Facilisi nullam vehicula ipsum a arcu cursus. At tempor commodo ullamcorper a lacus vestibulum sed arcu non. Ipsum dolor sit amet consectetur adipiscing elit pellentesque habitant. Vitae sapien pellentesque habitant morbi tristique senectus. Eget nullam non nisi est sit amet facilisis. Ipsum consequat nisl vel pretium lectus quam. Elit sed vulputate mi sit amet mauris commodo quis. Pretium fusce id velit ut tortor pretium viverra suspendisse potenti.

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