Manchester City lifted their fourth Premier League title of the Sheikh Mansour era on Sunday with a 4-1 win over Brighton. The celebrations around the Amex Stadium were fitting for a team that were pushed the entire 38-game season. The title was only secured on the final day and it took a come from behind win to make sure it returned to the blue side of Manchester for a second consecutive year.
But once the celebrations died down and the excitement wore off, there was a disappointment felt in the air at Manchester City. No, it wasn’t a feeling created by the players or manager Pep Guardiola, but from the ownership group based out of Abu Dhabi.
The importance of the Champions League
Much like Paris Saint-Germain, Manchester City are owned by a Middle Eastern royal family hellbent on winning trophies and using football as a vehicle for public relations. The Champions League is the holy grail for both clubs and yet again this season they came up short.
Manchester City, despite spending less on one individual player, have shown they can go deep in the Champions League than PSG. However, each season since Mansour’s arrival, they have been stopped, preventing their owner from basking in the glory of the biggest prize in club football.
According to reports, Mansour has only attended one Manchester City football match since taking over the club. He is an absentee owner happy to plunge billions of his money into the club while watching – or not watching – from afar.
There are many football pundits who claim the owner, and those around him, would give up all the domestic trophies earned under Guardiola for the Champions League title. It is a big claim, but one that is completely understandable.
Guardiola’s Champions League drought
The Champions League Final is the biggest club football competition in the world and with the names of Barcelona and Real Madrid in the tournament, two countries followed more than any other in the Middle East, winning puts Manchester City on par with those clubs in the minds of millions of fans.
Guardiola’s work with Manchester City has been phenomenal. The club has slaughtered all league opponents before them. But like with Bayern Munich, Guardiola has found the Champions League impossible to win. With Lionel Messi by his side at Barcelona, Guardiola was able to navigate the difficult tournament and win. Yet, outside of Camp Nou, he has never made the final while coaching another team.
Will UEFA ban Manchester City next season?
Hope of winning the Champions League next season could be dented for Manchester City. UEFA is investigating the club over their financial dealings. Of course, Manchester City executives claim they have done nothing wrong despite being alleged to have broken Financial Fair Play rules.
UEFA have shown themselves to be a paper tiger when punishing mega-rich clubs. Earlier this season, PSG were given a slap on the wrist for their dealings with the purchase of Kylian Mbappe. Whatever happens, Manchester City won’t take any punishment lying down and lawsuits will be filed.
According to The New York Times, a one-year Champions League ban will be suggested to UEFA as punishment for breaking the rules. Mansour and the City Football Group seek the European Cup and a ban from the tournament would stop their continued attempts to win it. More importantly, it would show the club as a rule breaker and dent the owner’s reputation as a fair player and winner.
If UEFA decides to show power, it could be a landmark move that changes football in Europe for years to come. But fans shouldn’t expect UEFA to suddenly have a backbone.