Champions League - 'past failures will be forgetten' - Eurosport writers on the semi-final line-up
With defending champions Bayern Munich out of the way, having been toppled by Paris Saint-Germain, all four sides remaining in the Champions League will fancy their chances of securing glory in Istanbul at the end of May. So who out of PSG, Chelsea, Manchester City and Real Madrid are favourites for European glory?
Neymar of Paris Saint-Germain and teammate Leandro Paredes celebrate their team's victory at full-time after the UEFA Champions League Quarter Final Second Leg match between Paris Saint-Germain and FC Bayern Munich at Parc des Princes on April 13, 2021
At this stage of the tournament, based on the semi-finals, the favourites have to be Real Madrid. I think PSG are a better team football wise and maybe even Manchester City, however when it comes to the semi-final I think Real Madrid have everything to beat Chelsea and make it to the final where they have the right experience to win it again.
PSG and City both are great clubs that have a very difficult task ahead of them. It's difficult for me to bet against Neymar and Kylian Mbappe who I think are the two best players remaining in the tournament. PSG are so hungry to win the Champions League and I think they have all the qualities to make it to the final.
Ibrahim Mustapha (UK)
It's difficult to look beyond Manchester City or Paris Saint-Germain as potential winners and whoever emerges from that tie is likely to be the favourite in the final. Pep Guardiola and City seem determined to win this competition for the first time and avoided a potential slip up in a tough tie against Borussia Dortmund. Much will depend on how they are able to handle Mbappe and Neymar against PSG but after keeping a player like Erling Haaland relatively quiet over two matches, as well as their impressive defensive record in the Premier League, they will feel it is something they are capable of coping with.
There then comes the possible added incentive of 'revenge' against Mauricio Pochettino after that incredible quarter-final defeat to Tottenham two years ago. Equally however, Pochettino will have his eye on going one better than his side's defeat to Liverpool in the final that same year, especially with two of the best players in the world at his disposal this time around. He is also totally clued up about facing, and beating, City from his time in England.
Of course, Chelsea or Real Madrid will be a tough test in the final but either City or PSG will feel they have navigated a more difficult route to Istanbul and will be confident of a first Champions League crown come May 29.
Mbappé, les bras au ciel
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Felix Martin (Spain)
The Spanish perspective is very clear as there's only one king of this competition when it comes to the final knockout stages: Real Madrid.
The semi-final against Chelsea will be hard, and a possible final against a giant like PSG or Manchester City won't be easy, but the truth is the fact Bayern Munich haven’t made it into the semi-finals feels like a relief in Madrid.
Bayern were probably the strongest team to win the Champions League in recent years. Besides that, Zinedine Zidane has led the team to another semi-final without some of his most important players, like Sergio Ramos and Eden Hazard. So who knows what can happen when these two are ready to compete again?
PSG against City can be seen as a final in itself. At the beginning of the competition I was asked who I felt were the two favourites for Champions League glory; one of my selections was PSG. Having Neymar and Mbappe is huge, which to me makes them more dangerous than Manchester City. I'm sure that PSG are hungry for revenge after losing last year's final. And I guess that trying to win this Champions League will be important for Mbappe and Neymar with regard to deciding their futures.
Real-Kapitän Sergio Ramos wurde positiv auf Corona getestet
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Cyril Morin (France)
Barcelona and now Munich, PSG have disposed of two big guns. It’s hard not to consider PSG as the favourites right now for two simple reasons: Mbappe and Neymar.
The duel with Bayern proved that even if PSG don't have the best team, nor the best environment or tactical balance, the strength of their two majors talents is powerful enough to topple the reigning champions.
There was a big doubt with this team but they appear primed to bring their best to the table in the big games.
The team spirit has definitely improved and the past Champions League failures which created a negative environment have been forgotten. Now, everyone believes that it’s possible.
Finally, the presence of Pochettino is another weapon for PSG because he’s able to project a serenity to his team and is capable of winning the tactical battle.
When his dynamic duo are on form, they seem capable of winning games by themselves, even against the best teams such as Bayern.
In France, Real Madrid are seen as the most probable challenger for the final, because of their experience and because Chelsea look like the weakest team remaining in the competition.