Both teams, supported by two opposing emirates, yearn for the Champions League title
If the Prussian Carl von Clausewitz, the modern war theorist would have lived in our days, surely he would have formulated his famous phrase thus: Football is but the prolongation of politics by other means. And I would have put PSG-Manchester City on this Wednesday as an example. Two teams armed with money from Arab states, Qatar and Abu Dhabi. Qatar buys forwards; City, defenses. Differences and similarities between two formations trained by two sons of the League: Pochettino and Guardiola.
TWO WELCOME PASSES
June 2017. Saudi Arabia breaks diplomatic relations with Qatar. They are seconded in the embargo and in the closure of borders by Egypt, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates, whose capital is Abu Dhabi. The accusation is serious, support Islamic terrorism, but diffuse and hides a bitter rivalry and differences over the relationship with Iran. The borders have been opened in January. The bloodiest episode of the war had the ball as its protagonist. Qatar humiliated the Emirates (4-0) in the semifinals of the 2019 Asian Cup, held in Abu Dhabi. The audience threw shoes onto the pitch. Qatar footballers were welcomed home like heroes.
DLARES AS A BASE
PSG and City only made about a hundred million when they were acquired. The City in 2008 by Abu Dhabi United Group and the PSG in 2011 by Qatar Sports Investments. The latest billing data for the 2019-20 academic year: the City generates 549 million; PSG, 540. The Premier’s TV rights give the City an advantage, which has franchises in New York, Melbourne and Mumbai. Parisians win on social networks: 100 million followers compared to 75.
DIVIDED IN THE SUPERLEAGUE
PSG aligned with UEFA. The celebration of the World Cup in Qatar should have weighed on the decision in favor of the status quo. BeIN’s Champions TV rights, too. Club and company have the same president, Nasser al-Khelafii. The City was part of the rebels. But Boris Johnson, sent his emissary for Persian affairs to meet with Mansour Ben Zayed, Deputy Prime Minister of the Emirates and owner of Del City, and the azulones got off the project.
FORWARDS AGAINST DEFENSES
Since the Qatari rule in Paris, the club has invested 1.3 billion in transfers. Emirat money has allowed the azulones to spend 2,000 million. City maintains the cap at 65/70 million per head, only surpassed in the case of De Bruyne (76 kilos). PSG threw the house into the Seine for Neymar (222) and Mbapp (180). But the next most expensive signings are also forwards: Cavani, Di Mara and Icardi. Instead, City has invested more than 500 million in defenses.
RIVALS ON THE BENCHES
Guardiola (50 years old) and Pochettino (49) will live their confrontation number 19. Both coincided, as players and as coaches in Barcelona, the Argentine in Espanyol, the Catalan in Can Bara. Then they were rivals in the Premier, en Southampton, Tottenham y al City. The Spanish surpasses the Argentine in victories (10/3). But the last crossing in the Champions League, in the quarterfinals of 2019, was for Pochettino. In terms of trophies: Pochettino nothing, Guardiola everything … but he only won the Champions League with Messi Bara.
SAME TTH. Both coaches share the same game idea based on high pressure to recover quickly after loss. All Guardiola teams look for possession by system. Pochettino always has a pure 9 and looks for fast transitions.