The biggest rivalries that originated in the UEFA Champions League
Rivalries are what makes football exciting. A world with no rivalries, no excitement, nothing to fight for, doesn’t make any sense.
Football has seen some top rivalries notable between Real Madrid and Barcelona in Spain, The Manchester-based clubs in England, The Milan based clubs in Italy.
However, rivalries are not limited to domestic competitions and UEFA Champions League has had its fair share of battles. We take a look at five rivalries, which were ignited in Europe.
#5 PSG vs Barcelona
This is more than just a rivalry. PSG and Barcelona were drawn to face each other in 1994/95, for the first time.
The notable event in this rivalry is when FC Barcelona pinched Ronaldinho from them, and the Brazilian went on to have his best year at Barcelona. PSG and Barcelona have faced each other 8 times in the past decade.
The French-based outfit won only twice. They came close to dumping Barcelona out in 2013 Quarter Finals but Pedro’s late goal helped the Blaugranas qualify on away goals.
The closest the PSG team, ever came to dumping Barcelona out was during the 2016-17 campaign.
The visiting Azulgranas collapsed to a 4-0 defeat at Parc De Princes. Angel Di Maria scored twice and was helped with strikes from Draxler and Cavani.
PSG celebrated their victory in grand fashion, they even started producing a mini-movie named “How we defeated Barcelona”.
French experts, UEFA and football critics, nobody gave Barcelona a chance to win. The odd makers predicted PSG to advance with ease.
What followed at the Camp Nou was perhaps the greatest comeback in Champions League history. Luis Suarez struck early, followed by Kurzawa’s own goal and Lionel Messi’s penalty. Edinson Cavani thought he had struck the final nail in Barca’s coffin.
From the 87th minute, it was Neymar Jr show. The Brazilian curled in a freekick, a penalty and a brilliant assist which Sergi Roberto sealed Barcelona’s comeback in a 6-1 demolition of PSG.
PSG’s inferiority complex didn’t end there. PSG president Nasser Khelaifi blocked all attempts from Barcelona to sign Marco Verratti. In turn, PSG paid the release clause of Neymar without prior negotiations with the Catalan club.
Neymar signed with PSG for a world record fee and an increased salary. Barcelona didn’t feel Neymar’s absence as his departure brought the best from Jordi Alba.
We are still to witness a lot from the two sides in the coming years. Maybe this year itself in the knockouts. It will be great to see these star-studded teams in action.