There are things that money can buy, others it cannot, and some that it makes a lot easier.

Success in the Champions League falls into the latter category, with money spent offering no hard and fast guarantees, but certainly going a long way to giving a team an advantage.
On Wednesday night, the semi-final between Paris Saint-Germain and Manchester City features two teams who know this well, having spent heavily over the last decade to propel themselves to the near the pinnacle of the European game, but with one final hurdle remaining elusive.
Few teams on the planet can compete with PSG and Man City when it comes to transfer fees and wages and they consistently boast immensely talented squads, but until they achieve the ultimate goal of being crowned Champions League winners, they will not truly take their place at Europe’s top table.
The Champions League is arguably the elite competition in club football; it is where the best European teams want to measure themselves these days, with domestic success of faded importance in terms of evaluating a team’s merits or a manager’s success.
A glance at the list of winners in recent years reveals a small group of usual suspects, an exclusive club that is hard to get into, as PSG and Man City will attest to.
Both clubs have super-wealthy backers who crave the Champions League trophy and neither project will be deemed successful until they not only get their hands on it but become perennial contenders.
The money spent by PSG and Man City suggests that their Champions League performances in recent years have been a disappointment and that they should already be challenging more regularly.
In the last six seasons, including the present one, City have spent over one billion euros on transfer fees, yet they have reached the semi-finals of the Champions League just twice, in 2016 and 2021, with their record in the intervening years reading: last 16, quarter finals, quarter finals, quarter finals.
In the same period, PSG have also spent big, to the tune of almost 800 million euros, and have likewise had a less than impressive return for their money: quarter-final, last 16, last 16, last 16, runners-up, and now semi-finals again.
More than 1.8 billion euros spent between them with, whichever way this tie goes, just two final appearances in six seasons to show for it.
That is why the pressure is building on both these clubs to begin to deliver and why both will be desperate to make this year, finally, their year.
That is what makes Wednesday’s first leg so fascinating as this semi-final offers a huge opportunity to these teams desperate to prove they belong to a higher rank, but only one will get the chance to put a new name on the trophy this year.
It is the battle between two relative newcomers who want to show they deserve to be mentioned alongside European giants such as Real Madrid, Barcelona, Bayern Munich, Liverpool or even Chelsea – the five teams who have won the last ten Champions Leagues.
If we are to have a new winner of the famous trophy this year, it will have to be Man City’s year or PSG’s, but first they must face each other.