Champions League—We thought it was a tournament of champions.
There is no place for mediocrity in this league. Only the best in the game qualify.
Clubs pump in money, players dream about it, audiences across the globe cannot wait for it. And that is each game of Champions League, forget a semifinal.
Switch back a few years and we saw an epic battle between a Spanish and an English giant—Real Madrid and Manchester United.
They came out as giants, firing all cylinders at each other. We saw an epic battle between two greats—Roy Keane and Fernando Redondo. All these gave us reason to believe that we will get to see a "clash of titans" when it comes to a Champions League game.
But alas, come 2009, the standards (so called tactics) have gone down to a level where if you get to see a goal, you should consider yourself lucky.
Chelsea travelled to Camp Nou to play a Champions League semifinal. Can it be any more mouth watering?
But what a shame this team is.
A team built on an enormous amount of money that has a plethora of talent on its roster, yet it approached the game with 10 players behind the ball.
Count the number of times Peter Cech took a goal kick with the sole objective to punt it as far as possible. In most of the cases his balls went to Valdes and Barcelona would start all over again.
Is this football?
Is this genius tactics?
Then I am a genius too, because I can do the same if I have players of the caliber that Chelsea had.
Roman Abramovic must be wondering, "Why did I spend so much money?"
He sacked certain Jose Mourinho, because he wanted fans to have a party during the Chelsea game, whereas, his manager (Jose) was more interested in having the party after the game. I would be very curious to know what Roman Abramovic has to say about his team's performance.
It is indeed sad, where the Champions League is today.
A few years back, the home team had to win, possibly by a handsome margin. The away team wanted an "away goal."
Fast forward to 2008/2009, thanks to certain managers and their teams, a 0-0 result at home is considered good, if you are playing the first tie at home. The rationale being now you need just one away goal and you are good to go ahead.
So, basically the team who is playing home first is almost aiming for a 0-0 and then a 1-1 away. So even before you start, you do not want to win.
This whole approach and, even worse, the success of this approach, has made the Champions League one of the most boring tournaments in the world. It is really sad, when Manchester United did the same last year.
This year it's Chelsea.
If "champions" like Chelsea and Machester United do not have the balls to go and attack Barcelona in their den, then they don't deserve to play in the Champions League.
I would be much more happy to see an FC Porto come to Old Trafford and take the game to Manchester United. They were the champions that day.
April 28 is a black day in the game of football. We fans will mourn. UEFA, FIFA all should be worried.
I live in the United States, where the game is not popular but trying hard to get its foothold. People like us are foolish enough to encourage fellow Americans to see the game, touting it has a clash of emperors.
What a joke we made of ourselves. What a shame it is for us football lovers that the richest club in the world, boasting a roster cherry picked from across the globe, do not have the guts to go and play a decent game.
Chelsea, please do not give us the crap of "tactics," because it is no big deal.
After watching yesterday's game, even Newcastle United and a few others can think, "Oh! That is what it takes to play a Champions League semifinal? Ten men behind the ball? We can do that!"
Yes, that would be true—you do not need to be a champion to play 10 men on defense!
I wish Barcelona would win the Champions League. That will be needed if we want this game to survive and entertain us.