Luís Figo announces the “beauty of football” after the sheriff’s triumph | UEFA Champions League
Former UEFA Champions League winner Luís Figo announced “the beauty of football” in light of Sheriff’s victory at Real Madrid on Tuesday.
According to Figo, these unexpected tales underscore the importance of the principles of sporting merit that drive the UEFA Champions League.
“It’s a competition that allows everyone by their sporting merit to play there. It should be like this, ”he said.
“That’s the beauty of football. The beauty of football shows that small teams can in theory win and beat the favorites. This is football and this is the sporting merit by which you can play these great competitions and have the chance to beat the greatest teams and qualify for the next rounds. It’s fantastic.”
With an exciting mix of drama, surprises and intriguing subplots, the opening rounds of this season’s UEFA Champions League have served as a reminder that the competition remains the culmination of club football around the world.
For spectators in stadiums and viewers around the world, there was plenty to capture the imagination – with the competition’s magical ability to serve the spectacular (and the unexpected) summed up on Tuesday night by the brilliant late strike of Sebastien Thill who earned newcomer Sheriff a superb 2-1 triumph at Real Madrid.
Two weeks after Switzerland’s Young Boys rallied to Manchester United, Sheriff’s success in the Spanish capital was another shock to be savored, underscoring the sense of opportunity that exists for every club in the group stage of the ‘UEFA Champions League.
If Lionel Messi’s first goal at Paris Saint-Germain the same evening had a beauty we expected from the Argentinian, the winning goal the Sheriff Thill midfielder scored at the Santiago Bernabéu was the stuff of David meets Goliath .
Thill is a 27-year-old who only left Luxembourg a year ago, first for Russia and now for Moldova. And he was there, shooting a wonderfully arrowed half volley into the top corner of Thibaut Courtois’ net in the 90th minute. With that, he delivered one of the biggest upsets of the group stage as the new boys won at the home of the 13-time champions, having withstood a play-off featuring 30 Madrid goal attempts (against four from the sheriff ).
It was also the first goal in the competition for a Luxembourg player – the 105th nation to join this list.
There has already been a flurry of late winners in this 2021/22 group stage. On Matchday 1, the Young Boys spoiled Cristiano Ronaldo’s first European night in Manchester United with a goal from Jordan Siebatcheu in the 95th minute. Ronaldo made amends with his own goalscorer at the same time, against Villarreal this week.
The San Siro witnessed a last-minute drama on Matchday 2 as Atlético de Madrid beat AC Milan via a Luis Suárez penalty in the 97th minute. This contest also showed how the football gods benefit from a good subplot, with Antoine Griezmann scoring his first goal since joining Atlético from the scene of his missed penalty in the UEFA final. 2016 Champions League. There was also an ironic symmetry as Messi scored his first goal in Paris in a master-student meeting with Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola.
Those who appreciate an outsider history will also note the efforts of Club Brugge, another less sophisticated side that is holding up in this season’s group stage, already coming from behind to draw with Paris and win at Leipzig.
Shocks over the years
The Sheriff’s victory in Madrid is a result that gives hope to all the smaller clubs in the competition – and is arguably the biggest group stage shock a Spanish club has suffered since Rubin won 2-1. in Barcelona, reigning champion in October 2009.
Other notable upsets in recent memory include Zurich’s 1-0 victory over Milan at San Siro in 2009, Celtic’s 2-1 home win over Barcelona in 2012 (achieved by Tony Watt, an 18-year-old who debut in the UEFA Champions League), and BATE Borisov’s 3-1 success against Bayern in Minsk in 2012.
This season’s group stage has already given us a nine-goal thriller between Manchester City and Leipzig, and the goal rate currently stands at 2.67 per game.