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Gray Skies in Manchester


(Image from Archdye.com)


In sports you may have heard the following sayings: “The future is bright”, “Just wait until next year”, “The only way is up from here.” None of these are the case for European football (soccer) club Manchester City. Manchester City plays in the English Premier League, one of the most competitive football leagues in the world. A league known for its world class players, die-hard fans, and extremely wealthy ownerships. City is coming off a championship season, now they won back to back league titles. Now they look at themselves with an uncertain future.


The Union of European Football Associations or better known as UEFA, has struck down Man City with a cruel punishment. UEFA has banned City from Champions League football for the next two seasons.

Just what is the Champions League you may ask?


It’s the most competitive club football competition in the world. The top teams from most of Europe’s leagues are represented in the Champions League. The Champions League brings joy, drama, and the opportunity to play unique opponents. Every major team in European football wants to play in this competition. Manchester City will have to watch the next two years of this competition from their respective couches. For the next two years they will not be able to compete in this high-quality tournament. A tournament in which they have made themselves a regular name in nowadays. A tournament in which they have been knocked out, in painful matters, the last two years to English football rivals. A tournament where head coach, Pep Guardiola has not won since moving to the club.


Champions League football is everything to a club like Man City. All of their goals are focused on hoisting that trophy. They must take a current opportunity very seriously. City is still in this year’s Champions League tournament, that has just reached the knockout stages. Whatever, the hell they did wrong the last two years, it really is time to fix that. City are in a desperate position to win this league’s Champions League. They won’t be competing for the next two years, we know that. They won’t get a chance at defending their league title because rival Liverpool is running away with the league. The time is now for Manchester City, and they know that.


Why is Manchester City banned from the Champions League?


It gets tricky with teams this wealthy, that have insane ownerships and partnerships that bring them a boatload of money. UEFA said that City violated “Financial Fair Play” rules. The club manipulated the money that they spent, so that it would appear to be in spending limits. However, Manchester City went over their spending limits and have now faced the consequences. Trying to cover their tracks also resulted in a hefty fine. City faces a 30 million euro fine. Of course, this won’t be that hard to make up with a team as supported and endorsed as they are. The real punishment of course is the lack of Champions League football.


So, what is there to look forward in Manchester? I’ll be honest, not that much. City is not going to win the Premier League this year. If they want to win the Champions League, they will need absolutely everything in them. They have not been a powerhouse this year. Liverpool looks like the team to beat in England, in the coming years. Leicester City have proven how tough they are. Chelsea has an assortment of young talent that proves to be dangerous in the future. Tottenham is under new management that could bring them a long way. Cross-town rival, Manchester United hopes they can sign a superstar this summer. Arsenal, well they’re still Arsenal.


All of this proves is that the little “Golden Generation” of City players that were developing and winning the last five years seems to be fizzling away. Players are getting old, and rivals are getting better. Who knows where manager Pep Guardiola will be after this year? It certainly is a good question.


According to his word, he is staying at City. He loves it there and is happy with what he has built. Guardiola came out saying, “Look, whatever league we are in, I will still be here. Even if they put us in League Two, I will still be here.” These are bold words coming from Guardiola. Considering his past, staying at a certain place for a long period of time isn’t really his style. He’s bounced through the likes of Barcelona and Bayern Munich. Leaving on his terms and accepting a new challenge somewhere else. To his credit, he’s been fabulous everywhere he goes and brings that club trophies. However, the going is about to get very tough for Guardiola. Players may want out, the board will be unhappy, and an exit in this year’s Champions League could cause him to move.


Turin, Italy could be a fitting place for Pep Guardiola. He has never coached at Italian giant football club, Juventus. There have been rumors spreading around how this unarguably will be Pep’s next move. As of now, nothing is true. He has said that he wants to stay, we shall see about that. Juventus offers a beautiful change. A club rolling with money, a league without Liverpool in it, and a team with perhaps the best player in the world. Cristiano Ronaldo. If this doesn’t convince Guardiola to leave Manchester City, I don’t know what will.


For now, he’s in Manchester. He will do everything in his power to be a European Champion this year. Guardiola is under clouds right now. Rain isn’t hitting him, but he sees a storm in the distance. Those clear clouds are turning gray, and the future is becoming scary. So, I go back to the saying, “The only way is up from here.” I beg to differ Manchester City. As die-hard City fan, Johnny Marr who is also the lead guitarist for the world-famous band The Smiths said, “I Know It’s Over.”

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