Why the UCL isn’t for everyone – a Cityzen’s open letter


To the despair of all Cityzens around the world, Manchester City yet again were knocked out of the recently concluded UCL in the quarter finals. In this article, we take a look into various reasons for the biggest UCL failures in recent times, through the eyes of a Cityzen.

An open letter to football fans around the globe

The relation between football and life

“You see, football and life are very much related. You can’t control them. While obviously tons of cash can make your life easier and winning plaudits becomes an achievable feat , there are some things that require mentality and desire. For instance, the Champions league or the World Cup. The most coveted prizes in life and in football require desire.”

A look into the past

Manchester City managers

“I’ve been watching Manchester City since 2011. I don’t prefer calling myself a Cityzen though, since we are quickly termed as plastic. However, I do call myself an avid lover of football. As long as I can remember, Manchester City have been a joy to watch in the premier league since the very start of the decade. Not only have they played slick football before Pep had arrived, they also scored tons of goals – under both Mancini and Pellegrini. While Manchester City have won everything there is to win domestically, they always seem to falter on the biggest stage of professional football. While prior to 2016, they drew top sides of Europe and them losing to goliaths like Bayern and Barcelona kinda looked fair. However, their recent history definitely raises some concern. The same goes for PSG.”

Does money guarantee success?

“The context is pretty simple – you CANNOT buy the UCL. You definitely can buy quality players and they do deliver decent levels of consistency domestically. However, the UCL requires some next level mentality, something which money can never buy. City crashing out to Lyon embodies the fact perfectly.

No matter how much quality there is on the bench, in the squad or even in a world class manager, on the biggest stage of European football, players need to play with composure and top mentality. Barcelona have gone in a downward spiral, Madrid can’t go beyond the round of 16, Juventus can’t make it, Manchester United struggle to get in the Champions league and get knocked out by a 4th placed Spanish side in a second tier European tournament, and Bayern couldn’t make it to the finals despite having a monopoly in the German football until this year. Big teams don’t seem synonymous to the biggest stage of this tournament anymore. This is because they all are trying to buy into the idea that UCL requires tons of money.

A leaf out of the book of recent UCL winners

UCL winners Real Madrid

” No, money doesn’t guarantee success in Europe and I’ve seen football for over a decade to assert the fact. As a matter of fact, when Real Madrid won the tournament thrice in a row, Zidane didn’t even have a net spend, north of 50 millions pounds for four years straight.

In that same period, City had spent over $500mil. And that money did help them cement their position as arguably the best English side in the history since . However, as I said earlier, top players and squad depth give decent amount of consistency in leagues , but the UCL is an entirely different ball game. It is one that requires heart and desire.

It’s not meant for everyone since all have varying amount of desire for it. And I’m definitely not refuting the fact that luck plays a vital role. You have to have an unimaginable amount of luck to win it and that’s what makes the victory sweeter. But then again, as the saying goes – ‘luck always comes to the prepared mind’. “


To conclude, while money has become a pretty important aspect in modern football, thankfully there are a lot of other aspects required to make it at the biggest stages. Although luck is an aspect which is often out of the hands of players, coaches etc, mentality is an aspect which should be an important part of every team which strives to make it at the top levels of football.

To read more articles about the Champions League, click here.

Padaravind Palai

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