Man City v The Champions League: How a billion quid failed to buy Europe’s top prize ​

Or, 'We spent a billion quid and all we got was a series of hilarious defeats'

It doesn’t quite fit the narrative, but Manchester City have been knocked out of the Champions League at the semi-final stage.

Imagine being Carlo Ancelotti, Karim Benzema or anybody else associated with arguably the biggest football club in history hearing your chances dismissed against Manchester City… you’d be up for it to say the least.

Known as the best manager of all time and with over £1billion spent on the best talent available, European success still eludes Pep Guardiola and Manchester City, so we thought it was worth looking back over some recent Champions League exits to see where it’s all going wrong…

And have a bit of laugh as well.

2016/17 – round of 16 vs Monaco

City scored a lot of goals in this tie, but for whatever reason couldn’t prevent Monaco from doing the same thing and were eliminated on away goals.

Of course, a round of 16 exit isn’t the most heartbreaking memory for a club that wins silverware every season, but when you go into a tie as odds on favourites against a French side of relatively unknowns, you score six goals and STILL don’t qualify, it can be remembered as extremely disappointing.

Heartbreak level – 5/10. Salvageable.

MONACO – MARCH 15: Bernardo Silva of AS Monaco (with ball) celebrates victory with team mates Joao Moutinho and Fabinho after the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 second leg match between AS Monaco and Manchester City FC at Stade Louis II on March 15, 2017 in Monaco, Monaco. Monaco won by 3 goals to 1 and progress to the quarter finals on the away goals rule. (Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images)

2019/20 – quarter-final vs Lyon

In what was probably the most surreal time of our lives with Coronavirus impacting everything from work to sports, all of the Champions League quarter-final ties were made one-leg affairs and played on neutral territory in Portugal.

Manchester City went in as heavy favourites and had 72% of the possession on the night mustering up 18 efforts at goal, but Lyon were deserved winners.

Guardiola had tinkered with the tactics and line-up, opting for three at the back which proved almost as costly as Raheem Sterling missing an open goal.

Heartbreak level – 7/10. Anger overrides pain here.

LISBON, PORTUGAL – AUGUST 15: Raheem Sterling of Manchester City misses a chance during the UEFA Champions League Quarter Final match between Manchester City and Lyon at Estadio Jose Alvalade on August 15, 2020 in Lisbon, Portugal. (Photo by Franck Fife/Pool via Getty Images)

2020/21 – final defeat vs Chelsea

Everybody, and I mean everybody expected City to win this one. Under new boss Thomas Tuchel Chelsea had improved dramatically but were still levels below Pep’s City.

There did however seem to be some psychological element attached to the game, with many suggesting Tuchel had the better of Pep in direct contest which had been proven in meetings.

Not many people know how to get the better of Pep, but the German boss implemented his plan to perfection and won the game 1-0.

Probably the most forgettable Champions League final of all time, but another chance squandered by Manchester City against a weak Chelsea side.

Heartbreak level – 8/10. It didn’t feel like a proper final but it still hurt.

PORTO, PORTUGAL – MAY 29: Thomas Tuchel, Manager of Chelsea kisses the Champions League trophy as players receive their winner medals following victory during the UEFA Champions League Final between Manchester City and Chelsea FC at Estadio do Dragao on May 29, 2021 in Porto, Portugal. (Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images)

2021/22 – semi-final exit vs Real Madrid

City probably should have been out of sight by half-time in the first leg. Having created several good chances in which they failed to convert; Pep’s side ultimately let Madrid back into the tie.

Absolutely dominating the 4-3 home-leg win, and going ahead with 15 minutes to go in the away leg giving them a two-goal advantage, were City guilty of taking their foot off the gas?

Did they think the job was done?

MADRID, SPAIN – MAY 04: Karim Benzema of Real Madrid scores their side’s third goal from the penalty spot during the UEFA Champions League Semi Final Leg Two match between Real Madrid and Manchester City at Estadio Santiago Bernabeu on May 04, 2022 in Madrid, Spain. (Photo by Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images)

Two very late strikes saw the usually solid Ruben Diaz, Aymeric Laporte and co. go into total capitulation having been pulled all over the place by some very fast-paced and direct Madrid attacking play all evening.

A third from Benzema plus a host of rolling around time-wasting meant once again, City were out.

Heartbreak level – 9/10. A few days in bed with the lights off and keeping away from social media.

2018/19 – quarter-final vs Spurs

Picture the scene. It is the 90th minute of the second leg, the score is 4-4 and City are heading out until Raheem Sterling scores a dramatic winner and the Etihad erupts. Everybody expected City to score the late goal.

Sterling, Pep, the players and the fans are going wild! Ajax in the semi-final is winnable. Absolutely winnable to the point there would have likely been one eye on the final aready.

A screen shows the VAR decision announcing that Manchester City’s English midfielder Raheem Sterling’s goal has been dissallowed in the closing minutes of the UEFA Champions League quarter final second leg football match between Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur at the Etihad Stadium in Manchester, north west England on April 17, 2019. – The match ended 4-4, but Tottenham progress to the semi finals on goal difference. (Photo by Anthony Devlin / AFP) (Photo by ANTHONY DEVLIN/AFP via Getty Images)

UP STEPS VAR. Disallowed.

These were the days when VAR was very new and this must go down as the biggest VAR call of the early VAR days, probably even all time.

Poch and his players go wild, Spurs advance, City are out, again.

Heartbreak level – 10/10. Eternal damage. Can they ever love again?


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