Saturday 3 August, 1.00pm
It's a big week for Manchester City as they appeal their Champions League ban this week. Dimitar Berbatov outlines the trouble for players if the ban is upheld...
"I am curious to see how everyone reacts to the outcome, especially if they remain banned"
The players might have a tough decision to make
The Champions League is a different competition to the Premier League and you know that you are going to be playing against the best teams and players in Europe and, as good as the players are in the league, it is different and you can test yourself against the best, which is what it's all about.
You need to earn your place in it, some teams are there every year because that is how good they are. When you get there, if you ask any football player from the past, or playing now, they will tell you that listening to that anthem before the games gives you goosebumps. It pumps you up even more, it's a great feeling, a European night game, especially when you score and win.
It's a big week for Manchester City and if it doesn't go well for them, players will have a tough decision to make. I am curious to see how everyone reacts to the outcome, especially if they remain banned. It's a massive decision to make because everybody wants to play in it, but at the same time they are also playing for one of the biggest and richest clubs in the world, so they will want to be there.
If you really love football, if you want to develop, if you want to achieve something and if you want to be remembered then you want to be playing in the Champions League. If you are more driven by money then you will go down a different path. Everybody is different and free to make their own choices but you have to experience that level of football, even if it is just once in your career. Some teams are lucky to be there every year, some teams and players have won it many times as well throughout their career, some players will never play in the competition, let alone win it. Some players have won it five times, I tried it three times and haven't lifted the trophy.
I remember when I signed for United, of course, going to play Champions League football was a big appeal along with the name of the club, the manager and the history. I knew that I was going to be playing in it and playing against the the best, part of the decision was that, as a footballer you want to test yourself to see how good you are. The tournament is so important for players.
It will be a massive blow for City if they still get banned, it is one of their main goals, they haven't won it yet. They want it so badly but it is what it is. They do have a chance to win it this season, but if they still get banned then it will put even more pressure on the team to go and win it, it's their main goal but it's the same as PSG. It won't be easy.
United linked with more midfielders they don't need
Manchester United have been linked with Saul Niguez from Atletico Madrid again, and for me looking at the situation, Pogba is back, Fernandes is there, they have McTominay who needs to play regularly because he's young and is doing so well, Mata is there, Matic is there who is great at what he does and to put one more in the mix is only okay if you are going to use them and have them playing regularly because that transfer will probably cost a lot of money.
In my opinion, I think they have enough quality in the team anyway, especially with Pogba coming back, but maybe Solskjaer has a different decision and he has decided that they need someone to strengthen there.
There have also been reports about United being interested in Jack Grealish, last week Sancho was their top target, this week it's Grealish, next week it will be somebody else.
There are so many players associated with a move to United at the moment, it is a good thing I suppose and for the players it boost their reputation. I can see Grealish being a better fit at United than someone else, he is used to the Premier League and he is producing great goals and assists. But, he is similar to Fernandes, Pogba and Mata in a way and you don't want too much similarity in your team. With all these names mentioned it is going to be interesting to see if they actually sign any of them or maybe nobody will go because for me they have enough midfield players.
Once they have finished this season, and players are out of contract or leave, then they may need someone. But if all of them stay, and they buy two more, then they will have to let a couple go, or if players aren't happy then they need to go to the manager and tell them they aren't happy with all other players in the same position.
Looking forward to Spain's title race
Before next week's Premier League return we have Spanish football's comeback this week and I am looking forward to seeing how the La Liga title race pans out. It's really tight at the moment and I am leaning towards Barcelona to retain there title. I like the football they have been playing and of course they have the Messi factor, even though he may be slightly injured his presence will be a big factor.
When there are reports of a Messi injury, it's always a worry. If he thinks he is ready for the first game and he goes in but he isn't 100% and the injury gets worse, then they have a big problem on their hands.
If he stays fit, we all know what he can do. It's a big decision to make whether to risk him in the first game or not.
I am sure that he will be desperate to play every game, even though he might have a pain somewhere he will want to play, as a player that is always the case, you need the coaching team to paint you the bigger picture so you can understand how vital and important you are for the team. If your injury gets worse then you will miss more matches and the team will be without you which will be a massive problem. Personally, I think it is best if they don't risk him in this first game.
I am going to be watching the matches and I like watching the way Barcelona play. Since Ronaldo left I haven't been watching as many Real Madrid matches.
Real Madrid have some great players and I am a big admirer of Gareth Bale who I hope will get a chance to play and show how good he is between now and the end of the season, I'm sure if he does play he could also have an impact on the title race. Both Barcelona and Real Madrid will be hoping for no injures, because it's not easy to comeback from such a long time off and play at such a high level.
Saturday 3 August, 1.00pm