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UEFA Champions League: The League of the Best

A Brief Introduction to Fantasy Football

Fantasy Football is a game where participants manage their Virtual teams, which means that they are the Owner, the manager and the coach of their virtual team. These virtual teams or commonly referred to as Fantasy Teams compete with other Fantasy Teams to see who the winner is. Fantasy Football helps us to reflect our love as fans for the sport. Fans always have their opinions about player selection and tactics. In Fantasy Football we get full control over our Football Teams.

UEFA provides Its Version of Fantasy Football for fans across the world to compete with each other. Players get to select their team, the team captain, a badge for their team, give a name to their team and the fans get to compete in the Leagues of the teams that they support. Team Managers are given an in-game budget of €100 million which they have to use to build a squad of fifteen players spread across two goalkeepers, five defenders, five midfielders and three forwards, with at most only three players from the same team featuring in our Fantasy Football lineup. 

History of the UEFA Champions League

A French sports journalist and editor of L’Equipe proposed an idea to create a tournament for the champion teams around Europe which today is known as The UEFA Champions League.  The UEFA Champions League is not just another Football League; It is a tournament held throughout the year that pits the best club teams in Europe against each other. UEFA Champions League is the most-watched club tournament in the world every year. The Champions League began as the “European Cup” in 1955 and ran until the Champion League inaugural season in 1992-1993. Introduction of the Group Stage, which many consider as a mini-league was formalized with the name change from the European Cup into the Champions League. The first edition of the tournament took place in the 1955-1956  season only hoisting Sixteen teams which over some time has gradually increased to Thirty-Two teams in the current seasons.

1955-1960: THE REAL MADRID DOMINANCE

Early stages of the competition were dominated by Real Madrid, winning all of the First Five Seasons. After winning the tournament for five consecutive times, Real Madrid earned the right to keep the original cup and wear UEFA badge of Honour.

1968: BRITISH TEAMS ENTER THE WINNERS CLUB

In 1968, Manchester United became the first British team to win the tournament, ten years after the tragic Munich crash, lifting the trophy in London.

1970-1973: THE DUTCH DOMINANCE

The era of Ajax’s, “Total Football”. Led by the legendary Johan Cruyff, Ajax won the competition three times in a row, taking the European centre stage by surprise.

1974-1976: BAYERN MUNICH ARE IN THE GAME

The Bavarians comprising Franz Beckenbauer, Sepp Maier, Gerd Müller, Uli Hoeneß and Paul Breitner ended Ajax’s dominance in European football and left behind their footprints.

1991-1992: BARCELONA DREAM TEAM LIFTS THE LAST EUROPEAN CUP

The 1991-1992 season was the last one of the European Cup before its shift towards the modern-day Champions League. Barcelona then coached by Johan Cryuff made him only the third man to win the European Cup as both a player and a coach after winning 1-0 in the final.

1993: BIRTH OF THE CHAMPIONS LEAGUE

The European Cup was finally renamed into The Champions League giving it new TV rights and building the current UCL as we know it. Marseille became the first team to win the new Champions League, making them the only French team to do so.

2009-2011: GUARDIOLA’S BARCELONA

At the age of only 38 Pep Guardiola became the youngest manager to win the Champions League in 2009. Barcelona’s Tiki-Taka made fans fell in love with the team. However, this team suffered a humiliating exit in the 2010 Semi-Finals before winning the competition again in 2011, dominating Manchester United in the final.

2012: ENGLISH COMEBACK

Chelsea brought back the former lost glory of English teams back in the competition by winning their first Champions League title after defeating Bayern Munich in their home turf.

2013: ALL GERMAN FINAL

2013 was the year of all German Final between Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund. Bayern Munich following the previous humiliating home defeat in Final by Chelsea won their fifth title, becoming then the fourth team to do so.

2015: BARCELONA WIN THEIR 5TH TITLE

The magical trio of Messi, Suarez and Neymar a.k.a. MSN won Barcelona their fifth Champions League title making them the fifth club ever to do so.

2016-2018: REAL MADRID DOMINATE AT THE EUROPEAN STAGE

Under the management of the peerless Zidane, Real Madrid became the first-ever team to win the newer format of Champions League thrice consecutively thrice.

2019: ALL ENGLISH FINAL

2019 was the year of comebacks, both the finalists Liverpool and Tottenham Spurs came ahead from behind in their respective Semi-Finals, with Liverpool winning their sixth Champions League trophy.

What’s Next in Store for Champions League:

UEFA are planning to bring a new format for Champions League 2024 onwards. UEFA plans to divide the 32 teams into groups of four, with the top four teams of all groups advancing into the second group stage of 16 teams consisting of the four groups. The top two teams of the group stage from each group will then qualify for the Quarter-Finals. While the last teams in the earlier group stage will be relegated into the Europa League and fifth and sixth performing teams would be required to play a qualification round to feature in the next UEFA Champions League season. UEFA claims that bringing these changes would increase the number of UCL fixtures among the top teams across Europe. Though this step has received mass criticism from Local Football Associations across Europe, which feel that increasing the number of Champions League Fixtures pose a threat to the competitiveness and economic balance of all the major Leagues in Europe.

NOTABLE PLAYERS AND THEIR CONTRIBUTIONS

Cristiano Ronaldo

Cristiano Ronaldo is the tournament’s all-time top goal scorer at 128 goals in 170 matches . His first title win came when he was in Manchester United and then later he continued to win 4 of his remaining titles with Real Madrid. Cristiano Ronaldo was Real Madrid’s go-to man during his campaign there. Cristiano at this period hopes to win the competition again and for a record sixth team with his current team Juventus.

Lionel Messi

Leo Messi has the second-highest number of goals in the tournament at 113 goals in just a mere 139 matches . Lionel Messi all through his career has stayed with his current team FC Barcelona, winning all his four titles along with them.  Lionel Messi has been an integral part of Fc Barcelona’s UCL campaign and results, with the second-highest number of appearances for the club behind another club legend Xavi Hernandez

Johan Cryuff

Johan Cryuff was the backbone of Ajax’s hat-trick of Champions League titles in the 1970s. Johan Cryuff with his exceptional achievements with Ajax, won the prestigious Ballon D’or award thrice in 1971,1973 and 1974.

Raúl González

Raúl González has the third-highest number of goals at 71 goals in 142 matches  in the tournament and has won three titles along with his hometown team Real Madrid. Raúl González is considered as one of the best strikers to play in the tournament.

Iker Casillas Fernández

Iker Casillas has the most number of appearances in the Uefa Champions League with 181 matches played . He made his Champions League debut in the 1999-2000 Final as a substitute, and his exemplary performance helped Real Madrid win the title. He, later on, won two more titles with his club in 2002 and 2014. 

CURRENT SEASON – 2019-2020

For the 2020 season, Champions league just concluded its fourth match day of group stage UCL fixtures, with Bayern Munich already qualifying for the round of 16. The tournament already has witnessed 207 goals so far in just 64 matches played with an average of 3.23 goals per  game and Bayern Munich scoring the most number of goals (15 goals)  as of now. ERLING BRAUT HAALAND is the current leading goal scorer for the 2019-2020 season with seven goals  under his name.

The most exciting match of the tournament so far has to be the 4-4 draw at Stamford Bridge between Chelsea and Ajax, and the game had almost everything. There were two own goals, a couple of penalties, red cards and an epic finish. Lagging with three goals and only twenty minutes left to play, things took an unprecedented turn when at the 68th minute, Ajax’s both Centre Backs, Daley Blind and Veltman were shown the red cards, leaving Ajax down to 9 men. Chelsea wreaked havoc on the weakened Ajax side by completing their comeback, though their winning clutch moment goal was ruled off by VAR, the match had already reached the point to go down the history books. Chelsea’s coach Frank Lampard became the first person to be part of a 4-4 draw match both as a player and a manager.

MPL Teamhttps://www.mpl.live/
MPL Team - Enjoy reading gaming, fantasy, poker, and rummy articles by the MPL team on the MPL blog.

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