By Kean Huy Alado
The revered 2022 World Cup came to an end with Argentina walking away victorious in December. However, with the new year, another tournament takes center stage.
The Champions League returns as an Europe-centered competition among elite football clubs, currently in its 68th iteration. Particularly, Chelsea F.C. attempts to defend their title against challengers such as the Italian Juventus, Real Madrid, and Manchester United.
Despite the Champions League drawing less attention from a global audience, the intensity of the matches remains cutthroat and demonstrates strength in the professional players and their football club teams. Big players will claim the limelight playing under their football clubs in lieu of their national teams.
Barry students can see their favorite football players again, like Harry Kane, Son Heung-Min, Achraf Hakimi, Neymar Jr., Kylian Mbappé, and the decorated Lionel Messi who no longer is going into retirement.
Senior computer science major Isaiah Bartlett is a major fan.
“The U.E.F.A. Champions League is hype because you have teams from across all these different leagues facing off against each other, like the giants of the leagues,” he said.
The remix of teams will change former enemies into friends and allies into adversaries in this European tournament.
Comprised of talents from many countries, these teams make it possible to see players like the French superstar Mbappé play alongside world treasure Messi under the same team, Paris Saint-Germain (P.S.G.), after facing off in the World Cup Final.
The League began its group stages in September 2022, suspending their knockout stages until this past February to make space for the 2022 World Cup. The tournament continues for the rest of spring semester and will host the final this June.
“I’m looking forward to Manchester City... because they have been doing really good these past couple weeks,” said Lindsey Tebo, a pre-med biology freshman.
Bartlett voiced his bias and dismay about the tournament.
“I was supporting Paris Saint-Germain,” he said, “but they got knocked out by Bayern. I was disappointed because you have Mbappé, Messi, Neymar.”
Nursing freshman Renzo Antido accredited P.S.G.’s loss to team management.
“They just couldn’t defend the ball correctly. They couldn’t utilize their midfielders and Messi and Mbappé. And they have so much talent; but they’re not utilized correctly,” he said.
In a Buccaneer survey of 130 Barry students, 55 percent of students believe Real Madrid will win the tournament. Only 19 percent voted for F.C. Bayern Munich and about 9 percent hope Chelsea F.C. will walk away victorious.
You can view the League’s future matches on TV channel listings after purchasing access or on streaming services such as ESPN+, Paramount +, and Fubo under a subscription or free trial.