Friday, January 21News That Matters

Tag: Manchester City (Soccer Team)

NYCFC Played the Long Game to Reach MLS Cup

Sports
PORTLAND, Ore. — The road, New York City Football Club executives said as far back as 2015, was always supposed to lead here, to big moments, to finals, to trophies. That, they said, was always the plan.Those who haven’t paid close attention to New York City F.C.’s roster evolution the past few years might not have seen the plan quite so clearly, and so they might be surprised to scan the Manchester City-backed team’s roster ahead of the M.L.S. Cup final on Saturday against the Portland Timbers. There are no longer any Andrea Pirlos, no Frank Lampards, no David Villas in N.Y.C.F.C.’s squad — the kind of boldfaced European imports that once gave the team a flash of star power in its early years of existence.Instead, the team’s run to its first berth in Major League Soccer’s championship gam...
In One Moment, Messi and P.S.G. Make It All Work

In One Moment, Messi and P.S.G. Make It All Work

Sports
PARIS — Lionel Messi picked the ball up in that spot, the one that has served as the starting point for so many of his finest moments, the one that he knows so well that it might as well be his spot. It has, for 15 years, been his base camp, his happy place: a few yards inside from the right touchline, a few yards from halfway.He was standing still as he controlled it. He had been standing still for some time, by that stage. Paris St.-Germain had taken an early lead, through Idrissa Gueye, and had spent most of the rest of the game desperately trying to fend off Manchester City’s unrelenting attacks.It had maintained its advantage a little through judgment — the industry of Gueye and Ander Herrera, the obduracy of Marquinhos, the sheer, indomitable size and improbable elasticity of Gianlui...
Marcos Alonso, Chelsea and the Genius of Thomas Tuchel

Marcos Alonso, Chelsea and the Genius of Thomas Tuchel

Sports
There was, as there was always going to be, just a little mirth at the end of Manchester City’s goal-less draw with Southampton last week. Only a few days earlier, Pep Guardiola had been busy scolding the club’s fans for not coming in sufficient numbers to City’s Champions League game with RB Leipzig; this was not, as the scoffing went, the best way to persuade them to heed his call.There is not a vast amount to be gained from lingering on the details of that curious little spat — Guardiola seemed to complain that the stadium wasn’t full; a representative of City’s fans suggested that maybe not everyone can afford to pay eye-watering ticket prices to watch soccer once a week; Guardiola said he had not complained, so did not have to apologize — but there is a lesson at the heart of it that ...
Manchester City Chases New Trophies With an Old Friend: Money

Manchester City Chases New Trophies With an Old Friend: Money

Sports
In a sense, of course, the story of Lionel Messi and P.S.G. is only just beginning: The club, as its president, Nasser al-Khelaifi rather oddly said at the news conference held to unveil the greatest player of all time, has “won nothing yet.” Still, nice to know that he doesn’t think that stream of French titles mean a vast amount, either.But in a way, too, it is over. The point of signing Messi, for P.S.G., is not what comes after: It is not the games he plays or the trophies he wins. It was the theater of the day itself: the crowd at the airport, the congregation at the stadium, the countless news crews, the endless content.No victory — perhaps with the one exception of the Champions League, but not necessarily — will attract quite so much attention, will compel as many eyeballs, will en...
How to Watch the Champions League Final: Time, Streaming and Location

How to Watch the Champions League Final: Time, Streaming and Location

Sports
Chelsea and Manchester City, two deep-pocketed titans of England’s Premier League, will play for the biggest prize in European soccer on Saturday when they meet in the Champions League final in Porto, Portugal.Chelsea, a serial collector of titles and trophies since 2003, has won the competition once before, in 2012. Manchester City, a club that only in the last decade emerged from the long shadow of its more famous (and much more decorated) neighbor, Manchester United, is playing in the final for the first time.That unfamiliarity may bring some nerves, and some intrigue. But new faces or old, everyone will head into the final with eyes wide open about the stakes.“If you win, you’re a hero,” Manchester City midfielder Kevin De Bruyne said this week. “If you lose, you’re almost a failure.”W...
Pep Guardiola and the Ones That Got Away

Pep Guardiola and the Ones That Got Away

Sports
Alex Ferguson could, when the mood took him, be gracious in defeat. Often, that was when he was at his most ruminative, his most considered, his most obliging in his praise of an opponent. In all his years at Manchester United, though, he was never quite so effusive as he was deep inside Wembley Stadium exactly a decade ago.The Barcelona team that had just beaten his United side in the Champions League final — for the second time in three years — was the best he had ever faced, Ferguson said. He had been “mesmerized” by the patterns painted by Andres Iniesta, Xavi Hernández, Lionel Messi and the rest. Barcelona ranked, without question, as the best team in Europe. “No one,” Ferguson said, “has given us a hiding like that.”His paean was interrupted only by one brief note of warning. Pep Gua...
Champions League Final: The Rich Get Richer

Champions League Final: The Rich Get Richer

Sports
The shadows are drawing in across Europe.Inter Milan must shed millions of dollars from its salary bill. One or more of its brightest lights will have to be sold. Antonio Conte, the coach who only a few weeks ago ended the club’s decade-long wait for an Italian championship, does not intend to stick around to see his title-winning team broken up.Barcelona, a billion dollars in debt, must build a squad to meet its princely ambitions on a pauper’s budget. The club’s wish list does not extend much beyond the giveaway aisle: Sergio Agüero, Georginio Wijnaldum, Eric García and Memphis Depay are all out of contract, all available for nothing, a cut-price cavalry.Juventus must strip back in order to retool. Real Madrid’s president, Florentino Pérez, knows his fans crave a Galáctico but also that ...
Juventus Finds Its Fall Guy in Andrea Pirlo

Juventus Finds Its Fall Guy in Andrea Pirlo

Sports
It is the memories passed down between the generations that slowly, steadily accrete into something that becomes a tradition, and so it is with the greatest tradition in English soccer: worrying about the diminishing majesty of the F.A. Cup.Those who were there speak in hushed tones of the year that Manchester United was forced to pull out because the authorities wanted the team to play in a tournament in Brazil instead, or of the time that Liverpool sent out a squad of under-7s because the club had a more important game in Qatar the next day.But every club has its own story: a set of reserves sent out to play so as to save the first team for the league; a manager admitting that the cup is a distraction from the much more important business of securing 14th place, rather than 15th, in the ...
Champions League Final Is Moving to Porto, Portugal

Champions League Final Is Moving to Porto, Portugal

Sports
This month’s all-English Champions League final between Manchester City and Chelsea will be played in Porto, Portugal, a shift of one of soccer’s showcase events to one of the few countries where Britons can travel without restrictions related to the coronavirus pandemic.European soccer’s governing body, UEFA, cleared the last hurdles to shifting the game from its scheduled site in Turkey on Wednesday. An announcement of the move is set for Thursday.The decision to move the final from Istanbul, which recently re-entered a virus-related lockdown, came after discussions between European soccer leaders and British government officials, who had been seeking to bring the game to London. When the sides failed to reach an agreement that would have allowed the teams and their domestic fans to avoi...
Nine Super League Founders Admit ‘Mistake’ and Recommit to UEFA

Nine Super League Founders Admit ‘Mistake’ and Recommit to UEFA

Sports
Less than two weeks after they became partners in a European Super League that would have cast aside the structures and organizations that have underpinned soccer on the Continent for nearly a century, a group of the sport’s biggest clubs are now engaged in a new battle behind the scenes.This time, their fight is with one another.At the heart of the new battle are two documents. One, a so-called club commitment declaration agreed to by nine of the Super League’s dozen founding clubs and released on Friday, formally renounced the Super League project and recommitted the breakaway teams to Europe’s existing system.In a statement welcoming back the nine clubs, European soccer’s governing body, UEFA, said the teams “acknowledge and accept that the Super League project was a mistake and apologi...