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Rob Burnett: Manchester City won’t be among the elite until they win in Europe

20 Oct | BY Betway | MIN READ TIME |
Rob Burnett: Manchester City won’t be among the elite until they win in Europe

The Mirror sports writer says Manuel Pellegrini's side must sort their woeful Champions League form - starting against Sevilla on Wednesday

Since buying Manchester City in 2008, Sheikh Mansour has spent more than £1bn to turn the club from a well-supported mid-table outfit into the champions of England.

His vast investment – while eye-watering to most of us – represents less than a 20th of his estimated net worth and has delivered three out of the four trophies the club compete for each season.

Two Premier League titles have been won – the club’s first in more than four decades – along with the FA Cup and League Cup.

Not too shabby for a club that hadn’t won any silverware since the League Cup in 1976 (if we’re not counting the third division play-offs, which we’re not).

Sheikh Mansour wants the club to be a global leader in everything it does.

Domestic trophies are now being won on a regular basis. That was phase one.

The new £200m City Football Academy opened in December is meant to be the most-impressive training facility in the world and to be the breeding ground for the most-talented young players anywhere in the game.

On the balance sheet the club is also catching up on football’s original financial behemoth, neighbours Manchester United – a profit was recorded for the first time since the takeover this year.

And yet something is still missing – and in Sheikh Mansour’s grand strategy it is probably the most important thing of all.

The sky blue of Man City is not being worn by the kids in anywhere other than the blue half of Manchester.

The name of the club does not resonate around the world like Barcelona, Bayern Munich, Real Madrid, Manchester United or even Liverpool.

And the reason is simple: the club is yet to make any impact in Europe.

Despite being regulars in the Champions League for the last five seasons, and having virtually unlimited spending power to bring the best players to the club, City are yet to even reach the quarter-final stage of the competition.

That is shocking underachievement for a club with City’s budget and ambition – and until they rectify it, they will continue to live in the second tier of the world’s top clubs.

Manager Manuel Pellegrini has already been warned he must win something this season and, with Pep Guardiola’s shadow hanging over him, the Chilean must get it right in a big way this term.

That means in Europe.

Yet again, though, the Champions League campaign got off to a terrible start with a 2-1 home defeat by Juventus, with City fans thinking ‘here we go again’.

A win away at Borussia Monchengladbach got points on the board, but City must back that up with a good result against Sevilla at home this week.

After spending £1bn, it is unlikely Sheikh Mansour will tolerate another season of failure on the continent.

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