The UEFA Champions League Round of 16 resumed last week after being put on hold due to the Coronavirus. Apart from Real Madrid, the big boys like Barcelona, Bayern and PSG all went through. Manchester Citeh is the sole English survivor in this round which saw Liverpool falling to Athletico Madrid, Tottenham getting thrashed by Leipzig (due to the performance of Alf-Inge Håland’s son ).
Bayern gave Chelski* a footballing lesson, thrashing them 4-1 and advancing 7-1 on aggregate. However, the big news emerging was 2 disastrous performances by 2 so-called “world class defenders.”
*Chelski: Its not a football club but a play thing of Roman Abramovich.
Before we start on Koulibaly, we have to devote some space to Manchester City, or Citeh as they are known. The Rembau Times crew was actually in Manchester in 1999 to witness literally pain and glory. On one side we had Manchester Citeh fans drowning their sorrows in Strongbow Apple Cider as Citeh got relegated the year before and they had to contend with playing misfits like Milwall.
On the other side, we had fans in Stockport, Bury and London going crazy as Manchester United won the treble thanks to last minute goals from Ole and Sheringham. (Note to readers: Man United fans are not from Manchester).
22 years later and Citeh has is now considered among the elite in world football. Makes you wonder how far £ 1 billion pounds can go in transforming a derelict club.
Varane was a disaster. Koulibaly blows it.
First was French World Cup winner Raphaël Varane, who practically gifted Manchester City 2 goals and saw Real Madrid soundly beaten at the Etihad. I’m sorry to all Varane fans out there, I just cannot see how a so called “world class” defender can mess up so spectacularly in such an important match.
But my ire is reserved to my once favorite defender Kalidou Koulibaly.
We had great hopes for Kalidou Koulibaly – a defender in the mould of Sol Campbell, able to take free kicks like Ronald Koeman and a “beast” in the defensive midfield like Miguel Ángel Nadal. He appeared to have checked all the boxes – big and strong, no funny haircut and #BlackLivesMatter.
That is not to say that Koulibaly was that all assured player we had built him up to be. In last year’s Europa League, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, or the Gabonese Jamie Vardy, had Koulibaly in knots. This was really bad – after all, this is Arsenal we are talking about, not some big European club. However, we convinced ourselves that this was just a one off and Koulibaly could perform on the big stage.
…this is Arsenal we are talking about, not some big European club.
But on the most important stage in a footballer’s calendar, he well and truly messed up, allowing Barcelona to score 2 goals and kill the Barcelona – Napoli quarterfinal tie. Napoli went into the tie level at 1-1.
The second goal scored by Messi is due in part to Messi’s brilliance and Koulibaly’s incompetence, but probably more due to Messi’s brilliance. Messi cut in from the left flank into the Napoli penalty area, Koulibaly and several other Napoli defenders closed him down and actually tackled him – a foul could have been given. Messi fell to the ground but still managed to score a goal. Check out the video.
I guess Kalidou is just not the man and the only defender worth above £90m is Virgil Van Dyke. Thought that a back line for Manchester United featuring Wan-Bissaka, Koulibaly, Macguire and Shaw will be a potential title winning back four in order for Manchester Untied to launch a bid for the title, but based on the abject display by our man Koulio, we have to recallibrate.
As to Lionel Messi, we never have been a big Leo fan but are forced to admit that
Messi is actually very good.