Iheanacho, Ndidi lose UCL slot again
Last weekend will ever remain green in the minds of many football fans across the world especially the duo of Leicester Football Club of England players, Kelechi Iheanacho and Wilfred Ndidi who lost the UEFA Champions League, UCL slot on the last day of the English Premier League, EPL.
After occupying the second and third positions respectively for the better parts of the league, they lost it on the last day after they were humiliated by Tottenham Hotspurs by 2-4 at the King Power Leicester Stadium.
Their inability to qualify for UCL means they will have to settle for the Europa league. Though this is not what the fans of Leicester City bargained for but they have a consolation in the FA cup which they won penultimate week against Chelsea.
Like Napoli like Leicester
Just like Leicester City Football Club in England, Napoli Football Club of Italy, also suffered the same feat as they lost the opportunity of qualifying for the UEFA Champions League.
Unlike Leicester which maintained the second and third positions respectively for a long time, Napoli, on the other hand came from the eighth position to occupy the fourth position for the later parts of the Serie A league.
When many expected them to seal the spot on the last day, they lost it to Juventus who initially occupied the fifth position before the last match, the Turin club won Bologna by 4-1 to seal the fourth position while Napoli drew with Verona 1-1 to occupy the fifth position. They will now settle for Europa league just like Leicester City. Could this be a coincidence, carelessness or badluck?
New champions emerge in Spain, France, Italy, others
For the first time in a long while, new sets of champions emerged in Spain, France and Italy including England.
Unlike what it used to be in the past, the defending champions were unable to defend the trophies they won the previous year.
For instance, in Spain, the usual suspects, Barcelona and Real Madrid were unable to win the La Liga as Atletico Madrid shocked the world to lift the trophy after defeating Valladolid 2-1.
Their local rivals, Real Madrid on other who also had the opportunity of winning the league on the last day also won their match against Villareal by 2-1 but was not enough to stop Atletico.
In France, Lille emerged as a surprise winner. They snatched the trophy from Paris Saint Germain, PSG who had dominated the league for a long time.
Lille defeated Angers 2-1 on the last day to win the league while PSG with its array of stars also defeated Brest 2-0. Lille won with 83 points against PSG 82.
Also in Italy, Inter Milan crowned their season with a 5-1 win over Udinese while AC Milan qualified for the UEFA Champions League for the first time after eight years. They defeated Atalanta by 2-0 who also occupied the 3rd position at the end of the league season.
Juventus who were defending champions came a surprising fourth position after they spanked Bologna 4-1 to snatch the position from Napoli who could only get a 1-1 draw against Verona.
In England, just like other leagues, Liverpool couldn’t defend the trophy they won last season. Manchester City became champions with some matches to play. They however crowned their year with a fantastic 5-0 win against Everton to lift the trophy at the Etihad Stadium.
However, the last year champions, Liverpool were able to muscle out Leicester City out of the UCL space after they defeated Crystal Palace by 2-0 to place third while Leicester on their hand lost woefully to Tottenham Hotspurs by 2-4 to pave way for Chelsea FC to pick the remaining position for the UCL.
Manchester United is the other team that got the UCL ticket after they came a far distance second position to their local rivals, Manchester City.
Meanwhile, just like the last weekend was a “Weekend of Decision” for champions, qualifiers for European leagues and relegated teams, the coming days will also be ”Days of Decisions” for players who might be moving from one club to another.
Even before the end of the season, many players have been linked with other clubs while some have had pre-contract agreement notable amongst them is Argentine Sergio Kun Aguero. It will also be a period when players will be returning to their various parents’ clubs. So it is definitely days and weeks of decisions as these might make or mar the future of so many players including coaches.