Manchester City beat Real Madrid 4-0

It is impossible to remain neutral on Manchester City. If you support any club that has to compete with them in England or Europe, it is likely that they are the epitome of what is wrong with the modern game, given their state ownership and bottomless financial resources. If you don’t belong to one of those support groups, they’re probably just this bottomless monster who plays a different game than you’re interested in. , Some totally alien, mutant, Celestial, or maybe all three.

Wherever you fall on the City-Esteem spectrum, and no matter what you think about the process of how you got there, it would be equally impossible not to appreciate what they do on the field, where the calendar flipped to 2023, especially last night, As he turns Real Madrid into scraps of meat on barely assembled bones, it seems he has solved football.

only did it for the first 20 minutes last night normal real madrid stockholm syndrome Kick in, as they dominated in the same fashion as they had in the first leg. They couldn’t even smell the ball, barely left their own penalty area, and on the rare occasion that City graciously gave them the ball, they were as helpless as a high school team with it. Luka Modric also missed a few passes. Toni Kroos had some loose touches and was easily dismissed. Karim Banzema was strangled. Vinicius Jr. would have simply taken a seat in the second row, such was his participation.

We’ve all seen it before, at least that’s what we told ourselves. It was the same trap they had set for City in the first leg, and again only with a similar combination of two touches, and a run they would strike. That’s what they do, that’s what they always do.

And yet, as the clock ticked down, it seemed that Madrid was sinking deeper and deeper into the quicksand. They were the same dogs who were saying everything was fine, except they were actually on fire and Charing. they sink deeper, the touch gets worse, and Passes missed their targets by more open yards.

And it felt like it wasn’t his fault, somehow. Every City player except keeper Ederson, who really had nothing to do, was meticulous and elegant with the ball at his feet. Their perpetual motion was a light show, perpetual motion, and yet in perfect harmony. When he lost the ball, his pressure was… violent. There Brutality for his elimination from Madrid yesterday, especially when City hunted him down in their press. He took possession of the ball in an aggressive manner as if it were His insult It was hard to understand a side that could be so beautiful one moment and wild the next. It was a constantly evolving and changing shape animal.

There may be no better representation of how City turned Madrid into a cowardly creature pissing on its own foot than City’s second goal. When you look at how much space Dani Carvahal gives Jack Grealish on the left wing. He is not even within 10 yards, such is his terror of being completely burned again. Which he does anyway:

City battered every Madrid player with that kind of caution or outright fear, opening up more space for them to move wherever they wanted. The magnetism that Erling Haaland creates in the penalty box means that Ilkay Gunduan and Kevin De Bruyne have acres of pasture to play in, which only sucks in a defence, leaving Bernardo Silva out, and Grealish to class Gives the space it deserves. It is insoluble.

a rowa long time in the making

We told earlier how Pep Guardiola had spent years sharpening one aspect of City’s game, whether it was his awkward expression with the ball, his ability to control matches with the ball, then defend to the point of sucking all the oxygen out of a match Being able to, positional death from everywhere, and a pirate’s sensitivity to counter-attack, and putting it all together this season. Yesterday seemed like the culmination of all this.

what is real madrid barcelona, Juventus, and Bayern Munich all feared that would happen. given Their abysmal financial wealth, magnified by the Premier League’s already financial dominance in Europe, would see City achieve a level that simply cannot be touched. That those clubs will be ousted from the discussion of the most powerful on the field and soon off the field as well. There will be a new emperor.

And maybe that’s what was indicated yesterday, but it’s not entirely correct if only it results in more money than everyone else. While this could not have been achieved without spending money, it does a disservice to the work Guardiola has done. John Stones Was Only a Good Ball-Playing Center Back When he arrived from Everton. He was not a hybrid defender/pivot-point in midfield. Kevin De Bruyne was not the best passer in the world. Bernardo Silva could not play four positions at once. Grealish couldn’t really fit into a team. The Haaland…well, it was a rounded machine before but its edges have also been smoothed out. Perhaps City’s money unfairly makes them the only place Guardiola can create a painting like this, one of the few capable of creating this masterpiece with an endless supply of players, money and time. But it still has to be done.

Perhaps City’s rivals should take comfort in the knowledge that Pep won’t be around forever. He has now changed the game at two clubs, the Tiki-Taka in Barcelona and the high press and control in the city, and ushered in positional change. But there are very few people around who can do this after he is gone. PSG is an example of what happens when you just collect talent and put a new manager every 18 months to make it work. maybe guardiola He is the only one who can fix the hierarchy of the city and has the patience to build something in a period Year. Of course, Guardiola is the only one who can also continue to win the Premier League during construction. City is the only club where this is possible.

This is the only hope. They can never be universally loved, or even non-hated. But the city is certainly now universally admired for the football they play. That would be enough.

Follow Sam on Twitter @felsgate As he reassures himself that Alexis McAllister and Mason Mount will be enough to carry on with this ridiculousness next season.