Alongside the righteous anger that helped bring about its rapid demise, there were multiple moments of hilarity to accompany the fleetingly brief existence of the European Super League.

By Wednesday, when Real Madrid president Florentino Perez once again went in to bat for his pet project and aired his ever-tenuous grasp on reality, the whole thing had gone a bit Monty Python.

"If you think the Super League is dead, you're absolutely wrong," he told El Laguaro

The Super League is no more, Florentino! It has ceased to be! This is a late Super League! Stiff, bereft of life!

As events spun rapidly away from the control of Perez, Andrea Agnelli and the other arch-schemers associated with the 12 teams signed up to the ill-fated enterprise, it was undeniably rousing to see players, coaches and supporters united in the same aim, speaking with one emphatic voice.

It begs the question of how this sense of common purpose can now be harnessed to tackle the ills of football that brought us to this moment of defining crisis.

Champions League reform

Perez described the Champions League format as "obsolete", which was a little rich given the reforms to UEFA's flagship competition that were signed off this week – a revamp Juventus president Agnelli described as "close to ideal" and "beautiful" as recently as last month – share some common features with the Super League plans.

Teams will be guaranteed more matches in an expanded group stage, while two spots are reserved for sides who have the highest club coefficients of those who have failed to qualify, an element widely viewed as a move to protect ailing European giants against the consequences of short-term failure.

UEFA's arrival at the so-called Swiss model for the round-robin phase was understandable as the latest move to placate the super clubs, safeguarding their income and averting the prospect of a breakaway.

Since that happened anyway and failed spectacularly, what impetus remains for the Swiss model? Why not consider supporter-friendly alternatives that cater to a greater number of clubs from outside the elite?

The six Premier League clubs, Madrid, Barcelona, Atletico Madrid, Juve, Inter and Milan all gave up their European Club Association memberships to join the Super League. Their collective clout has not been less significant for decades.

Paris Saint-Germain chief Nasser Al-Khelaifi has replaced Agnelli as ECA chairman, but a new hastily convened executive board also features Dariusz Mioduski of Legia Warsaw and Aki Riihilahti of HJK Helsinki. What might a Champions League giving more consideration to those kind of clubs look like?

The fan fantasy of straight knockout in the style of the old European Cup is never going to happen for a number of reasons, but expansion could still bring more interest and fewer dead rubbers.

Say, for example, the four-team group format remained, but entry was opened to 48 clubs. The top two from 12 groups progress to a round of 32, along with the best eight third-placed teams.

This arrangement is to be used in the expanded World Cup and has come in for its fair share of criticism – it is a lot of games to lose just a third of the participants – but would generally keep qualification for the knockout rounds open to more teams for longer.

For the purists, the four-pot system could be loosened into one recognising 12 seeds for the group stage, with seedings abandoned altogether when straight knockouts get underway.

Share the wealth

Financial motivations obviously drove the Super League plot, Perez pleading poverty on Madrid's behalf entirely in line with its other grasps for PR success.

"UEFA and its member associations believe in a truly European model that is founded on open competitions, solidarity and redistribution to ensure the sustainability and development of the game for the benefit of all and the promotion of European values and social outcomes," the governing body said in a statement decrying the Super League.

There is a real opportunity to make good on this vision because the teams who had been demanding an ever-greater slice of the pie stormed away from the table in such a huff they left all their cutlery behind.

The trickle-down benefit of Champions League money has sometimes been hard to spot, not only with a parade of usual suspects progressing to the latter stages each year, but also across a host of Europe's less-celebrated domestic leagues, where a club benefitting from UEFA prize money has been able to dominate at home with few notable challengers. Shakhtar Donetsk in Ukraine and BATE Borisov in Belarus are examples of this.

Equitable distribution across the wider structure of European football can definitely be encouraged to the good of all, something certainly true in the Premier League.

The vitriolic reaction to the Super League in England means the big six can be told with a straight face that they need the other 14 more so than the other way around.

Demands for the six to be docked points and fined heavily certainly serve a palpable sense of hurt and betrayal. But if, for example, Manchester City began 2021-22 on -10 points with the rest of the breakaway bunch, they would still probably be favourites to win the title.

That speaks of a deck unacceptably stacked against other teams and this is what needs to change. Distributing Premier League television income equally 20 ways, or even a less radical split, would effect more lasting change than any punitive measures against the big six. Again, their hand has rarely been weaker so the time is now.

Empower fans

Bayern Munich's absence from the Super League rebels, as reigning European champions, was noteworthy but hardly surprising.

Germany's vaunted 50+1 model, where fans hold a majority of voting rights when set against commercial investors in their clubs, is not a one-way ticket to utopia. If it was, Bayern would not be on the brink of cantering to a ninth successive Bundesliga title.

However, it makes Bayern joining a breakaway that might otherwise be in their interests virtually impossible. The cringing mea culpas embarked upon by John Henry, Ferran Soriano and others this week would not have been necessary had they simply been required to consult fans in the first place.

Barcelona and Madrid's "socio" models are also an example of member ownership, but outside of presidential elections, fan power is negligible. Perhaps there will be moves to change that in the aftermath of this humiliation, but once more, the febrile atmosphere in England suggests the greatest appetite for change.

The Super League crisis brought about government involvement in the UK and, while aping 50+1 might be impractical, enshrining a requirement of meaningful fan representation at clubs in law suddenly feels like a possibility.

Make the game affordable for youngsters

With or without this, the Premier League showing gratitude to the people who played a huge role in saving their competition is a must. Ticket prices have to come down to widen access to the game, particularly among younger fans.

Entirely in line with establishment executives of his stripes, the 74-year-old Perez has done an awful lot of talking at the much-discussed 18-24 demographic, using them as a faceless example to justify his self-interested schemes.

Young people are bored of football, you see. Computers have turned their brains into cheese and maybe we need shorter games for their dwindling attention spans.

Perhaps, or maybe a generation priced out of football by high admission prices and subscription television packages are less inclined to engage with a game telling them to show us your money or shove off.

Getting young fans through the turnstiles when they reopen has never felt more important. This week there was a big enough mass opposition to say, "No! Not on our watch!". If football fails to nurture the next generation it will not have the same frontline defence the next time the foundations of the sport are challenged.

Reformed major competitions, through which there is a more equitable distribution of resources across a sport where fans of all ages are accommodated and given a voice will not be an easy vision to realise. Now the unifying big bad of the Super League is slain, whatever Perez says, conflicting and splintering interests will return.

But this unquestionably is not a moment to be squandered as football's flirtation with nuclear disaster casts the game in a new light.

Florentino Perez continued his staunch defence of the European Super League on Wednesday, despite the proposed breakaway competition having crumbled before it started.

Real Madrid president Perez had been appointed as the chairman of the competition, which was announced with 12 founding teams and to widespread criticism on Sunday.

Perez spoke on Monday about a need to change football, with clubs struggling financially in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, while he also cited a lack of interest in the game from younger generations.

Yet his words did little to appease the furore and, on Tuesday, the six English clubs involved in the competition all pulled out amid pressure from the Premier League, Football Association (FA), UEFA and the UK government.

The owners of Liverpool, Manchester United, Arsenal and Manchester City all offered apologies to their fans for their part in the plans. 

Atletico Madrid, Inter, Milan and Juventus subsequently pulled out on Wednesday, albeit Perez has claimed the latter two remain committed.

Yet Perez insists he will not let the proposals die, and is adamant that there must be drastic reform to football, maintaining the European Super League was put together as a plan to save the game.

Speaking on the El Laguaro radio show following Madrid's win over Cadiz, Perez said: "We were working last night until late. We have been working many years on this project. We have not explained it very well, perhaps.

"They have not given us a chance either. Some do not want anything to happen. It cannot be that in England, the six lose money, and 14 make money. In Spain the top three lose money, and the others make money. It cannot continue – at the moment the rich are those who are losing money.

"I am a bit sad, disappointed. We have been working three years on this project, on fighting the current financial situation in Spanish football. You cannot touch LaLiga, so you look for more money midweek and the Champions League format is obsolete.

"I have never seen aggression greater on the part of the president of UEFA, it was orchestrated, it surprised us all. Insults and threats, as if we had killed football. 

"We are just working on saving football. We have worked very hard on something that would satisfy everyone.

"There was a campaign, totally manipulated, that we were going to finish the national leagues. That we were ending football, it was terrible. But we were working for football to survive.

"If you think the Super League is dead, you're absolutely wrong."

Perez was also bullish in the face of UEFA and FIFA's condemnation.

"Reality is reality. Look at the TV records, and how many people watch big games, and how many people watch the other games. We have to be real," he said.

"That new Champions League format in 2024 has no meaning. No one can understand it. We need a new format to create more money. Young fans don't watch football, they have other hobbies.

"I talk to [Joan] Laporta, Barcelona are still with us. Juventus did not leave. I'm not scared of FIFA or UEFA."

Concluding, Perez also stated that no club would be able to afford major signings at the end of the season.

"It's impossible to make signings like [Kylian] Mbappe and [Erling] Haaland without the Super League," he said. "Not just for us, there will be no big signings, for any club, without the Super League.

"When I took over, Madrid could not pay its players. We changed the world with the Galactico signings. Now after COVID-19, things have to change again."

Andrea Pirlo will consider no longer placing Cristiano Ronaldo in defensive walls after Juventus conceded from another free-kick in their win against Parma.

Ronaldo covered his face and failed to jump as Gaston Brugman lifted a superb 25-yarder over the five-man Juve wall and past a stationary Gianluigi Buffon.

The home side recovered from that setback thanks to a couple of Alex Sandro goals either side of half-time and a header from fellow defender Matthijs de Ligt.

However, Pirlo was not overly pleased with his side's display and hinted Ronaldo - criticised for turning his back on Sergio Oliveira's extra-time free-kick that saw Porto knock Juve out of the Champions League last 16 - will no longer form part of the wall.

"Unfortunately, these things happen, but we'll have to evaluate it over the next few days," he told Sky Sport Italia.

"We made life difficult for ourselves with that opening goal, then ran a few other risks on set-plays. It's a pity because we'd done well defending from dead-ball situations this season."

Juventus have now conceded goals in each of their last eight Serie A games, which is their longest such streak since May 2019.

Pirlo had a couple of defenders to thank for bailing his side out, with Alex Sandro scoring more goals against Parma in Wednesday's clash than he managed in his previous 115 matches in all competitions.

While the under-fire boss is happy to have come away with all three points, he accepted there is still plenty of room for improvement.

"We were too distant in the first half and that slowed down the passing movement," he said.

"Maybe we don't maintain the same concentration and pace from match to match. Sometimes we are a little slow, we hold onto the ball, allow the opposition to occupy the space and it all grinds to a halt.

"We did well to turn it around and the win was important for our confidence as we played well and needed to take home the three points.

"We have instinctive players, but must also give them directions on the positions to hold. They did it better in the second half than the first, especially with the body positioning to receive the ball."

The win for Juve moves them into third, one point above fourth-placed Atalanta and five ahead of Napoli in fifth, both of whom have a game in hand in a tight battle for Champions League qualification.

It was an important victory in more ways than one for the fallen champions amid a backdrop of unrest over the European Super League proposal, which is now in tatters after the vast majority of teams pulled the plug.

Juve chairman Andrea Agnelli was one of the chief architects of the breakaway plans and Pirlo reiterated his pre-match comments that, while he is not against change, the club must "respect the rules".

"Agnelli explained what was happening, but that the most important thing was to secure a place in the top four to qualify for the Champions League," Pirlo said. "He reassured and encouraged us ahead of this game.

"I already spoke about [the Super League] yesterday, so did the president and the director. We all know the same things. 

"Something has to be changed on the European level, because the ideas that were proposed were good ones, but we are also open to other suggestions and will respect the rules."

Alex Sandro inspired Juventus to a 3-1 comeback win against Parma in Wednesday's Serie A clash as Andrea Pirlo's men put continuing European Super League drama aside.

Juve chairman Andrea Agnelli was one of the chief architects of the breakaway plans, which are now in tatters after the vast majority of the 12 clubs involved withdrew their support.

Qualifying for next season's Champions League is now the Bianconeri's immediate aim - assuming they are not banned - and they dug deep to avoid the ignominy of losing to the league's second-bottom side at the Allianz Stadium.

Left-back Alex Sandro struck either side of half-time after Gaston Brugman had opened the scoring for Parma from a free-kick and Matthijs de Ligt added a third as Juve strengthened their top-four hopes.

Cristiano Ronaldo was back in Juve's line-up after missing Sunday's 1-0 loss to Atalanta through injury and he tested Simone Colombi inside the opening eight minutes.

But it was the visitors who took the lead through Brugman's swirling free-kick from 25 yards that left stand-in Juventus goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon rooted to the spot.

Parma have lost more points from winning positions in 2021 than any side in Europe's top five leagues and they were pegged back just before half-time in Turin.

De Ligt nodded the ball down to Alex Sandro, who used his first touch to flick the ball into the air and his second to blast it away from Colombi on the half-volley.

Alex Sandro added a second 92 seconds into the second half when heading in a Juan Cuadrado cross intended for Paulo Dybala that made it all the way to the back post.

Giuseppe Pezzella went close to levelling with a header that was stopped in front of goal by Arthur - a big moment in the game as De Ligt powered in a header of his own four minutes later.

That set up a serene conclusion to the match for Pirlo's side as they made it four league wins in a row in this fixture for the first time ever.

Nasser Al-Khelaifi has replaced Andrea Agnelli as chairman of the European Clubs Association (ECA) after the breakdown of the proposed European Super League.

Paris Saint-Germain – for whom Al-Khelaifi is chairman and chief executive – were, along with Bayern Munich, one of the few heavyweight European clubs to elect against joining the planned breakaway competition, which collapsed before it ever got started.

Only Real Madrid and Barcelona are yet to confirm their withdrawal from the now-suspended tournament, after all six English teams involved pulled out on Tuesday, with Atletico Madrid, Juventus, Inter and Milan following suit on Wednesday.

During a remarkable situation which rolled out over Sunday and Monday, Juve chief Agnelli – a major driving force behind the proposals – resigned from his post as the ECA chairman.

With PSG having rebuffed the invitation to join the European Super League, Al-Khelaifi issued a strong statement condemning the actions of the 12 clubs and backing UEFA.

Al-Khelaifi, who has been in charge of PSG since 2011, has now been handed a new role as Agnelli's replacement.

He said: "I am honoured and humbled to have been appointed by my fellow ECA Executive Board Members as chairman.

"The leadership, integrity and togetherness of our organisation has never been more required than at this pivotal moment in European football.

"I will provide my unconditional commitment to the entire football community: that means to all ECA Member Clubs from every European nation, and to the fans and communities they represent.

"I, alongside all my fellow ECA Board Members and Clubs, am looking to reinforce ECA in its role as the legitimate and singular voice of Europe’s clubs. Our game, adored by generations of supporters, will only prosper under unity, and it is our duty as the custodians of football to fulfil this obligation."

The ECA said: "Following the unprecedented events of recent days, which has seen attempts to undermine the entire European football community, ECA – representing the leading football clubs of Europe – welcomes the decision from its former member clubs not to pursue their purported 'Super League' project.

"ECA firmly believes this project could not succeed because football, at its core, is based on openness, sporting excellence and an inherent connection between everyone across the football family.

"Football is for everybody. Recent events have been a reminder that club owners are merely custodians of their clubs, which are historic beacons that mean so much to fans and their communities.

"ECA believes that it is the responsibility of every member club to ensure that we develop football and leave it in a better place for the next generation; not to dismantle it purely for financial gain."

Manchester United co-chairman and part-owner Joel Glazer has issued an apology to fans for the "unrest" caused by their European Super League misadventure.

United were one of 12 founding clubs for the close-shop competition announced on Sunday, but more than that they had frequently been cited as among the biggest pushers for a new tournament to rival UEFA's Champions League.

Super League involvement would have seen United – along with the other founder clubs – guaranteed participation every year, thus threatening the ideals of competitiveness and sporting merit.

Much of the significant backlash, which United players Bruno Fernandes and Luke Shaw were a part of, related to this lack of competition, with Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola suggesting it could not be considered sport.

But less than 48 hours after the plans were announced, the proposed tournament began to crumble as the English clubs withdrew – United confirmed their disassociation at the same time as Liverpool, Arsenal and Tottenham, with City doing so earlier in the day and Chelsea following.

United executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward also confirmed his resignation, which the club claimed was unrelated to the defeat of the Super League plans.

Criticism was directed at United for their brief statement upon withdrawal as well, though Glazer – co-owner with his brother Avram – says he is "committed to rebuilding trust" in a lengthier open letter.

United supporters will surely argue there was never trust in the deeply unpopular Glazers in the first place, with the letter representing the family's first communication with the fanbase since 2005.

It read: "To all Manchester United supporters, over the past few days we have all witnessed the great passion which football generates, and the deep loyalty our fans have for this great club.

"You made very clear your opposition to the European Super League, and we have listened. We got it wrong, and we want to show that we can put things right.

"Although the wounds are raw and I understand that it will take time for the scars to heal, I am personally committed to rebuilding trust with our fans and learning from the message you delivered with such conviction.

"We continue to believe that European football needs to become more sustainable throughout the pyramid for the long-term. However, we fully accept that the Super League was not the right way to go about it.

"In seeking to create a more stable foundation for the game, we failed to show enough respect for its deep-rooted traditions –promotion, relegation, the pyramid – and for that we are sorry.

"This is the world's greatest football club and we apologise unreservedly for the unrest caused during these past few days. It is important for us to put that right.

"Manchester United has a rich heritage and we recognise our responsibility to live up to its great traditions and values. The pandemic has thrown up so many unique challenges and we are proud of the way Manchester United and its fans from Manchester and around the world have reacted to the enormous pressures during this period.

"We also realise that we need to better communicate with you, our fans, because you will always be at the heart of the club. In the background, you can be sure that we will be taking the necessary steps to rebuild relationships with other stakeholders across the game, with a view to working together on solutions to the long-term challenges facing the football pyramid.

"Right now, our priority is to continue to support all of our teams as they push for the strongest possible finish to the season. In closing, I would like to recognise that it is your support which makes this club so great, and we thank you for that. With best regards, Joel Glazer."

Avram Grant believes the owners of Europe's top clubs must learn football is completely different to the NBA.

Former Chelsea and West Ham manager Grant is thrilled that the breakaway continental competition – which would have rivalled UEFA's Champions League and impacted the future of domestic pyramids – has fallen through.

All six English clubs involved withdrew on Tuesday, prompting Juventus chairman Andrea Agnelli to acknowledge on Wednesday the project was effectively over as further teams rushed to the exit.

Grant feels the saga was a huge victory for football supporters.

He pointed out how the sport is different to any others, which may have surprised some of the American owners as they tried to force through a project that would have guaranteed the involvement of founding clubs every year.

"They [the owners] compare it the NBA, but it is not a good comparison," Grant said to Stats Perform News.

"What they say is not right. This is not the NBA - there is a draft in the NBA.

"Of course, they misjudged it as they don't come from football. Take the three Americans. I met one of them, fantastic person but they don't know the nature of the game. 

"In football, one plus one is not two. The decision making is different. Football is a game of emotions. The game is not pure business. It's a lot of passion. 

"Supporters are paying money and I'm so happy about the reaction of the PM [prime minister, Boris Johnson] and of Prince William who I know and really like. 

"It's a lesson for all the owners, money is important but the passion needs to stay as it is. They will learn their lesson, they are clever guys. 

"We love that Leicester City became champions – you cannot take Euro opportunities from clubs. 

"And even the LA Lakers don't always get a place in the playoffs, they need to work for it."

Grant was pleased to see his former boss – Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich – among the first to withdraw following fan protests at Stamford Bridge.

He insisted the Russian should not take all of the blame for signing up as he must have been badly advised.

Grant added: "I'm very happy about that as I know him, he took a step back.

"And it's not just Roman, but the people around the owners. Where have you been? You need to tell them [the owners]. 

"It was the wrong decision and I'm very happy about their reaction. 

"Football can be improved, I understand the big clubs, some of the things they are asking for are right, but this decision [to try a Super League] is very wrong.

"I was not shocked [by the idea] because you know big clubs have been speaking about it for a long time, but I was shocked they did it. 

"I understand where they are coming from financially but they have tried to create classes in football, when instead you have to prove yourself on the pitch. 

"Imagine if I told a squad, quality doesn't matter, you five players will play always!

"UEFA need to find a solution with big clubs to keep the balance [between finance and sport]. They need to keep the nature of the football." 

Grant was asked about the future of Real Madrid president Florentino Perez, who was poised to lead the Super League as its chairman.

He added: "No more Super League, forget it, it will not happen. I said to Florentino Perez: forget it! It’s not good for you! 

"I understand what he tried to do, but it was wrong. He can stay – but if he still thinks it is the right way to go and destroys football then that is something else. 

"It's a big, big victory for the supporters. Football comes from the heart. 

"It's a victory for the people. This is the biggest victory. In democracy people vote, this is democracy and the people said no. 

"We don't want Real Madrid v Liverpool every day. You can't give an advantage to any player to play. I can't just play Didier Drogba because I like him! Only because he is good. 

"So, it is a big, big victory for the people."

Juventus remain convinced over the validity of a European Super League but admit the planned breakaway competition cannot possibly go ahead following a raft of withdrawals.

Milan followed Serie A rivals Inter in pulling out on Wednesday, as did Spanish side Atletico Madrid in a move welcomed by head coach Diego Simeone.

All six English teams – Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United and Tottenham – ended their involvement on Tuesday following widespread criticism of the proposal, including from some of their own players and coaches.

Juve president Andrea Agnelli confirmed to Reuters that the mass exodus of the Premier League contingent had effectively ended the possibility of a Super League going ahead – for now at least.

In a statement released on Wednesday, the Bianconeri made clear the necessary procedures required for clubs to end their involvement have yet to be completed, as well as outlining how such a tournament still has merit from a sporting and commercial viewpoint.

"With reference to the press release issued by Juventus on April 19, relating to the project to create the Super League, and the subsequent public debate, the issuer specifies that it is aware of the request and intentions otherwise expressed by some clubs to withdraw from this project, although the necessary procedures under the agreement between the clubs have not been completed," a statement read.

"In this context, Juventus, while remaining convinced of the validity of the sporting, commercial and legal assumptions of the project, believes that it currently has limited possibilities of being completed in the form in which it was initially conceived.

"Juventus remains committed to building long-term value for the club and for the entire football movement."

Milan's U-turn came after taking into consideration the reaction from supporters to the tournament. The founding members would have been involved each season regardless of their performances in domestic leagues, a rule that received widespread condemnation.

"We accepted the invitation to participate in the Super League project with the genuine intention to deliver the best possible European competition for football fans around the world and in the best interest of the club and our own fans," Milan said in a statement.

"Change is not always easy, but evolution is necessary for progress, and the structures of European football have evolved and changed over the decades.

"However, the voices and the concerns of fans around the world have clearly been expressed about the Super League, and Milan must be sensitive to the voice of those who love this wonderful sport.

"We will continue to work hard to deliver a sustainable model for football."

Real Madrid president Florentino Perez made a big mistake over the European Super League and seriously damaged his image at the club with his "grotesque" leadership, according to Ramon Calderon.

Perez was named as chairman of the newly-created organisation behind the breakaway competition, which initially saw 12 of Europe's biggest teams sign up to be involved.

However, following widespread backlash to the plan, the 'big six' from the Premier League - Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United and Tottenham - all announced they were withdrawing on Tuesday.

The proposal included founding members being certain of playing in the Super League each season, regardless of where they finished in their domestic leagues.

Along with Madrid, LaLiga duo Atletico Madrid and Barcelona were among the initial group announced in a statement released on Sunday, along with Serie A sides Inter, Juventus and Milan.

In an appearance on El Chiringuito TV on Monday, Perez had said the primary aim of the Super League was to "save football", having "found a solution to the very difficult situation that football is experiencing" amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Yet Calderon, who was Madrid president between July 2006 and January 2009, has criticised such "grotesque" leadership of the Spanish club.

"I think it has been hugely embarrassing," Calderon told Stats Perform News.  

"Besides, I believe he has led in a grotesque way, if we can say it, attending late-night TV shows and claiming he was coming to save football.

"Moreover, he has done so admitting Real Madrid has had millionaire takeovers, which makes weaker at one point our club.

"I think it has been a big mistake. And, also, he has done so while not consulting the members. It is a project which would have had an influence in the future of the club if it would have gone through.

"He said, and we all say because it is a fact, that this club belongs to its membership. Therefore, it looks obvious that such an important project has to be consulted to them. He hasn't done that, though, and obviously now his image is seriously damaged."

UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin sounded a conciliatory note as plans for a European Super League unravelled in the face of wide-ranging backlash. 

Little more than a day after hitting out at a proposal he said was "fuelled purely by greed above all else," Ceferin indicated a willingness to move forward with the clubs that have backed out of the breakaway league. 

Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United and Tottenham all confirmed they were ending their involvement with the European Super League after a popular uproar about the plans. 

“I said yesterday that it is admirable to admit a mistake and these clubs made a big mistake," Ceferin said in a statement. 

“But they are back in the fold now and I know they have a lot to offer not just to our competitions but to the whole of the European game.

“The important thing now is that we move on, rebuild the unity that the game enjoyed before this and move forward together.”

The English clubs' withdrawal from the venture leaves Real Madrid, Barcelona, Atletico Madrid, Juventus, Milan and Inter to continue, but it is unclear what shape the proposal might take with half of its projected participants no longer involved. 

The European Super League said after the defections it would "reconsider the most appropriate steps to reshape the project". 

UEFA plans to move ahead with the Champions League revisions announced Monday in the face of whatever threat might remain from the Super League proponents. 

Those plans include an increased field of 36 teams as the present format -  whereby there are eight pools of four – will be scrapped.

Instead, each team will play 10 group games before advancing to a last-16 knockout format. The changes are due to be introduced for the 2024-25 season.

Gerard Pique became the first Barcelona or Real Madrid player to openly criticise the attempted formation of a European Super League.

Twelve major European clubs came together to confirm the creation of a closed-shop competition on Sunday, but within 48 hours it has been left in ruins.

Manchester City became the first club to withdraw on Tuesday and Chelsea were also reported to have begun such proceedings at a similar time, though an official statement is not expected until Wednesday.

The four remaining English teams, Arsenal, Liverpool, Tottenham and Manchester United – who earlier on Tuesday confirmed club chief Ed Woodward has resigned in an apparently unrelated move – then released simultaneous statements announcing their disassociation with the breakaway.

None of Milan, Inter, Juventus, Atletico Madrid, Madrid nor Barca have addressed the situation in public since the English clubs began to set their mass-withdrawal in motion.

But the cracks have started to appear, with Barca great Pique seemingly becoming the first player from the Spanish clubs to denounce the proposals that have been left in tatters.

Around the same time that Arsenal, Liverpool, United and Spurs confirmed their exits, Pique tweeted: "Football belongs to the fans. Today more than ever."

Madrid president Florentino Perez was expected to appear on Spanish radio on Tuesday but ultimately failed to show.

With half of the 12 founder members pulling out, the next move of the remaining six is yet to be revealed.

However, it looks like a troubling period awaits Madrid, with Perez openly admitting on Monday that the club needed the money from the Super League due to their financial difficulties.

Pique's Barca also have issues, with their debts confirmed earlier this year to be in excess of €1billion.

David Trezeguet believes domestic leagues will "lose their charm" and suffer huge damage as a result of the European Super League.

The 12 founding clubs of the breakaway competition have indicated they want to remain in their domestic leagues, despite threats of severe punishments.

But World Cup winner Trezeguet, whose former club Juventus are among the group, thinks the excitement will disappear from the Premier League, LaLiga and Serie A.

He also fears for the Champions League's lustre should UEFA attempt to continue with it if the European Super League is ultimately launched.

Trezeguet said to Stats Perform News: "From an emotional side it is nice to conquer your right to play in the Champions League and Europa League on the pitch. 

"At the moment in Italy we discuss if Juventus can qualify, if Napoli can overtake them, if Lazio can get closer. 

"All these everyday chats will be lost because with the Super League you already know those three clubs [Juventus, Inter and Milan] will be in and maybe somebody else will be added.

"Although they clearly stated they would go on, domestic leagues will lose their charm.

"You lose the charm of understanding clubs' goals... who aims at Champions League? Who at the Europa League? And other goals.

"And the Champions League will lose these 12 big clubs who boast a big enchantment on marketing and fans." 

But Trezeguet understands why top clubs would be tempted by the huge financial rewards on offer after the coronavirus pandemic.

He added: "Read the economic value of the Super League and what Florentino Perez said [about huge financial losses]. If these are the losses, they are huge and they are due to the pandemic. 

"My opinion is divided. They even said they don't want to give up on other [clubs] - this is yet to be verified. 

"If you read those figures, you see a big leap in quality [of finances] for these 12 clubs but whether they will help the others is yet to be seen. 

"But from an emotional point of view I don't agree because you lose the principle of qualifying on the pitch. 

"We all know for sure that football has become a big business but lest we forget the sporting side of this game. 

"Earning your titles, playing a high-level season that makes you qualify for European cups - this is a job well done. 

"I know these big clubs are used to playing at such levels.

"But from an emotional viewpoint I am perplexed because you already know these three clubs [in Italy or Spain] will be automatically qualified regardless of their seasonal path in the league."

Trezeguet foresees a lengthy political battle ahead and is unsure whether players and fans will ultimately be listened to.

He added: "It will be a long bureaucratic clash and it is not a surprise. The Super League on one hand and the UEFA on the other have been very clear. 

"They have both their ideas and formats and the economic part should not be forgotten since these figures [for losses] are huge.

"First we have to see if they will be able to do the Super League as I was watching Leeds v Liverpool and already you can see fans were emotional. 

"And the UEFA president gave a speech that was more emotional than concrete about treason, wrong ideas, phone calls unreturned.

"But it is true that we are entering in a critical moment. UEFA and FIFA were straightforward on this from a sporting point of view. 

"Politicians in very important football countries like France, Germany and England have opposed the Super League. 

"Even in Italy and Spain the prime minister and the ministers have backed UEFA rather than the Super League. Now it is politics.

"The players will be the least listened to - this Super League has been decided without even consulting the players or the fans. 

"What has struck me is fans and players coming forward very clearly against it. Will it go on regardless? We'll see."

Andrea Pirlo and his Juventus team are "calm" about the club's involvement in the breakaway European Super League and remain focused on first qualifying for the Champions League.

Juve were among 12 elite clubs to announce plans to launch a lucrative new continental competition on Sunday. All founding clubs would controversially be guaranteed participation every season.

Bianconeri chairman Andrea Agnelli is at the forefront of the plans, prompting criticism from UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin, who is charged with organising the rival Champions League.

Ceferin has made a number of threats towards the dozen clubs involved, including the suggestion their players could be banned from international fixtures.

But Pirlo is confident the saga is not providing a distraction ahead of Juve's game on Wednesday against Parma, who they could beat in four successive Serie A meetings for the first time.

Three points would be particularly precious with Pirlo's men in fourth, struggling to qualify for the Champions League.

While Super League proposals suggested a swift start to the new tournament, meaning Juve would no longer play in UEFA's competition, Agnelli has encouraged the players to ensure they finish in the top four this term.

"We are focused on what we need to do and that is to qualify for the Champions League," Pirlo said.

"This morning the president told us about the Super League. We are calm, because the president is planning this thing, but we have to think about the present, which is qualification for the Champions League.

"[The Super League] is a development for the world of football. There's been a lot of change over the years, but I'm not the right person to explain this.

"The president is at the forefront and he will be better able to explain things as they are these days, as the other presidents are doing.

"I didn't hear anything further from the president, because we see him most days and so he's always been close to the team.

"He explained the project to us broadly, not in detail, but he gave us great confidence and told us that the most important thing is to continue our work to earn the Champions League on the field.

"For now, [the Super League] is just a project and [the players] have to rest easy because football goes on.

"They know that the present is tomorrow's game and they must focus on the present and Parma."

Juve have lost five of their 31 league games so far this season, their most at this stage of a campaign since 2010-11 (nine) - the last time the title went anywhere other Turin.

The most recent of those defeats came last time out against Atalanta, but Pirlo was without Cristiano Ronaldo.

The coach confirmed Ronaldo, along with Gianluigi Buffon and Paulo Dybala, would start against Parma, one of the superstar forward's favourite opponents.

He has scored two or more goals in three games against Parma in Serie A. Against no side has he done so more often, also netting at least twice in three matches with Cagliari.

Claudio Ranieri sneered at the prospect of a Super League as Italy's football coaches association boss Renzo Ulivieri called for Juventus, Milan and Inter to be thrown out of Serie A.

Ranieri used Leicester City's against-the-odds 2015-16 Premier League title march and subsequent involvement in the Champions League as an example of an underdog having its day.

He was manager of the Foxes as they rose to that unexpected prominence, and it is something he fears would be impossible under the new proposals, with the Champions League being seemingly imperilled by such a rival competition and the biggest clubs set to see their incomes soar.

The Premier League 'big six' have confirmed their readiness to compete in the new Super League, along with Real Madrid, Barcelona, Atletico Madrid and Italian giants Juve, Milan and Inter. They would then be permanent members of the big-money competition, guaranteed huge annual payouts, but also plan to keep playing in their domestic leagues.

A backlash has followed Sunday's announcement, with concerns expressed by supporters, leagues, national associations, leading politicians, and even some players and coaches from clubs involved.

Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola expressed reservations on Tuesday, although the Premier League title race front-runners have said they will enter.

Ulivieri, president of the Associazione Italiana Allenatori Calcio, told Rai Radio 1: "It is a dirty trick against the football system, even at the lower levels, designed to solve teams that have done everything wrong in the management of the clubs.

"This is a serious blow to the national championships. Juventus, Inter and Milan cannot continue to stay in Serie A.

"Juve have won many championships because they organised themselves better, because they spent more money but also because they made a lot of debts."

Ranieri, now coach of Sampdoria, said: "Reading what some European clubs want to do, the first thing that comes to my memory is precisely the feat accomplished by Leicester.

"Regardless of the fact that I was involved too, it was a result obtained by the smallest who managed to compete with the great giants of the football world. In my opinion this spirit represents the essence of sport."

Former Chelsea boss Ranieri added, according to La Gazzetta Dello Sport: "What they are trying to do is wrong. Maybe they are doing this to cover all the debts they have.

"I hope that FIFA and UEFA have the tools to combat this big, bad thing."

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