There was plenty to be said about Liverpool’s defeat to Real Madrid, the trophy parade that followed, but also around the debacle that unfolded in the build-up to the Champions League final at the Stade de France. Elsewhere, Nottingham Forest are up, Ralf Rangnick has left Man Utd, and Sadio Mane could kick-start a merry-go-round.
LIVERPOOL LOSS BRINGS JOY TO TOO MANY
Perhaps it is just the exhaustion of a season that still isn’t over yet (thanks, Nations League), but it was difficult not to feel exasperated by the weekend that was on Football Twitter.
Suddenly Mohamed Salah was a bottler, Jurgen Klopp a fraud, and this Liverpool side a complete failure for playing every match possible this season and coming so close to the quadruple. And don’t get us started on the trophy parade… For just two trophies? … Oh, and they’re smiling?! How dare they.
Tribalism has long been part of the game, but it has been exacerbated by social media, and on Saturday it seemed to stretch well beyond the often-innocent joy taken from another club simply losing a match (just search the depressingly frequent “bin dippers” slur on Twitter and see for yourself).
On the debacle that delayed the Champions League final, too, suddenly everyone was an expert, selecting certain pictures or videos of isolated incidents involving a minority to make their point – and yes, the Liverpool fan who snuck his dad in did his own club no favours – while others made baseless claims from their armchair based on the fact that the events unfolding involved a club they do not like.
What appears clear is that, due to the bottleneck, this would have happened to any set of supporters, and before it gets mentioned in retort – entering the Real Madrid end was not exactly easy either.
The thread above from The Mail on Sunday’s Rob Draper lays it all out, as do the myriad accounts from those on the ground, and so expect this to rumble on. An investigation by UEFA appears inevitable, having been called for by both Liverpool FC and the UK Government, while the French sports ministry are set to hold a meeting with European football’s governing body, as well as French Football Association, stadium officials and police to determine how Saturday’s “shambles” unfolded.
It could have been worse, let’s be grateful that it wasn’t.
R E S P E C T
Can’t go a Warm-Up without congratulating Real Madrid, though. What more can be said that hasn’t already? The most remarkable of name-on-the-trophy knockout campaigns, an innate ability to win, and some mind-blowing performances along the way.
‘It was a shambles’ – Robertson criticises organisation of Champions League final
‘Argument is over’ – Ferdinand says Ballon d’Or is now Karim Benzema’s
Record-breaking Ancelotti ‘cannot believe’ Real Madrid success
Oh, and who knew FourFourTwo’s list of the world’s 10 best goalkeepers back in March would lead to a record-breaking display from a man who felt aggrieved to miss out…
It has been quite the journey for Nottingham Forest, and that does not only apply to their 23-year absence from the Premier League, but this campaign alone.
Forest chief executive Dane Murphy set Steve Cooper the simple task of “moving us up the table” having taken over a Forest side rooted to the bottom of the Championship in September, and so it would not be a stretch to suggest promotion was beyond their wildest expectations for this season.
For many Forest are a club who belong in the Premier League, but spare a thought for the club who missed out. Huddersfield had the wretched role of being the third-placed side hoping to earn promotion the hard way, and they will also have felt hard done by after some question refereeing and VAR decisions at Wembley yesterday.
A bitter pill to swallow, after 49 domestic games, but there always has to be a winner and loser in one of the most make-or-break fixtures going.
In tune with the weekend, another moment which seemingly split the footballing community was Manchester United’s announcement that Ralf Rangnick would not take up his consultancy role at the club after all.
On the one side, this U-turn made the club look indecisive and clueless as to their direction going forward, but conversely the fact the now Austria manager will not be remaining is a sign of an even fresher start under Erik ten Hag.
For the sake of weighing in, the latter seems more accurate. The failings of this club’s structure were there for all to see long before Rangnick came in, but he hardly made a strong case to remain in any capacity – while Ten Hag is well within his rights to believe a consultant is not entirely necessary.
Rangnick could yet leave a lasting impact, however. And that is mainly because United sunk to such depths during his interim role (a 38 per cent win ratio compared to Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s 54 per cent), that their issues became further exposed and perhaps, therefore, clearer to address.
United fans will not be holding their breath, however, as further structural changes off the pitch are required to assist Ten Hag and his new players on it. Let’s see what the summer brings, shall we?
IN OTHER NEWS
MANE & THE MERRY-GO-ROUND?
A grumpy-looking Sadio Mane reminds us that transfer season is basically upon us.
Of course, Erling Haaland’s move and Kylian Mbappe’s decision not to has been the starter, but with a decision from Mane expected imminently, it could spark quite the merry-go-round with Barcelona after Robert Lewandowski and Liverpool reportedly interested in Ousmane Dembele.
That could soothe all the clubs given their players seemingly fancy a new challenge, but expect more factors to come into play over the coming days and weeks.
IN THE CHANNELS
It could be a busy week for the French football authorities. These were the scenes after Saint Etienne were relegated to Ligue 2…
There is a lull, but only for a couple of days, as the international matches get going on Wednesday – with the highlight Scotland vs Ukraine for the right to play Wales and a spot at the World Cup on the line.
In the meantime, enjoy the second week at Roland-Garros on Eurosport and discovery+.