The crazy weekend of European football


AA / Montreal / Hatem Kattou

The English Premier League came to an end on Sunday in the final quarter of an hour of the last day, when Manchester City, who were two goals behind against Aston Villa, managed to score three in the space five minutes, just as AC Milan won their first Scudetto in Italy since 2011, thus winning their duel from a distance against their brother-enemy and eternal rival, Inter Milan.

The day before, French striker Kylian Mbappé extended for three years at PSG, thus rejecting the offer of Real Madrid, which will play its 17th Champions League final next Saturday against Liverpool, runner-up to Manchester City.

– Manchester City: Champion at the end of the suspense

Before the 38th and final day of the Premier League, the club of Manchester City, leaders with 90 points in their pocket, only needed the narrowest of victories against Aston Villa, a club in the second half of the table with a modest fourteenth place, pure glean the precious sesame of three points and win the championship.
The foals of the “philosopher” coach, the Basque Pep Guardiola, needed this gain to prevent the Liverpool “Reds”, who were trailing them by a short length, from being able to join them and beat them on the post.

At the end of the lemon break, the « Citizens » were led by a goal to zero and things did not get better in the second half, when the Brazilian Philippe Coutinho, former member of FC Barcelona, ​​​​doubled the mark 21 minutes from time. term.

At that time of the match, few among the 53,000 spectators and fans present in the spans of the “Etihad Stadium” who believed in a comeback for their team.
Better (or even worse), 75 kilometers from Manchester, more precisely in Wolverhampton, Liverpool were tied at this point in the match against Wolves, and their coronation depended on only one goal, which was done when Pharaoh Mohamed Salah enshrines this valuable achievement.

But it was without counting on the iron mind of the teammates of the Algerian Riyad Mahrez, who managed, in the space of five minutes, to achieve a Remontada, a term certainly overused but which suits the configuration of the match of the final day.

Indeed, and with a quarter remaining, Manchester City were still two goals behind, and it was not until the 76th minute that the German midfielder of Turkish origin, İlkay Gündoğan, entered during the game, opens the scoring with a header that lodges the ball in the opposite corner of the opposing goalkeeper’s cage.

Emerging from their lethargy which lasted more than three quarters of the duration of the meeting, the « Citizens » were overexcited and two minutes later, it was around the Spanish international, Rodri, to score again by shooting a powerful shot, low to the ground, from a distance of 22 meters.

Reinvigorated by this unexpected equalizer, the Mancunians managed the unthinkable and the same Gündoğan only had to push the leather in the net in the 81st minute after a decisive and luminous pass from the Belgian magician, Kevin De Bruyne, who served his team-mate on a plateau after breaking through the Aston Villa defense with a final thrust.

Thus, the match was folded in five minutes and Manchester City was crowned, for the eighth time in its history, and for the fourth time in five years, champion of England at the end of a bitterly contested season which was sanctioned by a Pyrrhic victory.

– AC Milan: « Il Diavolo » on the roof of Italy, eleven years later

In Italy, the situation was almost similar to that which prevailed in England. AC Milan were first in Serie A before the start of the 38th day with 83 points on the clock, a comfortable two lengths ahead of the other team of the capital of Italian fashion, Inter Milan.

Between enemy brothers who share the northern city, its supporters as well as its emblematic stadium of Giuseppe-Meazza, Rosseroni (Red and black) and Nerazzurri (blue and black) engaged during this final day in a duel from a distance to designate the Italian champion.

The « Milanista » needed like the « Citizens » in England a narrow victory to preserve their two-point lead and therefore win a Scudetto that has eluded them since 2011.
However, and unlike Manchester City, the teammates of Frenchman Olivier Giroud, author of a double, did not make it against Sassuolo (11th with 50 points) and killed the match from the start to bend everything during the first half.

Indeed, and during the first period, the proteges of Stefano Pioli, scored three goals in less than twenty minutes. Giroud opened the scoring in the 17th minute before scoring again a quarter of an hour later (32nd) and it was four minutes after the Ivorian Franck Kessié worsened the mark to complete all suspense and offer victory at the club.

In the other game, Inter Milan topped Sampdoria Genoa by the same score of three unchallenged goals, but that victory was insufficient to close the gap.
Thus, the defending champions had to cede the crown to the « vicinato » who took control of Calcio after an eleven-year desert crossing.

AC Milan, a sports association created in 1899 and the third most successful club in the world, thus won its 19th Italian championship, thus equaling the performance of Inter, but despite this remained far from the « Vechia Signora », nickname of the Juventus of Turin which hovers, strong of its 36 titles.

– Mbappé who returns to PSG or the epilogue FINALLY

“I didn’t say no to Madrid, I said yes to France”.

It is in these terms that the tricolor striker, Kylian Mbappé, explained or justified, Monday, in a press conference given at the Camp des loges in the Yvelines, his decision, announced the day before, to stay at Paris-Saint -Germain and not to join the ranks of Real Madrid, the most successful club in the world.

The player, aged 23, and already world champion in 2018, thus comes to give the end clap to a soap opera which has been going on for several months, about his stay in Paris or his rallying to Casa Blanca.

Indeed, and while the contract of the French nugget was coming to an end during this summer, and when many observers said he was leaving for the Spanish capital, Mbappé made his « shattering » announcement on Saturday on the sidelines of the meeting which had opposed PSG to Metz.

The athletic striker has thus put an end to rumours, contradictory information and other speculation relating to his future to decide to extend to the French club in order to continue writing his « story which is not yet finished here ».

Mbappé underlined having made his decision, « last week », a decision which displeased the president of the « Merengue », Florentino Perez, who contacted by the former Monaco prodigy to announce the news, sent him the following message: “I regret what happened in the past few days. They shattered the dream you had since childhood. Wish you all the best « .

Beyond the financial stake which gives PSG the latitude to have the end of the story, with 150 million euros offered to the player in three seasons (unofficial figures revealed by Spanish media), thanks especially to the funds provided by « Qatar Sports Investments » (QSI) which has been running the club for almost a decade, it is above all political interference and the sports project that lend themselves to debates and controversies, in particular on social networks .

Indeed, Mbappé said on Monday that “the president (Emmanuel Macron, also a fan of Olympique de Marseille) loves football, Mr. Sarkozy (Nicolas, former head of state and open supporter of PSG) too. They advised me to continue in my country, to continue the story a bit with Paris Saint-Germain”.

“But despite everything, I made my decision personally,” he took care to specify.

Moreover, and even if Mbappé highlights the « sentimental » aspect, and the new sporting project of the Parisian club, the fact remains that the ultimate intention of PSG and its patrons remains that of winning the most prestigious of club trophies in Europe, in this case the Champions League.

It should be noted that since the arrival of the Qataris, no less than five world-class coaches (the German Tuchel, the Italian Ancelotti, the Spaniard Emery, the Frenchman Blanc and the Argentinian Pochettino), have succeeded each other in the technical bar of the club of the French capital with the constellation of stars recruited, but without succeeding in winning the slightest title outside France.

This same title, let us remember, which won in France only by Olympique de Marseille led by Bernard Tapie (1993), was won by Real Madrid, the club that Mbappé did not wish to join, at thirteen occasions. The same Real Madrid, already crowned champion of Spain this season (35th Liga), will play, moreover, this Saturday one more final but surely not too much, of the Champions League to try to win its 14th title, against in Liverpool.

Before reaching the final, Karim Benzema’s teammates had erased Kylian Mbappé’s PSG in the round of 16, thanks, among other things, to a hat-trick from the former Lyonnais.
This brings us back to the sporting project, to the DNA of winning and grinta, which can make the difference between one club and another.

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