European Super League: Gundogan labels UEFA's new Champions League format 'the lesser of two evils'

By Sports Desk April 22, 2021

Manchester City star Ilkay Gundogan has pleaded with UEFA to think more about player workloads after changes were made to the Champions League.

On Sunday, City were one of 12 leading clubs to announce their intention to join the European Super League – a breakaway competition with a closed-shop element.

By Tuesday evening, City were the first team to officially confirm their withdrawal from that league, with the other English teams swiftly following suit amid widespread criticism and pressure from fellow clubs, UEFA, politicians, the Premier League and the Football Association.

Atletico Madrid, Inter and Milan have also withdrawn, with Real Madrid, Barcelona and Juventus the other teams who signed up to the project.

Sunday's reports and subsequent announcement of the 12-team proposal came a day ahead of UEFA confirming changes to the format of the Champions League.

From 2024, there will be 36 teams featured in the tournament, with each club guaranteed a minimum of 10 games.

While the European Super League has taken much of the flack, the Champions League alterations would also seemingly guarantee more dominance to the bigger teams, while also congesting an already packed fixture schedule, something which Gundogan is not on board with.

"With all the Super League stuff going on... can we please also speak about the new Champions League format?" the Germany international tweeted on Thursday.

"More and more and more games, is no one thinking about us players? The new UCL format is just the lesser of the two evils in comparison to the Super League.

"The UCL format right now works great and that is why it's the most popular club competition in the world – for us players and for the fans."

City have progressed to the Champions League semi-finals this season, for only the second time in their history.

One of the proposed sanctions against the 12 clubs by UEFA was the possibility of banning them from its competitions.

It remains to be seen what punishment, if any, the teams will receive from UEFA or their domestic leagues after the attempted breakaway.

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    "We definitely want to keep Erling with us next season. You can see his value, you saw how committed he is last Saturday against Leipzig, with joy.

    "Besides we still have it in our own hands, we just have to win twice more now. We have managed the club solidly for so many years, when we go into the second or third year of the coronavirus, then we have to take out a few loans at some point we will pay them back.

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    "It's painful. I know what the headlines are like now… We still have two Bundesliga games that are not that pleasant. I'm not thinking about my move [to Bayern Munich] now.

    "I'm proud of the boys. "We weren't the worse team, we just scored fewer goals. Dortmund makes a lot out of a little."

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