The rescheduled Champions League last-16 draw has enraged Real Madrid, who have turned this into the latest battleground in their ongoing war with UEFA.
Before the draw had to be redone, Los Blancos were assigned to play Benfica. They were then paired with Paris Saint-Germain. The frustration at the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu is understandable, ranging from a relatively favourable draw, with due respect to the club currently third in the Liga Portugal Bwin, to a match against old foe Lionel Messi, transfer target Kylian Mbappe, and the rest of their well-paid teammates.
Since PSG’s rise to become one of the world’s wealthiest sports organizations, thanks to Qatar’s financial backing, and especially since the Mbappe saga, a fierce rivalry has developed between Real Madrid and PSG – old money versus new, a traditional European powerhouse versus a new pretender.
Not only has Real Madrid been dealt a more difficult draw than expected, but the combination of UEFA and their allies PSG adds salt to the wound.
Nasser Al-Khelaifi, the president of the French club, is an ally of UEFA against Florentino Perez and his European Super League plans. PSG was in favor of kicking Real Madrid out of the Champions League ahead of Los Blancos’ match against Chelsea last season.
Real Madrid and Paris Saint-Germain will meet on the pitch for the first time after trading blows off the pitch. Los Blancos, on the other hand, argued that their first tie draw against Benfica should have been allowed to stand because it had no bearing on the rest of the draw.
Real Madrid are said to be even more enraged behind closed doors than they are revealing publicly, with terms like ‘scandal’ and ‘disgrace’ being thrown around. This may be the final chapter in Real Madrid’s war with UEFA, but it is far from over.