Not sure if you have noticed, but Spanish-speaking football managers like to talk about suffering. The word pops up all the time in their post-match interviews. It might be something to do with Catholicism or just a general, Pedro Almodovar heroine-style fondness for tortured emotion, writes
Arsenal will celebrate Arsene Wenger’s 22-year managerial reign around his final home match against Burnley tomorrow, but the party lap of honour is in danger of turning into a funeral march after their Europa League humbling in Spain.
Tonight’s Europa League semi-final first leg between Arsenal and Atletico Madrid brings together two teams and clubs who are mirror opposites in many ways — including the personalities and philosophies of managers Arsene Wenger and Diego Simeone.
Chelsea’s poor form since Christmas has gone almost under the radar. It has seen us fall from third on the coattails of United to fifth and the ignominy of following another league-winning season by failing to qualify for the Champions League.
All week the build-up to Barcelona’s visit to Atletico Madrid on Saturday night had centred on the difficult political situation in Spain, with a push towards independence in Catalonia, and the central authorities in the capital pushing back.
Most of the noise in Spanish football this summer was generated by superstars Neymar and Cristiano Ronaldo — with the former leaving Barcelona for Paris Saint Germain, and the latter staying [for the moment at least] at Real Madrid.
Tonight’s Champions League semi-final first leg at the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu sees Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid facing off for a fourth consecutive year in the competition — with Real aiming to confirm their dominance in the capital and Atletico looking to finally get over the final barrier of Diego Simeone’s time in charge.