The first semi-final round of the Champions League takes place tonight at Camp Nou in Barcelona. Barça’s Samuel Eto’o, Yaya Toure and Thierry Henry will be meeting Chelsea’s Didier Drogba, Florent Malouda and Michael Essien. This is an European Union summit in its own right where African footballers could be decisive.
Barcelona, tipped to win the 2009 Champions League by various football enthusiasts in Europe, is once again counting on Samuel Eto’o their top scorer to challenge Chelsea’s armada of stars led by the presently untenable Didier Drogba. This Champions League will be worthy of a clash of the titans as it brings the best players in the world together on the same field.
The Cameroonian Samuel Eto’o who undoubtedly achieved his best season with 27 goals in 31 Liga matches (a record) and five in the Champions League, can also count on the rock solid Yaya in midfield and Thierry Henry, who is basking in a renewed youthfulness in his Catalan colors. All this, of course, under the able influence of Lionel Messi, the Argentine, who is without a doubt the world’s most talented player in since the beginning of the season. Their sweeping victories, or weeping defeats of their adversaries, across Europe have seen them thrashing Lyon 5-2 and Bayern Munich humbled with a humiliating 4-0 score.
Given the fluidity of Barcelona’s game, Chelsea is sure to assemble a collective raging force bent on re-demonstrating their determination as seen in their previous matches with Liverpool (3-1 and 4-4). The Blues are counting on the Ivorian Didier Drogba. Presently untenable, he successively scored in the last five games. A record. He can also count on the support of the Ghanaian Michael Essien, who is unstoppable alongside Frank Lampard, a true soul of the club. Nicolas Anelka, on the other hand, has been silent for about ten matches and going through some trying times, but careful, the lion could be awoken.
In the other semi-final round, which will be played Wednesday, Manchester United hosted by Arsenal, led by its top Togolese striker, Emmanuel Adebayor, who is now coveted by AC Milan. But that’s another story.