By Tim Stannard
While Unai Emery has been-there, done-that, won-the-trophies, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is looking for his first Manchester United success as coach
For some players, Unai Emery can drive them nuts. For others, the 49-year-old Spaniard can deliver medals that might not ordinarily have come.
Sports Burst remembers watching the then Valencia manager spend several minutes crouching on the sidelines and directing a center-back to shuffle forwards and backwards in increments of twenty inches, in the middle of a fairly low-key match against Getafe. In the end, the defender just brushed his coach off with an exasperated wave. That was the wrong move as Emery is very much a details guy.
Despite being a coach with quite the number of firings in his resume, Unai Emery has had an awful lot of success as well, especially in his guise as Mr Europa League, replete with tiara and sash. The Spanish manager has won the tournament three times with Sevilla, was a finalist with Arsenal and has now gotten through to the final again with a third team - Villarreal.
A player who knows Emery all too well from his spell at PSG, Edinson Cavani, will be on the opposite side in today's final in Gdansk, Poland and is definitely an admirer of the tactics-obsessed manager - "he's a hard-working coach. And that is why he has won titles, trophies wherever he's worked."
While Emery has won league, cup and European titles in his career, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer needs to build up his coaching portfolio which currently consists of a couple of Norwegian league titles. There is still nothing to show for his two-and-a-half seasons with Manchester United. "It might be the stepping stone for a big future," said Solskjaer hopefully on what would be United's first major prize in four years.
Except Mr Europa League is standing - and often crouching - in the way on Wednesday.
Koeman set for another season at Barcelona
Time for a quick who's staying and who's moving round up for Wednesday.
In the moving camp - possibly - we have Cristiano Ronaldo who is following the cryptic breadcrumbs approach designed by Neymar to hint at leaving Juventus. A lengthy Instagram post was part possible hint of a Juventus departure and a reminder to everyone of all the stuff he has won and how great he is compared to you.
Christophe Galtier is definitely leaving Lille though, just a couple of days after leading the team to the Ligue 1 trophy. It's as good a time to go as any and the French coach is now being linked with the vacant job at Lyon and will reportedly meet today to discuss terms.
Ronald Koeman might actually be staying at Barcelona after all, despite assumptions of the contrary. Talks have been ongoing and the vibe from the Catalan capital is that the Dutchman might be back again next season. Over in Madrid, it's still crickets in terms of news of Coach Zizou's future.
Will Boca be the weakest against The Strongest?
The 2021 Copa Libertadores has begun the final matchday of the group stages. River Plate might want to contemplate playing with an injured midfielder in goal and just 11 available players more often because Tuesday night saw the Argentinean side lose 3-1 at home to Fluminense despite a more conventional line-up. River will still move through to the Last 16 having finished in second, behind the Brazilians.
Wednesday's drama is centered on Boca Juniors who have a must-win match against The Strongest (actually the weakest in the group). Anything less than a win and Santos could take a spot in the next round leaving Boca Juniors out in the cold.
Boca Juniors vs. The Strongest is live on beIN SPORTS from 8PM ET / 5PM PT and is just one of all six games on Wednesday available across the network.