It must be tortuous for a man as precise and tactically astute as Pep Guardiola to contend with what Jose Mourinho calls ‘football heritage’.
When it comes to the Champions League, there is an established order legislated by some omnipotent force.
At one end of the scale there is Real Madrid, the blessed ones, favoured by the football gods, capable of snatching victory from the jaws of defeat no matter the circumstances.
At the other end, there is PSG and Man City, the damned ones, cursed to an eternal cycle of rising hope dashed by capitulations.
Perhaps it was inevitable then, that Guardiola’s side would succumb to Los Blancos despite being obviously superior in the many ways that normally dictate the result of a two-legged tie.
The latest edition of the Champions League’s fate lottery was a remarkable one because of how dominant City were for prolonged spells at the Etihad, only for Karim Benzema and Vinicius Junior to keep their side alive with wicked counterpunches.
That’s the thing about Real Madrid, they are like a monstrous beast in a fantasy epic that must be destroyed totally; you have to remove the head and bury them in a pool of fire under the light of a full moon or else they’ll return stronger to conquer all.
City inflicted mortal wounds but they left a glimmer of life and that was their undoing.
The dramatic events at the Bernabeu on Wednesday night have changed the outlook of Dream Team 2021/22’s concluding month.
Had City progressed to the final they would have five games left to fulfil, one fewer than Liverpool.
The reality is that the Reds now have two additional fixtures on their modern rivals, a pair of major finals.
With only four Game Weeks remaining, this is a significant difference that should be exploited by Dream Team bosses.
As a hypothetical example, if a gaffer were to use all five of their transfers swapping Etihad residents for Liverpool assets then they would potentially gain ten fixtures!
For most the season, the Premier League’s two standout teams have been virtually inseparable but the pendulum has shifted in favour of the Reds as the campaign draws to a close.
It would be foolish to discount City completely of course – their best performers are capable of providing substantial returns in their remaining four league fixtures.
But at this late stage of the season it’s more important than ever to squeeze the schedule for all it’s worth.