Tottenham Hotspur Clint Dempsey is preparing for a Europa League battle with Panathinaikos in Greece, and he wants to win the tournament that most of the world thinks is sort of “meh list.”
“The prestige is there,” the American star said before the game. “You get to play against some of best clubs in Europe. That’s why we are all excited about the possibility of going on a run and doing something special.”
Dempsey knows of what he speaks, having played in the final with Fulham where the Cottagers lost to Atletico Madrid. And there’s some truth to his logic: the Europa league is better than most people believe (and fun to watch to boot).
But… it makes us sad to hear Dempsey talk like this. Remember the heady days of the summer when he was going transfer to a club where he could play in the Champions League? Those were the fun times. Then, it got ugly, then uglier, and Dempsey ended up with the Spurs. Not a bad place to land, of course, but not CL, at least this year.
He knows, he knows:
“Playing at the highest level possible is what you dream about as a kid growing up in a small town. You see these people on TV and you always push yourself because you want to try to get to that level. This club deserves to be in the Champions League really as they finished fourth last year. It was only because of a technicality that they didn’t.”
Luckily, this is football and there’s always next season. The Spurs currently sit in fifth, one spot (and one point) out of a CL spot. It’s going to be a tough slog to get there, but hopefully it will happen. Dempsey belongs in the best competition in the world.
In the meantime, there’s always the Europa Cup. On some level, a cup is a cup is a cup. Raise it high, raise it proud.