There was once a time when Italian teams ruled Europe. However, after the great dynasties of AC and Inter Milan toppled in the early 2000s, the Spanish clubs took over and subsequently sweeped up Europe’s top trophies for several years to come.
Though I’d marvel at some of these great teams, I always felt jaded that English clubs never quite hit the mark. I watched in despair as some of the great Manchester United, Chelsea, and Arsenal teams were dumped out of the Champions League year after year. This is why I’m so elated to see the return of English clubs among the dining table of the continent’s elite.
Superb Advert For The Premier League
Our domestic league is home to two of the greatest teams of this generation. Whilst Barcelona and Real Madrid owned the 2010s, Liverpool and Manchester City may claim the 2020s as their own. The two extraordinary footballing outfits play scintillating football, boast several world-class players, have all-time great managers, and we’re lucky enough to watch them every week.
What a great advert for the Premier League. Should they both win their respective semi-finals, then these two incredible teams will meet for a mouthwatering Champions League final in Paris. Spearheaded by era-defining managers Jurgen Klopp and Pep Guardiola, the potential matchup will prove to the world that (club) football really has come home. England will return to its perch and will once again be the benchmark for everyone else in Europe.
English Dominance Nothing New
But English dominance in Europe isn’t a brand new thing. Three years ago, both the Europa and Champions League finals were contested entirely between English teams. Last year, Chelsea and Manchester City played out an all-English final in Lisbon before the England national team only missed out on the European Championships due to a penalty shootout. It’s my hope that the Three Lions continue their momentum and bring the World Cup trophy back home this December.
We could even be treated to an all-British Europa League final - with West Ham and Rangers each playing their semi-finals too. If the two British clubs go through, then I will have to consider this the nation’s greatest-ever footballing year (after 1966, of course).
How fitting that would be, as our wonderful nation has led the world in so many areas over the last year or so. Take a look at our wonderful vaccination rollout, our determined response to Brexit, and our ever-enduring national spirit in the face of adversity. It was only inevitable that we dominated our national sport again on its biggest stage.
Bursting With Pride
I’m incredibly proud of both Klopp and Guardiola for coming over to this country and blessing us with their mastery of the beautiful game. In the process, they’ve turned many of our good players into superstars and encouraged a generation of up-and-comers to express themselves on the pitch. For that, they both deserve iconic statuses in our game and their influence on our league will be felt for years to come. Both of their teams are now the measuring stick for greatness, and a final between them will only confirm my belief that the English really do run professional football.
If only the game could be played at Wembley. We will, however, have to contend with the game being hosted 300 miles away in Paris. It’s a small price to pay to watch two of the greatest English teams perhaps of all time battle it out for European football’s top prize.
There’s never a bad time to be British, but the luxury is even better than usual due to our nation’s rapid dominance of the beautiful game.
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