The Champions League is back. Oh mama, how I’ve missed it.
There’s something about the sound of ‘the chaaaaaaaampions’ belting out of a stadium sound system that makes everything in life that extra bit exciting. Frankly, I could do with a button on my desk that just played it at will.
You know, exactly like Donald Trump’s Diet Coke button, but pressed by a megalomaniacal journalist as opposed to a megalomaniacal world leader, minus all the bigotry and fake news, contrary to reports from the Facebook comments section.
The Champions League is back
As I crawl my way out of bed at 5am and march towards the kettle feeling like I’ve been mown down by a train, I could at least turn to my side, see the Champions League button and set off that beautiful sound.
Two seconds after contemplating the meaning of life itself into a mug of instant coffee, I’d be swanning out the kitchen like the second coming of Cristiano Ronaldo ready to rescue my team from a 6-0 deficit.
Don’t get me wrong, realising that I have more unread emails than chromosomes will bring me crashing back down to the Earth, but the sweet sound of Tony Britten’s anthem is enough to make the hardest bugger feel like a champion for two seconds.
So, as I smash through the Yellow Pages in a desperate bid to find an electrician wild enough to install a completely arbitrary button, let’s look back on the week that saw that sweet, sweet sound hit our television sets again.
And with Champions League moments aplenty straddling our latest picks for the GIVEMESPORT Awards, I don’t doubt for a second that it will inspire you to buy a button of your own, so be sure to check out the winners down below:
Goal of the week
Marcel Sabitzer vs Hertha Berlin
If this had more whip on it, Christian Grey would be calling up Sabitzer for tips. Quite how the RB Leipzig magician managed to make the ball swirl and wobble quite like this is beyond us, but it made for a truly outrageous strike.
Besides, it’s not as though the competition for wonder goals has been poor this week with Erling Braut Haaland scoring a remarkable scissor kick during Borussia Dortmund’s win at Schalke.
Player of the week
Erling Braut Haaland
Speaking of which, you know Haaland had an impressive week when he’s done enough to oust Kylian Mbappe’s hat-trick at Camp Nou and two penalty saves in two minutes from Cardiff City’s Dillon Phillips.
However, they couldn’t hold a candle to Haaland’s double-goal performances against Sevilla and Schalke, astonishingly elevating his record for Dortmund to 43 strikes in 43 appearances. Mental.
Manager of the week
Look, it’s about time we paid homage to one of the greatest managers of all time because what he’s managed to achieve at Manchester City in arguably the most chaotic Premier League season ever is simply stunning.
The Citizens could make history by winning the quadruple in 2021 and their superb wins away at Everton and Arsenal this week did little to suggest otherwise, giving Guardiola ten points’ worth of breathing space at the Premier League summit.
Game of the week
Royal Antwerp 3-4 Rangers
It was going to take a pretty chaotic game to dislodge Bayern Munich’s 3-3 thriller with Arminia from the top of the podium, but that’s exactly what happened with Rangers’ heroic comeback in the Europa League.
Finding themselves 3-2 down in Belgium with just seven minutes to play, Steven Gerrard’s men pulled the rabbit out of the hat with goals from Ryan Kent and Borna Barišić as Abdoulaye Seck picked up a red card.
Outrageous skill of the week
Matias Suarez vs Rosario Central
The competition for world-class skills this week was incredibly tough with Mason Mount’s magic feet against Southampton and Leroy Sane’s stellar assist at Eintracht Frankfurt coming within a whisker of glory.
But it was the uniqueness of Suarez’s ‘chest nutmeg’ for River Plate that saw him back the plaque, turning what would ordinarily be a routine first touch into a moment of brilliance that made a fool out of Joaquín Laso.
Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane
Yes, yes, I know that Liverpool players aren’t alone in going down easily this week – besides, even Marcus Rashford came under scrutiny – and that Salah, in particular, has become an easy target for ‘diving’ accusations.
But surely even the most stubborn of Kopites would have a hard time defending how dramatically Salah and Mane hit the deck during their defeat in the Merseyside Derby. I know it was windy, but geez.
Strangest punditry of the week
Steve Nicol on Liverpool
But it’s not all doom and gloom for Liverpool because they did secure a fantastic Champions League victory at RB Leipzig in midweek. Not that Reds-player-cum-pundit Nicol saw it coming, mind.
That’s because the 59-year-old did his best impression of Tim Sherwood by going on a rant about not being able to see a single scenario in which Liverpool could possibly win the game before, well, they won the game.
Disasterclass of the week
Cristiano Ronaldo vs FC Porto
Right, ok, before this selection sees me end up in witness protection, I’m well aware that Ronaldo is the greatest player in Champions League history and yes, Barcelona would get the nod over him if I was including teams.
But by Ronaldo’s astronomical standards at the sharp end of Europe’s premier competition, his display at the Estádio do Dragão was simply woeful, going viral for a number of embarrassing moments along the way.
Tweet of the week
Sevilla after losing to Borussia Dortmund
There have been some belters on Twitter this week, we won’t lie to you, but the memes of Gerard Pique struggling desperately to catch Mbappe during Barcelona’s 4-1 defeat to PSG have tickled us the most.
And we’re not sure anyone has done it better than Sevilla, who gave a wonderfully tongue-in-cheek reaction to their Dortmund loss by suggesting that their spouse – otherwise known as the Europa League – was reeling them in.
Craziest bet of the week
Biggest accumulators ever
Ladies and gentleman, I’m sorry, I’ve let you down. It’s been a quiet week in the world of bonkers bets, so we’re instead turning our attention to a recent study on the biggest accumulator wins in history.
The entire list is pretty mental, so be sure to check it out here, but the sheer brashness of a £100 punt on 6,542/1 odds for the gold medal is simply outrageous, pocketing £650,000 winnings that might never be beaten.
Sunday League award
Mexican referee’s last-ditch clearance
Now, we’ve seen some crazy moments from referees in our time, but we’re not sure any of them have been quite as head-scratching as what Mexican official Óscar Macías did during Cruz Azul vs Toluca at the weekend.
Because if there’s been a more Sunday League moment than a referee accidentally making a last-ditch clearance to prevent a Liga MX goal in the world of football this week, we simply haven’t seen it.
Richarlison mocking Liverpool fans
It’s fair to say that Everton were pretty chuffed with their first win at Anfield since 1999 on Saturday – more on that in a second – but few more so than Richarlison, who bagged the opening goal on the night.
And clearly he was exorcising the demons of his red card during the last Merseyside Derby because he chose to celebrate his moment of revenge by, well, taking the mickey out of Liverpool fans on Twitter. As you do.
Roy Keane award
Everton players’ dressing room celebrations
If anyone saw Roy Keane’s reaction to Aston Villa going wild in the dressing room when they avoided Premier League relegation, then you’ll know that the Irishman will have been seething with Everton at the weekend.
I can imagine it right now: Keane shaking his head; cheeks pervaded with the redness of anger and mercilessly spitting out: “Look at the state of that. Mammoths were roaming the streets when this last happened. They should be ashamed.”
Urban Dictionary of the week
Word: lawsofthegame (verb)
Meaning: To suck the soul out of something
In a sentence: I knew the Premier League had been lawsofthegamed when Trent Alexander-Arnold conceded a penalty for getting kneed in the head and accidentally tripping up Dominic Calvert-Lewin at the weekend.
Managerial innuendo of the week
“I like your moustache, Fred. You’re so attractive and sexy.”
In the long and illustrious history of the ‘Managerial innuendo of the week’, never before has something fallen into our lap so effortlessly. The something in Guardiola’s lap most certainly wasn’t falling, mind.
TV Burp award
The most unexpectedly football-themed Glastonbury performance of the week
The Premier League is a brighter place for Jesse Lingard rediscovering his form. You love to see it.
No luck with the button
Oh, hey there, welcome to the end. I hope that the latest whacky and wild endeavours of the GMS Awards have geed you up for the business end of the 2020/21 season.
Sadly, it turned out that getting a Champions League button installed is going to cost me at least £1,000, which isn’t really feasible considering that, per Joe Blogs in my Twitter DMs, I spend that much on Lionel Messi posters each week.
Then again, sending Ronaldo the ‘disasterclass of the week’ award is hardly going to change things, so bugger it, I’m admitting to the world that no, this isn’t GIVEMESPORT and no, I’m not Kobe Tong.
It’s been so hard keeping this secret close to my chest all these years that I couldn’t keep it in any longer. So, this is Lionel Penaldo signing out for GIVEMEMESSI, I’ll see you next week, don’t GOAT changing.