The Premier League has marked its return to prominence on the European stage as stunning Champions League comebacks from Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur to make the final was followed by Arsenal and Chelsea booking their place in the Europa League final.
For the first time ever all four finalists will come from the same country, prompting concerns on the continent over the Premier League’s wealth and status thanks to huge television rights deals.
The English sweep on the football field comes, ironically, as the United Kingdom wrestles with Brexit, the painful and protracted withdrawal from the European Union.
Only twice before in European football — the 1972 UEFA Cup and 2008 Champions League — had two English teams contested a final.
But now two will take place in the space of four days as Arsenal and Chelsea square off in a London derby, 4,500 km (2,800 miles) from home, in Baku on May 29 before Liverpool and Tottenham clash in Madrid on June 1.
“A full English,” ran the headline on the back of British newspaper the Daily Mirror, while Spanish sports daily AS said: “Football does not know about Brexit.”
Liverpool, last year’s runners-up to Real Madrid, ended Spain’s five-year grip on the continent’s top club prize as they shocked Lionel Messi and Barcelona with a stunning 4-0 win at Anfield to overturn a 3-0 first leg deficit. Tottenham drew inspiration from the Reds to also come back from a 3-0 aggregate deficit as Ajax led 2-0 on the night in Amsterdam before Lucas Moura’s second half hat-trick sent Spurs into their first Champions League final.