“Better late than never,” declared Javier Tebas, the president of La Liga . “At last Uefa is taking decisive measures. Imposing financial fair play rules and punishing financial doping is essential for the future of football. ” For Tebas, this was vindication and also just the start: he has long denounced what he calls “state-clubs”, and he wants moves against PSG too. For others in Spain, the focus was turned more towards the immediate implications, although the news was equally huge: it was front page everywhere, exclamation marks underlining the shock. “City, out of Europe!” said Marca. AS went for “OUT”, in English. “Blow for City: two years without the Champions!” said Sport. “ Jaque al jeque ,” ran the cover of El Mundo Deportivo: check against the sheik.
Whether it is checkmate will depend on the appeal but, as Sport put it, this could “bring the whole castle crumbling down”; “City’s project is in serious danger”. Everywhere, there were photos of Pep Guardiola in a series of concerned poses: head in hands, distant look. The accusations date from before his arrival, of course , but in Spain he remains the image of City and much Was made of what this might mean for him and his players: lists of men who might depart were drawn up, Guardiola at the top of them. “The punishment brings him closer to Juventus,” AS said. And it won’t be long before his footballers are linked to clubs here. It’s easier to fish in a raging river, as they say in Spain.
City’s Champions League ban was front-page news for all of Italy’s leading sports newspapers, and for the biggest – Gazzetta dello Sport – it was the lead story. The pink paper contended that their ban “had shaken world football, not just English football, because this [financial] strategy belongs to more teams than just City”.
Most of all, though, Italy’s sporting media was eager to discuss what it might mean for the future of Guardiola. The manager was linked with Juventus in the summer. The man who got the job instead, Maurizio Sarri, has come under fire after claiming just one win in his last four games.
“The hunt for Guardiola begins,” ran the headline in Corriere dello Sport, but others insist that it started some time ago. “Uefa’s sentence for City was one of the first tiles in the complicated mosaic of the Guardiola to Juventus story,” wrote Radio Sportiva’s Federico Gennarelli on Twitter. “I’m happy that we now know a little more of that truth that [some Italian journalists] tried to report in the summer. Making mistakes, perhaps, but always with humility. ”