The Real Football Man

In the first of a weekly column (hopefully I’ll last longer than Harry Redknapp at Birmingham), it’s time for my Real Football Man review of the week.

Bayern Munich are probably asking themselves what is the point after their Champions League departure on Tuesday night. Arturo Vidal had another night to forget after his unfortunate red card at the Santiago Bernabeu, adding to his woeful penalty miss in the first leg.

But the officials are the ones who will come in for the most criticism. If the sending off for Vidal was bad, then the decision to allow Cristiano Ronaldo’s second goal to stand was worse, and if that does not speed up the need the video refereeing then what will?

Real progress with some fortune but the same cannot be said about their cross-city rivals Atletico.

Saul Niguez’s crucial away goal was the final nail in Leicester’s Champions League coffin on Tuesday evening at The King Power.

Diego Simeone’s men could not withstand the Leicester barrage all night, as Jamie Vardy at least got a deserved goal for all his efforts, but English interest in the competition ends for another season. Who at the start of the season would have picked Leicester as the Premier League side that would go the furthest? Not many.

Juventus showed PSG how to defend at The Nou Camp with a textbook defensive performance on Wednesday night, which was certainly one for the purists as Barcelona failed to score, let alone overturn their first leg deficit.

The pressure is now on Luis Enrique with El Clasico looming on Sunday. Defeat in Madrid will surely mean a first La Liga title for Los Blancos since 2012. This is not the way that the Barcelona boss planned on bowing out while in charge of the Catalan giants.

This season’s hipster’s choice Monaco once again showed why so many column inches are being written about them over the past few months. They made small work of Borussia Dortmund across both legs, and any of the other three teams in the Semi Final draw on Friday will want to avoid this young team from Monte Carlo.

Will we see some “hot balls” in the draw? And with keeping the Madrid sides apart until the final, Wales could be having a very Latino flavour all of a sudden as they host the final in early June.

John Terry may well be eyeing up a move to South Wales next season, or China, or America, or West Bromwich Albion. This is going to be one transfer saga that will run and run over the summer, although how much people really care about his next destination remains to be seen.

Harry Redknapp wishes he could have a transfer saga to deal with as he has three matches to save Birmingham’s season. Mr Nice Guy Gianfranco Zola has proved he his Mr Useless Manager, as a run of two wins in twenty-four matches has seen the Italian press the St Andrew’s ejector seat.

In my opinion, I think Zola has looked at the Birmingham derby coming up at the weekend and thought “I’ve made a huge mistake”. If only the Birmingham owners had noticed the same a few months earlier.

Staying in the Championship, although not for long, are Brighton as they secured promotion to the Premier League. The high-flyers also look set to win the league that Newcastle were meant to have wrapped up before Xmas.

Credit goes to Chris Hughton as he picked his group of players up after so many Play-Off Semi Final defeats, but it’s also a warning to any clubs north of the Watford Gap. Soon the Premier League could be a plaything of clubs in the south of the country.

I don’t know about you but I am looking forward to the likes of Plymouth, Portsmouth and Crawley being in the Premier League by the 2021/2022. Soon you’ll be asking, “Dad what’s a Sheffield Wednesday?”

That concludes my whistle-stop tour of what has happened in the world of football, I’ll be back next week. Until then.