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Three series of round of 16 will leave three great European teams eliminated from the competition. From that possibility, we evaluate the conditions of the tournament draws
Atlético Madrid, Juventus, Liverpool, Bayern Munich, Paris Saint Germain, and Manchester United, three of these six major European teams, will bid farewell to this edition of the UEFA Champions League just in round of 16, after the draw held earlier this week in Nyon, Switzerland.
Read in english: ¿La UEFA debería cambiar los sorteos en la Champions League?
While it is true that, from the point of view of the fanatic, great duels are guaranteed from the first round of direct elimination, which is always attractive, it is also true that another sector of specialists consider that several of these 'sudden death' matches could be avoided if in the draw for the round of 16 (the round in which this way of determining the matches is most criticized), the conditions such as "not facing teams from the same country", and some others radicals, of "not face teams that were already in the same group."
I agree that the raffle should be purer and without conditions, although I must admit that to see in the second round a match that was already twice in the group stage would be boring. I do not share the condition of the same country, because if they face each other it is because luck decided it like that. Some have assured, in recent years, that UEFA takes care of itself to avoid in the early stages a Real Madrid vs Barcelona match, by far the European duel of the highest marketing in recent years and in which they bet can be soon as a final, which to date has not happened.
Then, starting from the last point, it is hard to believe that the draw is 100% random. However, UEFA does not like a final with teams from the same country, because the match loses interest and this focuses on a single nation. Of the last six editions of the Champions League, three matches have had as protagonists clubs of the same confederation. In 2013, Bayern Munich versus Borussia Dortmund, and in 2014 and 2016 Real Madrid vs. Atlético de Madrid, in this case, worse, two teams from the same city. So, by analyzing the situation, we cannot ensure that the draw is so premeditated if you want to avoid a final like the ones mentioned above.
I maintain my position that the draw must be changed and remove the constraints to avoid suspicion and comments. It is no secret to anyone that the way to the final for important teams is usually more accessible than other clubs.
For no one is a secret that names like Real Madrid, Barcelona, Manchester United, and Juventus are attractive for television revenues and the idea is to make the path easier for the chances of playing the final increase, so at least strong or with fewer fanatics it corresponds to him to make an almost perfect campaign to aspire to arrive at the party by the title. As for example, they got Atlético de Madrid in 2014, and Liverpool in the previous campaign.
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What are the disadvantages of the current system?
The first disadvantage is that UEFA cannot avoid such attractive matches in such early stages, but of course, if one of the favorites does not comply with the logic of being the first group but second (again as Athletic and Liverpool) almost inevitably it will play against a strong.
However, not being able to play against rivals from the same country in the round of 16 often ruins the competition. Last year, they classified the five English teams to the round of 16 and four of them were first in the group. The only one that could not do it was Chelsea, because it could not play against its own group rival or with the other four first ones ( because they were from its country) -I was unfailingly destined to see the faces of Barcelona in Spain, as it happened. Chelsea was second behind Roma only by one goal difference.
This year, Atlético de Madrid for being second, again by the difference of goals, was destined to a strong rival: because Real Madrid and Barcelona first of group could not face it, nor the Dortmund that won its zone. Its rivals could be Bayern Munich, Manchester City, PSG, Juventus (as indeed it happened), and to a lesser extent Porto de Portugal. Its luck was sentenced and instead of 7 possible rivals, it practically had four insured, which takes away the excitement of the draw, because some clubs are already sentenced before leaving the ballroom spheres.
We are sure that, without conditions, the draw for the round of 16 would bring us matches of sudden death in an average phase of the tournament, but at least no team would know their luck beforehand, taking as a base the teams of their country that also qualified and their other challenger classified first. Maybe we could even see a Barcelona vs. Real Madrid if one of the two qualifies as a second, as it happened with the merengue cast in the two recent editions (2016-2017 and 2017-2018) in which it ended up raising 'La Orejona'.
LatinAmerican Post | Onofre Zambrano
* The opinion of the editor does not represent LatinAmerican Post