Manchester City supporters must be wondering if their side is cursed when it comes to the Champions League. City snatched defeat from the jaws of victory against Real Madrid on Wednesday night, losing their semi-final second leg 3-1 at the Bernabeu to exit the competition with a 6-5 aggregate defeat.
Pep Guardiola’s side had looked to be on course for the final after Riyad Mahrez’s goal put them 1-0 up on the night, and 5-3 ahead in the tie.
But two dramatic late goals from Madrid substitute Rodrygo sent the semi-final to extra-time before Karim Benzema sealed victory for the home side from the penalty spot.
It is now 11 years since Guardiola last won the Champions League while at Barcelona. That is despite him coaching the biggest club in Germany, Bayern Munich, and now the richest club in England since his time at the Nou Camp.
Is it because Guardiola has over-thinks his tactics in big European games? Not according to his former player Yaya Toure’s agent, Dimitriy Seluk, who has another explanation: African curse.
REAL MADRID HAVE GONE AHEAD! 😮
And of course, Karim Benzema had to get in on the goals! 🎯
— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) May 4, 2022
Seluk’s comments from 2018 have again resurfaced, where he claimed the Catalan coach angered “all Africa” by benching the Ivory Coast international during the player’s final year at City.
“He [Guardiola] turned all Africa against himself, many African fans turned away from Manchester City,” said Seluk.
“And I’m sure that many African shamans in the future will not allow Guardiola to win the Champions League.
“This will be for Guardiola an African curse. Life will show whether I am right or not.”
A lot to unpack there. Shamans, who boast the power of being able to invoke good or bad spirits, definitely don’t seem willing to deny Guardiola glorious domestic success wherever he goes. But Seluk is adamant.
“The fact that Guardiola ended Yaya’s career in Manchester City is not even a mistake, but a crime,” he added.
“But the boomerang will return, Pep.
“You will still see what the African shamans are. Remember this always.”
Toure and Guardiola had a sometimes strained relationship, despite their success together. The Ivorian played in Pep’s first Champions League final win in 2009, filling in in central defence for the 2-0 victory over Manchester United.
However in 2010 he left Barca to join Man City and did not have the fondest memories of his ex-coach.
Toure became a City legend for his attacking midfield displays while at Man City but in 2016, the pair’s paths crossed again when Guardiola arrived at the club.
Toure featured fairly regularly during Guardiola’s first season in Manchester, but was a bit-part player during 2017/18 and was allowed to leave the club at the end of the season, which apparently angered the player’s agent and – if Seluk is to be believed – African shamans.
Whatever the reason, Guardiola and City will have to wait another year for a shot at Champions League glory.
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