In ways that remain more sadly innumerable than Game of Thrones’ sharp decline from its Season 2/3 heyday, Juventus was the sensible People’s Pick for Champions League title of the final four. This was galling to most, in the sense that Juve’s roster is, according to Transfermarkt, worth about €318 million.
That, it should be said, is less than half of Real Madrid’s market value, which at €710 million is roughly akin to a room full of billionaires shutting their eyes and pointing randomly to a grouping of high priced players. How else to explain Gareth Bale.
So when Juve dropped Real Madrid in the Champions League semifinals on Wednesday, it felt like something had happened, something real, visceral, almost unobtainable. A day earlier, Barcelona (market value €590 million) had dropped Bayern Munich (market value €551 million) in a matchup between teams evenly matched in checkbooks but not in Messis. That match had not felt as much a battle between rebellion and imperialism as it had the feel of a meeting between varying imperial factions. One of the Emperor’s minions would win his favor. It was merely a matter of which one.