John Dykes Says He Expects Manchester City to Win UEFA Champions League Soon
John Dykes believes Manchester City will win the UEFA Champions League soon.
One of the best forwards currently in men’s football is French striker Karim Benzema, who scored two consecutive hat-tricks in the UEFA Champions League. One knocked out the fancied Paris Saint Germain with Lionel Messi, Neymar and Kylian Mbappe in the mix, while the second has possibly put the defending champions, Chelsea, on the road to a quarter-final exit.
The 34-year-old striker has been in the form of his life, and after playing second fiddle to Cristiano Ronaldo for some years, is having his moment in the sun.
"He seems to be getting better and better. I think that Karim Benzema is one of the great stories in the last 10-15 years of football," veteran commentator John Dykes told The Quint in an interview.
"To think that somebody’s gone from being subordinate to one of the great players or personalities of all time, to almost single-handedly be capable of determining the fortunes of Real Madrid in his own right, is brilliant."
"I just think that because he is deliberately and consciously low-profile, he hasn’t been subject to the attention. And all his achievements are down to being brilliant at what he does, that is football. And I think in a way, that’s been overlooked. He is the most underrated striker and maybe even player of his generation."
And while Benzema is leading the Real Madrid attack with a great deal of panache, their arch rivals Barcelona will need some time before they can compete at the top in Europe, felt the ace commentator. Barcelona, which lost Lionel Messi in the summer before the season kicked off, have gone through a difficult phase since then, and the team is currently being managed by their former captain Xavi, under who’s tutelage the team’s fortunes have seen a dramatic turn.
"Xavi has worked wonders with a combination of really astute signings. Everything that could work for them has worked. The financial dealings, at a time when they’re under severe restrictions, have paid off for them. But that doesn’t mean they’re suddenly going to be good enough to compete in the latter stages of the Champions League," Dykes explained.
"The most important thing for them right now is to finish the La Liga season strongly, but even more of a priority is that they have to compete and win the Europa League."
"I think that they’re 3 years away from being able to compete with the very best in Europe, because financially also they will be operating with strict regulations."
If Barcelona's fortunes without Messi weren't the best, the Argentine’s new club, Paris Saint Germain too, have not done too well since he joined them, crashing out of the Champions League against Real Madrid.
When quizzed about what he thinks is going wrong in Paris, Dykes explained that PSG don’t have the core in place yet, which is quite a concern. In comparison though, Manchester City, he suspects, will win the coveted Champions League crown soon.
"Man City’s failure to win a Champions League has come down to fine margins. There is no pressure like what a team faces in the latter stages of the tournament. They’re up against the best in the world. You only have to have a bad day or half maybe and you’re out.
"With PSG, I think it is a slightly more concerning situation. The PSG model has been based around bringing in what used to be known as Galacticos. And what we've seen, at least 4 times in recent history with PSG, that they have suffered catastrophic collapses in matches."
PSG have suffered at the hands of Barcelona and Manchester United, as well as Real Madrid in the knockouts, failing to hold their nerve and progress.
"When something like that happens, it is more than a coincidence and what I think that comes down to is that this is a team that hasn’t evolved organically as a group, enduring, suffering, fighting, and developing a winning spirit. When they are good they're sensational, but when they come under pressure – because they’re made up of individuals – they fragment. They don’t have the core and they just fall apart.
"And that is what is structurally wrong with them. They needed to develop over the last few years, a core of players, who would see them through when the going gets tough," Dykes signed off.
Watch UEFA Champions League 2021-22 (Quarter-final Leg 2) – LIVE on SONY TEN 2, SONY TEN 1 (English), SONY TEN 3 (Hindi) & SONY TEN 4 (Tamil & Telugu) channels from April 13, 2022, at 12:30 am IST.
Watch The Top Corner with John Dykes show on SONY TEN 2 channels, SonyLIV, as well as Sony Sports Network’s Facebook and YouTube pages every Thursday at 8:00 pm IST
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