It was not a banner day for the European giants in the Champions League on Tuesday. Man United and Bayern Munich both had uninspiring draws, and Real Madrid lost 1-0 to CSKA Moscow. Manchester United’s struggles have been well documented, and a draw at home to Valencia in the Champions League will do nothing to deafen the noise around the club. Somewhat less documented have been Real Madrid’s struggles to score. Despite dominating the game in regards to possession and shots, Real Madrid fell 1-0 to CSKA Moscow. In doing so, Real Madrid have not scored for three games in a row, and while Cristiano Ronaldo is not lighting up the nets in Italy, it’s hard to argue that Real Madrid don’t miss him. It’s likely that Bayern and Real may well be fine, but with United’s present form, they could find themselves out of Europe if things don’t improve.
The Champions League is the pinnacle of world football, the best players on the best teams facing off in memorable clashes across the season. But there are things about the Champions League that can be improved. The format and schedule, for one thing, can be very uneven. Also, the format seems to favor the big teams, and indeed it has been a long time since a team not considered a European giant won the tournament. Brian Phillips of ESPN talks about ways we can improve the Champions League and elevate an already good product.
This week at MLSsoccer.com the annual “22 Under 22” player list will be released, a ranking of the best young stars around the league. Before the list is unveiled, Andrew Wiebe of MLSsoccer.com split the players into tiers, from bonafide stars to solid contributors to players who have shown flashes, but just that. The future of MLS is in its young players, and right now the future looks pretty bright.
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