The paradox came this week in the Champions League: the Z as the beginning of something new and not as the end of the old. Eight footballers aged 20 and under, belonging to what sociology experts call Generation Z (people born between the late 90s and the beginning of the 2,000 years) were protagonists of the last day of the Champions League group stage. Rodrygo and Vinicius (Real Madrid), Ansu Fati (Barcelona), Joao Felix (Atlético), Mbappé (PSG), Sancho (Dortmund), Foden (City) and Sessegnon (Tottenham) scored goals in the top mainland competition and the vast majority were decisive for their teams to achieve the Victory. The regeneration of European football is already a fact.
Among them all, Ansu Fati was the one who wrote his name in the of the top continental competition. Against Inter and in a scenario of legend as San Siro, the Azulgrana became the youngest footballer to score a goal in the history of the Champions League, at only 17 years and 40 days. In addition, his so much in the 86′ earned him the victory of Barca, who won 1-2.
At Real Madrid, the regeneration is Brazilian and bears the smile by flag. Rodrygo (18 years old) opened the scoring against Bruges and Vinicius (19) scored 1-2. Two goals that served for Madrid to claim victory (1-3) in a match that, although inconsequential for the classification, served to keep Zidane’s team to continue to increase their confidence before facing the crucial duels against Valencia and Barcelona in League.
On the other hand, Simeone prefers for his Atleti the term ‘transition’ to ‘regeneration’, but the case is that Joao Félix (20 years) cost 127 million euros to step up on nights like Wednesday’s. After Trippier missed a penalty that put the nerves of the red-whites to the face against Lokomotiv (they needed to win to be in eighths), the Portuguese threw the team behind their backs and did not hesitate to grab the ball to throw a second penalty in favour of their team in favour of their team 8-0 on the scoreboard. In the end, goal, win and a round-five win for Atletico.
Another who led his team’s victory, something that has been common for some time, was Jadon Sancho (19 years). He scored Dortmund’s first goal against Slavia Prague in a match in which the Borussers won by the minimum (2-1) and which put the Germans in the eighth round on the final day.
He also scored Mbappé (20 years), which by now no longer amazes. PSG scored his team’s fourth goal for Galatasaray (5-0). Finally, 19-year-old Foden rounded out City’s victory in Zagreb, where Guardiola’s beat Dinamo 1-4, and Sessegnon, also 19, seized Mourinho’s opportunity over Bayern, against which he was a starter, to score Tottenham’s only goal in the defeat of the London outfit in a match that was inconsequential (3-1).