Real Madrid’s record-breaking winners face Chelsea and last year’s finalist Paris Saint-Germain face Manchester City when the UEFA Champions League (UCL) returns after a week of turmoil in the football community over an unfortunate Super League project.
Real, Chelsea and City are among the 12 clubs listed, while PSG refused to join the competition, reports DPA. The angry reaction from fans, federations and politicians prompted the six English clubs, Inter Milan and Atletico Madrid, to announce their intention to retire.
The other four, including Real, have not made such statements, and Real and Super League president Florentino Perez continues to defend the project, saying it is saving football.
UEFA President Alexander Cheferin is among the biggest critics, as the Super League had to compete directly with the Champions League, which itself underwent controversial reform last week.
Cheferin has not ruled out sanctions, but for now the season continues as planned, on the way to the final on May 29 in Istanbul.
Zinedine Zidane’s Real Madrid advanced over Atalanta and Liverpool in their first semi-final in 2018, and in La Liga as defensive champions they are fighting Barcelona and Atletico Madrid.
“We haven’t won anything yet, but we are alive in Europe and the League,” Zidane said before the date of the first game on Tuesday.
Chelsea have shown great improvement since Thomas Tuchel became their manager in January, with the German aiming for his second consecutive final after 2020 with PSG.
The Blues knocked out City last week in the FA Cup semi-finals and are unbeaten in three previous continental dates with Real, the last being the 1998 European Super Cup.
“There is a lot of confidence – we have a great team, a very confident bunch of guys. We will come in and try to win this thing,” said Chelsea striker Christian Pulisic.
While Real have unbeaten 13 titles and Chelsea lifted the trophy in 2012, the ambitious duo of PSG and City finally wants to taste glory in the elite event, as one of them was confident that he would make the final.
City beat PSG on their way to their only previous participation in the semi-finals in 2016, but the French have enough confidence after beating Bayern Munich in the quarter-final rematch of last year’s final.
“We have eliminated the European champions, we are in the semi-finals and we will have to work even harder,” said PSG striker Neymar.
City manager Pep Guardiola will hope for a good result on Wednesday in France, as he strives to end his championship in the Champions League after leaving Barcelona, where he won the trophy twice.
City, who won a fourth consecutive English League Cup on Sunday against Tottenham Hotspur, could theoretically win the Premier League next weekend, but the first European Cup would be the icing on the cake.
“We won the first, we are close to the second and we are going to Paris to try another,” Guardiola said. “We will rest and prepare for the semi-final first match against PSG. After that we have two matches left from winning the most important title.”