Never Doubt Ronaldo and Manager Firings? – Notes from the UCL R16 Second Legs.


Cristiano Ronaldo led Juve into the last eight of the Champions League 🏆 after scoring a hat-trick against Atletico Madrid in Turin. Epic!! 👏 . (AFP/Getty Images)

The Ronaldo Effect


When the Champions League gets to the knockout rounds, it only means one thing. Cristiano Ronaldo will come alive and prove why he’s in the conversation for the GOAT. With Juventus down 2-0 against Atletico Madrid going into the second leg, CR7 of course led his team to victory with a hat trick, including the winning penalty in the 86th minute, to advance to the quarterfinals 3-2 on aggregate.


It is truly remarkable how this guy always gets it done for his clubs. 5 Champions League trophies across two decades, with 2 clubs in different countries is pretty tough to beat, especially with having won three in a row. And then imagine if he wins a fourth in a row this year with Juventus?


I don’t know if this is legal or ethical, but I think Ronaldo should breed potential offspring much like they do with champion racehorses. Women, or men with willing family members for that matter, would be able to pay Ronaldo to mate with them in the hopes of producing a child with supreme genes and a better shot at future stardom.


Ronaldo has scored 25 goals in 33 career appearances against Atletico Madrid (4 hat-tricks). Super!! 👏 (Getty Images)

And I’m not talking artificial insemination. I’m talking about the real deal. Full mount and hip thrusting just as he did after the game in celebration mocking Diego Simeone’s cojones.


Some thoroughbreds are even filmed mating as evidence for the owner to pay the stud fee after the offspring’s birth. So, could Ronaldo make millions impregnating hundreds if not thousands during the off-season and also license or sell the videos as porn? This is an incredible business opportunity.


As of 2018, Ronaldo reportedly brings in $750,000 for an ad-based Instagram post that he sends to over 130 million followers. If he posted an ad for his seed, how many people would inquire and pay for CR’s D in the V? I think a lot.


There’s seven billion people in the world and he plays the most popular sport. How many women would gamble on this? 200? 1,000? Would a seminal ad post’s revenue surpass a branded ad post’s earnings?


I think it’s possible.


(ALESSANDRO DI MARCO_EPA-EFE_REX)

And if that’s possible, could Ronaldo conceivably quit playing and host bedtime rodeos full time? His marketing people have a huge opportunity on their hands.


When people say Ronaldo is from another planet, I disagree. He’s from earth, just a different species. He’s a finely tuned racehorse with a million dollar meat stick who happens to be a professional soccer player.


Athletes take out insurance policies all the time on their arms or legs or bodies in case they get injured. Ronaldo might be the first athlete to get an insurance policy on his genitals.


Liverpool For The Double?


Liverpool overcame Bayern Munich on Wednesday night (Image: Andrew Powell)

Thankfully for Jurgen Klopp we aren’t in WWII because history tells us how good Germans do fighting on two fronts. Upon taking his team to his homeland to face personal rivals Bayern Munich, Klopp had a big ask on his hands. Liverpool had lost 5 straight UCL games away from Anfield going back to last year and also didn’t boast the best away record this year domestically.


But “what have you done for me recently” is the only thing that matters as the Reds beat Bayern 3-1 in Baravaria with two goals from Sadio Mane either side of half time and with a header knocked in by Virgil Van Dijk. The lone goal for the home side even came courtesy of an own goal by the English side’s Joel Matip so Liverpool scored all the goals on the night.


Liverpool remain in the hunt for Premier League and Champions League glory as of now, but their attack still needs to answer some questions. Mane has been on fire, but Salah needs a new alternator as his engine is clicking and not really firing as of late. Firmino had two goals at the weekend and work his ass off against the Germans making run after run and also helping out a lot defensively.


But they’ve lacked consistency in attack which was such a strong point last year and what made them so impressive and exciting so I’m not quite sold on them winning either competition. Fighting for one trophy is hard enough. Fighting on two fronts doesn’t always go so well, but thankfully this battle is going into the summer and not the winter for the German manager and his brigade.


Sadio Mane scored a brace against Bayern at the Allianz Arena. (Getty Images)

On the flip side, this year’s defense is vastly superior to that of last year’s UCL runners up squad so Liverpool have a chance. However good their defense may be, I’m not buying Liverpool after one good road victory.


City Make a Mockery of Schalke


The Quadruple is in sight for Manchester City and they don’t need a pirate’s telescope to see it. Pep’s team destroyed Schalke 7-0 at the Etihad and they still have a host of injuries including De Bruyne, Fernandinho, Mendy, and Stones, although the Englishman may not be out much longer.


City will now wait for their quarter-final opponents during Friday's UCL draw as they remain on course for an unprecedented quadruple. [AFP_Getty]

Schalke earned their way into competition based on last year’s results, but they had no business being on the same field with City as the Premier League leaders ripped them apart from all angles with ease.


Simple as that.


On another note, I don’t really believe in FIFA conspiracy theories but this might be the most confusing of all. City got easy draws in the domestic cups in England which led to winning the League Cup and having Swansea from the second tier this weekend in the FA Cup Quarterfinals. Then in Europe, they got Schalke who was by far the weakest remaining team in the competition as they currently float just above the relegation zone in Germany.


Bernardo Silva is all smiles. (AFP/Getty Images)

So one could argue that it’s all rigged in City’s favor to make more money for the rich teams by FIFA and the FA. And in order to cover it up and throw off the scent, FIFA issued a statement of investigating City again for their previous violations of Financial Fair Play.


Basically, FIFA is secretly trying to help City get easy draws and win the Champions League, but then also investigating the club as a ruse. I don’t buy any of it, but I’m sure some people in the Twitterverse are arguing it right now.


For Pep and his team, none of this matters. They just need to play the teams on the schedule and continue winning. Even without some key players, they look up to the challenge of the Quadruple and talented enough to do it.


Messi Leads Barcelona Again


Lionel Messi. (AFP/Getty)

After a surprising 0-0 draw in France a few weeks ago, Barcelona needed to win the game outright in order to advance and did so with a 5-1 victory. Messi opened the scoring with a Panenka and provided the insurance goal with his side leading 2-1 in the second half.


Inevitably, Messi’s performance got called a “response” to Ronaldo’s and the two most definitely motivate each other, but this would’ve happened with or without Ronaldo’s hat trick for Juventus. No disrespect to Lyon as they do have a talented team, but holding Barcelona to no goals at home was as good as it would get for the french side. No one can really contain the Argentine for that long, and especially at the Camp Nou with elimination on the line.


As always, La Pulga turned on the jets and took Barcelona that much closer to the Champions League trophy when they needed it most. They may have won La Liga in the past few years, but arch rival Real Madrid won the more prestigious Champions League and bragging rights. With Los Blancos already knocked out of Europe now though, Barcelona have to see this as their opportunity to take back the throne both in Spain and on the continent.


Manager Carousel


Of the four losing teams in this week’s set of second legs, three of them could foreseeably fire their managers. The easiest is Domenico Tedesco whose Schalke side stood in front of their traveling supporters after the 7-0 defeat and just looked at them. No applause, no hands together asking for forgiveness, just standing in silence, shocked and dismayed.


Niko Kovac. AFP/Getty Images

Tedesco’s side sits only four points above the relegation zone in the Bundesliga and he’s been on the hot seat pretty much all season. Despite their top four finish last year, nothing this year has gone right for the Royal Blues and it’s likely the young Italian manager will leave the club soon.


Niko Kovac has had his managerial position called into questions this year at times as well and it will most certainly happen again after Bayern’s lackluster performances in the Round of 16. The German giants are finally on top of the league, but they trailed Borussia Dortmund for a while domestically only now regaining first place due to Dortmund’s own downturn.


Of course Kovac’s job entails winning the the domestic league, but their main focus is the Champions League and since that dream ended, will the Croatian stay in charge? Bayern, whether aging or not, hasn’t impressed this year or looked like a world class, high performing team. It’s difficult to justify keeping him after exiting Europe so early and struggling to win the Bundesliga after winning it so easily for the past more than half decade.


Over in Spain, has Diego Simeone’s time at Atletico come to end? His tenure started so brightly with Atleti as they won the Europa League, a Copa Del Rey, La Liga title, and reached the Champions League Final in his first two and a half seasons. But since then, it’s been stagnation and a heap of tough pills to swallow.


Diego Simeone's "balls" celebration. [BT Sport]

That first Champions League final in 2013/14 was the first of four successive years losing to city rival Real Madrid and Cristiano Ronaldo in Europe which included a second final. After that, last year they didn’t even make it to the knockout stages, although they did win the Europa League.


And now this year, Simeone got knocked out by Ronaldo and his new club, Juve, in the last 16. Winning the Europa League one year and going to the round of 16 the next usually isn’t a negative for a club, but Simeone started so brightly and has either regressed to the mean or not improved his team or as a coach. No matter the round or the club, Simeone just can’t get past Cristiano Ronaldo.


Is he the man to take Atletico Madrid to another league or cup trophy, or even another Champions League final and ultimately a UCL win? It’s hard to say as firing him just for the sake of firing him doesn’t necessarily help due to the managers available.


Does Antonio Conte make sense? Another defensive, rigid, animated manager? Can he get them to the promised land? Does Pochettino, with a completely different style, go there since Madrid passed on him and Manchester United most likely will?


Antonio Conte

Simeone did a great job in first few years in the Spanish capital and has since stagnated so a change could be on the horizon at the Wanda Metropolitano.


After Champions League elimination last week, Roma fired Eusebio di Francesco and Real Madrid fired Santi Solari. This week could see the more managers hop on the carousel as Simeone, Kovac, and Tedesco may get fired from their respective clubs.


Written by Drew Pells

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