Good Season for Some, Bad for Others

Manchester United
Manchester United

The just-ended premier league season has brought joy to some clubs and managers and big disappointment to others

By Anayo Ezugwu  |  Jun. 3, 2013 @ 01:00 GMT

THE journey was long, tough and full of drama and those that emerged as leaders in different European leagues, demonstrated that they were worthy champions. Most of the clubs that lost their league last season, returned as champions in style. Clubs like Manchester United, Barcelona, Bayern Munich, Juventus and Paris St. Germain, won their domestic leagues before the end of the season.

Juventus
Juventus

In England, Manchester United became the champions for the 20th time in English football, making it the most successful club in Britain ahead of Liverpool, who boast of 18 championship victories. In winning the premiership title, United has regained its dominance which it lost to its neighbour, Manchester City, last season.

In Spain, Barcelona also won the league title at the expense of Real Madrid, the defending champions. Not only did Barcelona succeed in retaining the Spanish league, it also surpassed the 100 points record set by Real Madrid last season. Barcelona’s path to becoming the league champions was smoothened by Real Madrid’s 1-1 draw against Espanyol. The title success was the 22nd in the Barcelona’s 113-year history and the fourth in the last five seasons after relinquishing its grip on the championship to Real Madrid last season.

In Italy, Juventus also emerged the league champions. The “old lady” of Italian football as the club is fondly called, retained the league by winning AC Milan 1-0. This triumph now brings Juventus Serie A league crowns to 29 and effectively proves its pedigree, once again, as a leading Italian and European side.

In Germany, Bayern Munich won the Bundesliga at the expense of Borussia Dortmund. Bayern Munich’s record-breaking run this season has seen them back on top with its 23rd German league trophy. The Bayern led from the start to end a two-year reign of Borussia Dortmund and notch its first title in what is hoped will be a treble-winning season. Bayern, without any silverware since 2010, is desperate to reassert itself in the domestic competitions this season after two years of playing second fiddle to Dortmund in the league and German Cup.

In France, Paris St. Germain won its first Ligue 1 title in 19 years following a 1-0 win at Lyon. Jeremy Menez’s 53rd-minute strike was enough to end the capital club’s long wait to reclaim the French crown and seal its first title since the big-spending Qatari owners took charge.

PSG
PSG

Meanwhile, the performance of Nigeria’s top stars plying their trade in Europe was commendable this past season. Their performances week-in-week-out in various parts of Europe made them standout in their club sides. John Obi Mikel and Victor Moses, the Chelsea duo, played a vital role as their club won Europa League on May 15. Moses scored four goals on the road to the final while Mikel, as ever, has been commanding in the middle of the pack.

The duo of Elderson Echiejile, of Barga and Vincent Enyeama, of Maccabi Tel Aviv, have also registered their names in their different countries, winning crowns. Echiejile won the 2012/13 Portuguese League Cup while Enyeama won the Israeli Premier League title for a second time.

Also in Russia, Ahmed Musa, has been at his prolific best, hitting 14 goals for CSKA Moscow and also helped the Moscow outfit lift its first domestic championship since 2006. Kalu Uche of Kasimpasa emerged Nigeria’s highest scorer in Europe this season. The former Spain-based midfielder is second top scorer in Turkey with 19 goals, thus making a case for a return to the national team. Also outstanding is Imoh Ezekiel, of Standard Liege with 14 goals to his credit in the Belgian topflight. He is fifth in the top scorers’ table.

Other Nigerian players like Victor Anichebe, Everton of England, Danny Shittu, Millwall of England, Sone Aluko, Hull City of England, Joseph Yobo, Fenerbahce of Turkey and Efe Ambrose, Celtic of Scotland, were impressive in their respective clubs.

On the other hand, some managers whose clubs were not impressive in the season are on the verge of losing their jobs, while others have already lost theirs before the end of the season. On May 14, Manchester City sacked Roberto Mancini, manager of the team. According to the club, Mancini failed to achieve any of the club’s targets, with the exception of qualification for next season’s Champions League.

Bayern Munich
Bayern Munich

Also, Real Madrid has confirmed that Jose Mourinho, the club’s manager, would leave his position at the end of the current season, following his failure to win any trophy this season. Florentino Perez, president of the club, revealed at a press conference on May 20, that Mourinho’s time in charge of the club will come to an end by mutual agreement once the 2012-13 season has reached its conclusion.

His departure from Madrid has confirmed his summer return to his former club Chelsea, where he has been heavily linked since the middle of the season. Chelsea will not pay compensation for Mourinho after Madrid confirmed that the Portuguese manager will leave the club at the end of the season by mutual consent. Although, clubs like the PSG, Monaco and Manchester City are all contending for his signature.

Carlo Ancelotti, PSG manager, has been linked to replace departing Mourinho, but PSG has insisted that they will not release Ancelotti to Madrid. There are reports that Ancelotti is negotiating to seal a move from PSG. And even though the French club is denying his move to Madrid, the Italian’s desire to join Madrid means a move will certainly be pushed through over the next few days.

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