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To Those Who Want To See Paris

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To Those Who Want To See Paris

See Paris and Die! This only captures Paris as that iconic city every tourist or traveler must-see and then wish for nothing more. This is also reflected in Eleonory Gilburd’s book, To See Paris And Die: The Soviet Lives of Western Culture. And just as well, eight teams in Europe now see getting to Paris and lifting the Champions Leagues trophy as the definitive end in this year’s UEFA club competitions.

The quarter-finals of the UEFA Champions Leagues are starting today and eight teams that have made it all have one thing at the back of their minds: to go along with joyous fans, to the final of Europe’s biggest club competition in the beautiful city of Paris on 28th May 2022. Originally billed for Gazprom Arena in Saint Petersburg, Russia; the European football governing body had to shift the venue to France in view of global sanctions placed on Russia over Putin’s invasion of its neighbor, Ukraine. While the Russians would have been an equally good host, fans of the game have now decided to look towards the splendor of Paris, longing to see its storied streets and arts; before and after a beautiful game of football.

Of Benfica, Liverpool, Atletico Madrid, Manchester City, Bayer Munich, Chelsea, Real Madrid and Villareal, only two teams will eventually play their way to Stade de France. All the teams stand an equal chance of making it having come thus far in the highly competitive club series. Everyone in this knockout stage is just a few steps away from a place in the most glamorous club competition in the footballing world.

This is just a timely call to all the teams in this breathtaking stage of the competition. One salutes the time and energy spent so far. Indeed, the investments run into millions of Dollars and everyone is eager to recoup some measure of investments by going home with the pecuniary benefits associated with lifting the trophy. But no one must sacrifice the beautiful artistry of football for qualification by whatever means necessary. Footballers and teams have a tendency to be dramatic and employ all kinds of trickery at this crunch stage of competitions. While this is understandable, it’s never been in the makeup of great soccer artistry. Victory must be clear-cut without a dose of underhand ploy, biased officiating or unruly crowd behavior. Those who have a predilection for cynical play must be reminded that fans have since lost patience with prehistoric gimmicks on the field of play.

France has a fine place in the history of football and only the best in skills and character deserve to barrel their way to its famous ground. For instance, FIFA, football’s governing body was founded on 21 May 1904 in France, and the country participated fully by providing Robert Guerin, the organization’s first president. Other countries in that historic meeting were Denmark, Netherlands, Belgium, Spain, Switzerland and Sweden. Interestingly, the first European Cup was provided for UEFA by L’Equipe, that great French media house.

Those who want to see the capital of France must let Paris see them as well. They must leave something of their beautiful selves in that famed city, and only in this way will the city keep being beautiful. Paris must remember them, that they came and left footprints of beautiful football without incidents both on and off the pitch.

Now is the final push towards the ultimate venue. To this end, the 28th May Champions League final must be memorable, classic, and a display that Paris would remember for a long time to come. Rivalry on the pitch must not be carried to its beautiful streets. We say no to racism, violence in war and peacetime, and other unsavory aspects of the beautiful game. Two great football teams and their fans will see Paris and no one will die. That’s the sentiment. Football fans all over the world shouldn’t dream of anything else.

Steve Ogah
Steve Ogah
Novelist, Poet & Essayist, Steve's the author of Barack Obama's Logic & the novels; Khaki Boy & Freedom Campus. Steve is a UEFA accredited Sports Media Rep.