Competition
  • Final ATP World Tour
Final ATP World Tour
dominic_thiem Dominic Thiem Dominic Thiem
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matteo_berrettini Matteo Berrettini Matteo Berrettini
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novak_djokovic Novak Djokovic Novak Djokovic
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roger_federer Roger Federer Roger Federer
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roger_federer Roger Federer Roger Federer
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matteo_berrettini Matteo Berrettini Matteo Berrettini
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Strong Champions League start for LaLiga

Two games, six points, and a great start for LaLiga in this new season of the Champions League. It is too early to say, and I have to hold my horses with tonight's games still to come, but in these early stages of the Champions League I often think, from one year to the next, that there are few rivals at the quality of our representation. Barça opened their account with a 4-0 win over PSV Eindhoven, three of those for Messi, who announced to the fans that in his new role as captain, he wants this year's title, and has made it a priority. Later, Atleti won 1-2 in Monaco, on a truly awful pitch.

Pitch problems | AS Monaco and Atletico Madrid at the Stade Louis II.

Monaco's 'dinosaur steak' pitch

I can't understand how, in the Champions League, such a thorough, detailed and well organised event, Monaco can offer such a playing surface. We are talking about one of the richest regions of the world, which enjoys a superb climate. And this is nothing new. Not so long ago the European Super Cup was being played there, on pitch so bad they had to eventually take the matches elsewhere, anywhere else. In last night's game, as the players scraped their boots into tackles, chunks of turf the size of Brontosaurus steaks would be lifted out, the likes of which Fred Flintstone would carry in his case. This deserves condemnation and sanctions from UEFA. This is not the Champions League.

Cristiano has a look around the Mestalla.

Cristiano: gone from Madrid, a threat to Valencia

Today we have Madrid-Roma and Valencia-Juventus, the latter of which we almost want to bill as Valencia vs Cristiano Ronaldo. Unfortunately both games are at the same time, not like yesterday. The Bernabéu clash is an opportunity for Bale and Benzema, who were both rather invisible in San Mamés while the rest of the team knuckled down, to correct that negative impression. My colleague Luis Nieto reminded me that in recent years Cristiano has scored 105 goals in the Champions League. Now it's up to the two of them. Valencia on the other hand have to stop the man himself in the Mestalla, a stadium that will hear the music of the Champions League once again after an absence of 1,013 days. Hopefully today goes as well as yesterday.