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Guardiola and Klopp show the relative importance of the Premier League and Champions League


On Saturday on the Carrusel radio show here in Spain there was a heated debate about whether the Premier League or the Champions League is considered more important in England. At heart it was a battle between Guardiolistas and anti-Guardiolistas. Those who are against the Manchester City coach accused the Guardiola fans of belittling the Champions League in case the 51-year-old once again fails in a competition he’s only managed to win with Xavi, Iniesta and Messi. In their favour, there’s an indisputable fact: fighting as City and Liverpool are for the Premier League title, both coaches reserved a number of players ahead of their visits to Spain this week, among them De Bruyne and Salah, their respective stars. De Bruyne stayed on the bench, Salah played a few minutes.

Liverpool and City focused on Champions League

That is, both coaches preferred to reserve some of their firepower for the second leg of the Champions League semifinals, even with the risk of dropping points in the tremendous battle for the league title. I’m not surprised. For some time now, at the start of every edition of the Champions League there are a bunch of clubs where requirement is that they win it. It’s a phenomenon that started with Abramovich and his stated aim of making Chelsea Champions League winners. The other investors in the so-called Big Six all jumped, with greater or lesser success, on the same bandwagon, in particular City, a state-backed club with all the firepower a sheikh can offer. Their situation is similar to that of PSG, with the French club going through about one coach per Champions League not won.

Big clubs feel the need to win the European Cup

And the same thing is happening at the classic big clubs. Bayern have won 10 Bundesligas in a row, a monotony that demands the impact of a Champions League triumph. Something similar happened with Juventus recently and their nine in a row. In Spain, Madrid and Barça have taken their rivalry to such a level that only winning the biggest tournament will do. The incredible era of Messi at Barça has been overshadowed by the persistence of Madrid in the domination of “that Cup, so beautiful and so desired.” For some time now domestic titles haven’t been satisfying like they were before for certain clubs, among them City and Liverpool. Guardiola and Klopp made that clear on Saturday.

Guardiola and Klopp
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Guardiola and KloppStu ForsterGetty Images

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