This season’s Champions League semi-finals will see some of the most accomplished managers go head-to-head in two matches that promise to be riveting encounters.
As these four men and their teams prepare for the biggest games of their season the rest of the football world are eagerly anticipating the most intriguing battles for the honour of contesting Europe’s most coveted prize.
Jose Mourinho versus Diego Simeone will be a match that will see the sensei of match-winning tactics pit his wits against the prodigy of match-winning game plans. Both Mourinho and Simeone will make history in this semi-final tie because it will be a record eighth semi-final for Mourinho and a first semi-final Champions League semi-final for Simeone and Atletico Madrid.
However, both men’s ambitious nature will perhaps lead to them achieving an even bigger “first” i.e. Mourinho will be intending to add another chapter to his illustrious career by becoming the first manager to win the Champions League with three different teams, whilst Simeone will be vying to become the first manager to lead Atletico Madrid to a historical first Champions League final.
Across the city will be Pep Guardiola v Carlo Ancelotti, who will also both be competing to achieve unrivalled firsts. Guardiola is looking to top off Bayern Munich’s impressive season by leading them to the first ever successful retention of a Champions League title and Ancelotti will be looking to spear Real Madrid to claiming the elusive tenth Champions League crown. The question is who will come out on top?
The answer is best summed up by Simeon, who ahead of Atletico’s first duel with Chelsea aptly asserted: “In football, it isn’t always the best that win, but the ones who believe they will win.”
This season’s Champions League finalists are likely to be determined by the one prevailing quality of all great sides - unrelenting conviction.
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