Tuesday brings us the start of the 2017-18 Champions League group stage. The world's best loved club tournament is very much the de facto super league, letting even casual fans follow along without making much of a commitment. It's the realm of the super clubs, with the usual suspects doing the usual thing season after season.
For all involved, that's a problem. The group stage tends to produce games that only sorta kinda count. It's a combination of mismatches and games late in the schedule after we already know who is advancing. It's almost like group stages are a bad idea.
This version of the Champions League has a handful of obvious favorites. That list starts with the defending champions Real Madrid. It might just end there as well. Real was left out of Barcelona and PSG's transfer frenzy this summer. They avoided the kind of headlines that most of us grew tired of fairly quickly.
How is PSG spending all of that money? How will Barcelona spend all that money? How will the Premier League clubs keep up? Will Messi sign a new contract? And so on.
Real Madrid spent. They bought Theo Hernandez from the other Madrid team for $30m. Danilo joined Manchester City for a little more than that. Chelsea spent a little over twice as much buying Alvaro Morata. Did Real Madrid intent to bank over $90m from this summer's transfer market? Good question. A better one is whether or not it will cause them any problems at all in Europe this Fall.
Also in the soccer news, Mix Diskerud and IFK lost 3-1 at Djurgarden. Trailing from the 18th minute, Mikael Boman equalized a minute into stoppage time. Djurgarden added goals in the 52nd and 54th minutes. Danny Williams was on the bench for Huddersfield Town's 2-0 loss at West Ham.
FC Yahoo's Henry Bushnell on the Premier League's chances in Europe. ESPN FC's Julien Laurens argues against overlooking the other Ligue 1 teams in European competitions. The Guardian's look at the attacks for the Champions League contenders.
90 Min provides perspective for Aston Villa CEO Keith Wyness's "Villa Engine". Inside World Football's Andrew Warshaw updates UEFA's look into how PSG rebuilt this summer and the Financial Fair Play issues. Goal.com's Mark Doyle on the type of message UEFA investigating PSG sends. The NY Times' Tariq Panja relays the England FA's concerns about cybersecurity and the World Cup.
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