By Michelle Vasquez
This year will mark the 64th season of Europe’s premier club football tournament. UEFA Champions League is as know as the Union of European Football Associations. It is one of the most prestigious football competitions in the world and the most prestigious club competition in European soccer.
The tournament was first called the European Cup and began in 1955. In 1992, it was rebranded as the Champions League. It has expanded over the years with a total of 78 soccer clubs entering in 2015. Qualifying begins in the summer with three rounds and then a play-off taking place before 32 teams begin the group stage starting in September.
The group stage involves eight groups of four teams, with each club playing everyone else in that group home and away. The top two sides in each group move on to the round of 16 and the start of the knockout phase. The round of 16, quarter-finals and semi-finals are played over two legs, home and away, while the final is hosted by a stadium which is selected almost two years in advance.
The final will be played at the Wanda Metropolitan in Madrid, Spain.
The competition has been won by 22 clubs. Real Madrid is the most successful club in the tournament’s history that has won it thirteen times. Real Madrid are also reigning champions; they defeated Liverpool 3-1 in the 2018 final match. Real Madrid become the first team ever in the Champions League era to win the title for three years in a row.
The Champions League are currently on the semi-final round. Giving the teams two games- one home and one away, to determine which will go forward to the final. This year there are eight team that are fighting for the title. Tottenham, Manchester City, Ajax, Juventus, Liverpool, Porto, Manchester United, and Barcelona are all in the Quarter-finals.
On April 16-17 the last quarter final round took place; which leaves one home and one away game of Barcelona against Liverpool and Tottenham against Ajax. The four teams will play in the semi-finals on April 30 and May 7. The final match will be held on June 1.
Feheim Mian, a senior business administration major, said “[Since] the age of 15 years old I have been a fan of soccer and I love to watch soccer games whenever I get the chance to do so. My favorite soccer team is Manchester United. I’d love to see Manchester United take the win for this year’s Champions League tournament.”
Mian stated his preference for European soccer club over the U.S. soccer clubs, because European clubs have better teams and the performance of the players is better so there is more excitement and competitiveness which causes the fans be on the edge during the whole games.
Matt Hayes, a senior accounting major said, “I would like to see Barcelona win…because it is my friend’s favorite and my friends are into soccer and have been keeping up with the Champions League tournament.”
Marlen Reyes, a senior Spanish major said, “I like Leo Messi; he is a good soccer player. I started watching soccer when I was 10 years old and it is a thing I do with my family. But since I started going to UMW it has been hard to catch up with what games are happening and what soccer clubs are at the top of the list.”
Edwin Baca Lopez, a junior accounting major said, “Barcelona has been doing a good job this year [in the] Champions League tournament. I will love to see them in the final game day. And also because they are my favorite team and Messi is the best player worldwide to me. The way the team is in sync with each other is what makes Barcelona. Every player is connected in the field from the goalie to the defenders, midfielders up to the forward. Without talking to one another they somehow manage to create an unique play and make a goal .”