UEFA is set to report significant changes to the Champions League one week from now however the make-up of this present season’s semi-finalists affirms the degree to which world class club football in Europe has effectively been changed throughout the most recent decade.
Manchester City have gone beyond the quarter-finals for the first time since Pep Guardiola’s appointment as coach in 2016 and their reward is a last-four clash with Paris Saint-Germain.
It is a blockbuster tie and a rare meeting of the two clubs who have led that transformation of European football under the ownership of Abu Dhabi and Qatar respectively.
State wealth from the Middle East has allowed PSG and City to upset football’s old order just as Chelsea to an extent did after being bought by Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich in 2003.
The London club are also into the semi-finals, where they face Real Madrid, the 13-time European champions who are the last ones standing this season among the continent’s grand old clubs.
Real have dominated the Champions League over the last decade along with Barcelona and Bayern Munich. They have won nine of the last 12 European Cups between them.
Madrid were practically level with Barcelona as the club with the highest revenue in the world last season according to analysts Deloitte, and yet there is an argument that they are now the outsiders among the semi-finalists.
Zinedine Zidane has worked wonders with what a few months ago was a tired-looking team in need of an overhaul, their spine comprised of two 35-year-olds in Sergio Ramos and Luka Modric and a 33-year-old Karim Benzema.
“I am proud of what we are doing but we have won nothing yet,” said Zidane on Wednesday