First was the money and then the model. Twelve years ago Mansour bin Zayed, fifth son of Emir Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyad, first Emirati president, He bought Manchester City from former Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra. The Sheikh, Minister of Presidential Affairs of the Arab Emirates, President of the Horse Racing Authority of the country, husband of two sheikhs, owner of the largest yacht on the planet and personal friend of Barak Obama, He paid 360 million for 90% of the entity's shares. That disbursement, which changed the life of a club that until then had only won two leagues, four cups and a Recopa, was the appetizer.
Since then Mansour bin Zayed has spent 1,687 million in signings, at the rate of 153 a year, and has been replanting, in its own way, the winning formula of Barça. Thus, Ferran Soriano, ex-president culé with Laporta, arrived; Txiki Begiristain, former sports director, and finally, Pep Guardiola, with which he has won the last two leagues. An unthinkable growth for a club that only 22 years ago was in the third division. But at the same time an artificial growth, fueled by money outside the industry against which the industry was vaccinated (the fair play financial statement) to prevent cases such as Malaga, victim of a sheikh back and forth.
To the tie (follow the game live on As.com) arrives with a terrible penalty in tow (two years outside Europe) for inflating sponsorship revenue in the 2012-2016 period and for obstructing UEFA's investigation. The Etihad Emihad airline pays for appearing on its shirt 80 million a year, above what Madrid (70) or Barça (55) perceive, clubs with infinitely superior marketing. Uli Hoeness, then president of Bayern, said two years ago: “If Guardiola wants a 100 million player, the sheikh raises the gas and has it. “
But behind that dark club architecture is a successful coach and a great team, very luxurious, valued at 1,290 million euros, more than any other in the world. For the eleven who played at home against Leicester on Saturday he paid 546 million in transfers. The Madrid lineup, which is not precisely a model of savings, given the I raised It was 237 cheaper.
The City is, perhaps, before its last great opportunity in time to conquer the Champions League, the black hole that has swallowed it in these years of wine and roses. Only once did he reach the semifinals, in 2016, and Madrid dispatched him. In the last two editions he fell in quarters. Now, in addition, it does not have the mockery of the Premier, because it is 22 points from Liverpool.
Madrid arrives at the gala, after recovering Sterling, falls in the last two games, and the author of 20 goals in the course, only one less than the pichichi Agüero. The two more De Bruyne, eight goals and 19 assists, form the magic triangle of the team, with Rodri as the axis of rotation and Fernandinho happily recycled as central.
Mendy and Valverde
More posts dance in a Madrid to which he returns Mendy, saved his threat of suspension for the Classic. He has played all the important games of the course ahead of Marcelo and with a statistical justification: With him, the team fits half of goals. Actually, Zidane waves the team during the course to arrive with his praetorian guard to the truth meetings. That is why Valverde is expected today, headline in the Classic, in the two duels against Atlético, in the Super Cup against Valencia and in all the large commitments from October, when he acquired rank, except for the one in Madrid He played against Sevilla at the Bernabéu. I was sanctioned. So, fallen Hazard, there are three free places, two midfielders and an attacker, with Modric, Kroos and Isco for the first vacancy, and Bale and Vinicius for the second. The Brazilian has only started ten times but is again the bubbly end of last season. Bale, however, is missing. He has scored three goals in Madrid in the last eleven months, but Zidane is still waiting for him to come back, more clinging to his resume than his figure.
The City, what finished leader in a simple group (Shakhtar, Dinamo Zagreb and Atalanta), he plays under the Guardiola mold, but without Messi's nuclear button (the only time he lost in the Bernabéu in eight visits, with Bayern, it was the only time he came without the Argentine). He is five points ahead of Madrid in possession, but shoots five times less per game. In return, he has managed to get less than anyone in the competition. That was Madrid until two weeks ago, a team that protected itself with the lack of another's goal of the own famine (in Champions they have not yet scored Jovic, Hazard, Bale, Lucas, Isco, James …). The Real broke that high confidence, which requires an express recomposition, because the Champions does not include the right of rectification.
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