A Champions League’s Changing of the Guard Leaves Behind Two Fixtures

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The Premier League is, eventually, benefiting not solely from its huge monetary benefit over the remainder of Europe, however from its choice — belated, admittedly — to spend a slightly higher proportion of that on managers, slightly than gamers.

That’s one studying of the state of affairs, anyway. It isn’t the one one. The Champions League is about groups, in fact, and about dynasties and eras and energy bases and all of that, however greater than something, it’s about gamers. Certainly, if the dominance of Actual Madrid taught us something, it was that, presently a minimum of, it is a competitors outlined by people greater than by programs. And people people haven’t modified in any respect.

On Tuesday, it was Cristiano Ronaldo, scoring yet one more hat-trick to drag Juventus away from Atlético, to ship the Allianz Stadium into raptures, to ship on the repute that satisfied the Italian champion to spend someplace north of $100 million on a 33-year-old ahead final summer time.

And on Wednesday — clearly — it was Lionel Messi, scoring twice, creating twice, and orchestrating Barcelona’s demolition of a brave, fearless however totally outgunned Lyon.

For some time, the French customer discomfited Barcelona; for some time, there was a mild draft of change right here, too, if not fairly a full wind. Lyon defended valiantly, and counterattacked with zest, earlier than Barcelona broke the impasse — a Messi penalty, deftly, virtually thoughtlessly, chipped previous Anthony Lopes.

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