Football

Published on May 21st, 2018 | by Vieri Capretta

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Winners and losers: golden goodbyes and Champions League chumps

While two legendary players said goodbye to their clubs, others were saying farewell to Champions League football in a dramatic end to the season 

Winners

Gianluigi Buffon

The farewell to Juventus with a clean sheet and by lifting the Scudetto trophy in the air. The Italian goalkeeper hugged every fan he could, and is now thinking about the future. Will it be Paris Saint Germain and another attempt at winning the Champions League?

Andres Iniesta

The Barcelona midfielder’s final game at the Camp Nou with 100.000 people applauding him off for ten minutes: a legend of football deserves this.

Inter

Can you believe it? Inter needed a win away from home at Lazio to get Champions League football next season, and managed it with the most dramatic of games, going behind twice and managing to fight back, thanks to a penalty, a red card and the decisive header by Matias Vecino, who had been one of the most disappointing signings of the season.

Football, in a nutshell. And the last Italian team to win the Champions League is finally back amongst Europe’s finest.

Antonio Conte

Will he leave or will he stay? At this stage it doesn’t matter too much. What matters is that in two seasons on the Chelsea bench, he managed to reach two FA Cup finals, and win two trophies, the Premier League in his debut year and the FA Cup this weekend. A message to all Chelsea fans that he is a “serial winner” and also has the personal satisfaction of beating José Mourinho in the final.

Niko Kovac

Announced earlier this season as Bayern Munich’s new manager, he brought Eintracht Frankfurt to the German Cup final and then led them to beat Bayern, his future club. Brilliant. Check out the celebrations of the Frankfurt fans to understand just what it means to them.

Lyon

Back in the Champions League, and doing so leaving out the bitter rivals of Marseille is even sweeter. Especially with such an exciting game against Nice, with the decisive 3-2 victory.

LOSERS

Lazio

Lazio played better football than Inter for the whole season, and also for 77 minutes of this direct, decisive game. They deserved Champions League football more than the Nerazzurri, being more consistent throughout. Yet, they bottled it. Football is like this: winning doesn’t always mean playing better. And Lazio will have to go to the Europa League.

Jose Mourinho

No titles, Jose. For the man who created the “zero titoli” (zero titles) when he was at Inter, it’s even worse. Especially after having spent all that money in the summer and seeing Manchester United play that kind of football. Last year he won three trophies, and saved the season, this time it went all wrong.

Bayern Munich

Bayern were favourites to beat Eintracht, and were hoping Kovac would not prove his worth against his new employer. None of that happened. Jupp Heynckes ended his managerial career with a defeat.

Marseille

It was always going to be difficult to overtake Lyon at this stage, but at some point Marseille thought they could, as Nice were giving Lyon a difficult time. It wasn’t the case, and Rudi Garcia’s men have to deal with a Europa League final defeat and missing out on Champions League football in the space of just five days.

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About the Author

mm

A freelance journalist and broadcaster focusing on European soccer and currently featuring on Uefa.com, La Gazzetta dello Sport, Marca in English and more.



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