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Juve chairman admits defeat as Milan quits ESL

Juve chairman admits defeat as Atletico, Milan become latest teams to quit the European Super League

April 21, 2021 By Ali M.
With the six Premier League representatives gone, Los Rojiblancos and the two Milan giants followed suit, leaving the ESL all but dead.

It was fun while it lasted! The highly-controversial European Super League, which was only officially announced on Sunday, has all but crashed and burned come Wednesday, with a host of clubs quitting the tournament amid the worldwide backlash.

Twelve of Europe's biggest clubs – Real Madrid, Barcelona, Atletico, Juventus, Inter, AC Milan, Man City, Man Utd, Liverpool, Arsenal, Chelsea, and Spurs – announced the formation of a breakaway midweek tournament to rival the UEFA Champions League. The competition was intended to be a 20-team affair, with the 15 founding clubs – the aforementioned 12 plus an additional three – receiving guaranteed spots in this illusive league. 

This decision was met with unilateral objection, with fans taking to social media, and in some cases, the streets, to protest this unjust and greedy tournament. Several players voiced their opposition, including Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson and Premier League veteran James Milner, with Man City manager Pep Guardiola slamming the ESL for being anti-sport due to the attempted elimination of merit.

The Liverpool players were met with boos as they made their way to Leeds for Monday's 1-1 draw while Chelsea fans took to Stamford Bridge and denied the Blues' bus entry – albeit for a short time – for their home clash with Brighton. 

The likes of Man City and Chelsea grew cold feet after witness the public reaction, with the Citizens becoming the first team to official announce their exit. The domino effect soon began, with the remaining five Premier League sides exiting the tournament within a few hours.

With all six English side gone, the European Super League no longer looks like an attractive option, with Atletico Madrid, AC Milan, and Inter Milan becoming the latest teams bowing out of the ESL.

"Atlético de Madrid's Board of Directors, which met on Wednesday morning, has decided to formally communicate to the Super League and the rest of the founding clubs its decision not to finally formalize its adhesion to the project," Los Rojiblancos communicated in an official statement.

"Atlético de Madrid took the decision on Monday to join the project due to circumstances that no longer exist today.

"For the club, harmony between all the groups that make up the Red & White family, especially our fans, is essential.

"The first team squad and the coach have expressed their satisfaction with the club's decision, as they understand that sporting merits must prevail over any other criteria."

The two Milan giants echoed similar sentiments in their statements and that was a need for a sustainable football model. The Nerazzurri wrote: "We are always committed to giving fans the best football experience; innovation and inclusion are part of our DNA since our foundation. Our engagement with all stakeholders to improve the football industry will never change.

"Inter believes that football, like every sector of activity, must have an interest in constantly improving its competitions, to keep on exciting fans of all ages around the world, within a framework of financial sustainability."

With all but three teams gone, it's hard to see a future for the European Super League as we know it today. The competition has formally been suspended and while the masterminds remain steadfast in reshaping European football along similar line, Juventus chairman Andrea Agnelli admitted defeat when asked if the project will go ahead.

"To be frank and honest no, evidently that is not the case," told Reuters

"I remain convinced of the beauty of that project, of the value that it would have developed to the pyramid, of the creation of the best competition in the world, but evidently no.

"I don't think that project is now still up and running."

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