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When Sheikh Mansour took over Manchester City in 2008, it was a game-changer in English football.
No longer would Manchester United be runaway favorites for the derby. The Citizens were instantly a powerhouse club and promised to take the Premier League and Europe by storm within the coming years.
Since Mansour's takeover, the Citizens have spent unthinkable amounts of money. Their offer of well over €100 million for Kaka in 2009 was pure madness. The princely sums spent on mediocre players like Joleon Lescott (€27.5m) and Jo (€24m) were unreal. Since the summer of 2007, City have spent €721.84 million on transfers. Never before in the history of sports has a club had anywhere near the financial resources that City have.
And yet, they can't win a game in the Champions League. What a joke.
City may have won the 2011-12 Premier League, but what was exposed on the continental stage both a year ago and in the last few months is that, in truth, they are nothing but a team of individuals devoid of chemistry and passion.
Sure, they can beat poor teams on a week-in, week-out basis. But when it comes time to show their class, they come up wanting. Their cost-to-results ratio is so distorted from reality that it's hard to tell whether it's more loathsome, comical or embarrassing.
Their few fans will insist that City will be back next year with new stars and new hopes, but even the most ardent supporter will have doubts. Fresh faces can help, but they aren't enough. Mancini has a band of mercenaries, not a team—refugees from La Liga who were tired of finishing 30 points behind Real Madrid and Barcelona and modest Premier League talents who were over-hyped even before they signed €200,000-per-week contracts, to name a few.
None grew up in the stands at the Etihad Stadium, and none would bleed for the shirt.
It is generally bad practice to bash a team down on their luck, but in this case, an exception can be made. This City side represents everything that is wrong in modern football: a club being snatched from its fans to become the plaything of a despot, one who looks to buy success at the cost of the organization's identity.
That they were humiliated on Tuesday by the reserves from a club that turned a profit in each of the last two years is so fitting. City's claiming the Premier League title last season was damning of a league that is decidedly for sale. The fact that Real Madrid, Ajax and Dortmund all beat the same City side is vindication for European football.
Sheikh Mansour had his chance, but now his City are poised to pay a hefty penalty for their deliberate and unabashed flouting of Financial Fair Play. Their sponsorship deal with Etihad Airways may well be deemed not only scandalous, but fraudulent by UEFA.
And if so, the Citizens face expulsion from the Champions League, should they qualify. It would be a shame, though, if City were not to participate; they've been a good laugh.
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