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Men in Blazers: European Nights with Rory Smith, Presented by Paramount+

Episode One: February 15, 2022

Rog sits down with the New York Times Chief Soccer Correspondent Rory Smith for the first in a series of Pods on the history of Champions League ties. Rog and Rory discuss the history and identity of PSG that QSI has endeavored to change and the waning power of their opponents Real Madrid (08:23). Then, Rory takes us through Liverpool opponents Inter's disastrous financial project with the Suning company that led to last summer's fire sale (26:27). A quick word for the RB Salzburg project taking on Bayern (35:05), and on to Rory's excitement for the Europa League (41:04), and just what exactly is the Conference League (48:33).

Episode Two: February 22, 2022

Today, the big story is Atletico Madrid, the social history surrounding the club, the mythical Diego Simeone, and more (6:24). Then, an examination of the Lille model that has seen their players become transfer centerpieces time and again and led them to a Ligue 1 title in 2021 before it all fell apart (27:44). A quick look at Rangers and their journey from the lowest of the low to beating Dortmund last week in the first leg of the Europa League (39:09), and finally the football story of the year: Bodø/Glimt (48:34).

Episode Three: March 8, 2022

First, Rog and Rory touch briefly on the potential impacts of Roman Abramovic's sale of Chelsea (3:16) Our main story today is the Red Bull football project that began with RB Salzburg in 2005, both the successful elements that have become European standards, and the vehement fan pushback in Austria and Germany (8:33). Then, a quick look at now the abolition of away goals could impact the knockout rounds (30:43), and finally over to the Europa League to look at the unprecedented level of success maintained in the competition by Sevilla (37:14).

Episode Four: March 15, 2022

First up, Rory recounts his experience at the Bernabéu last week to watch Benzema's incredible hat trick (2:49). The main story today is Juventus, their tradition at the pinnacle of Italy, the Calciopoli scandal, and the abandonment of long term strategy that has led to their recent decline (8:38). Then, a quick look at the UK's sanctions on Roman Abramovich and how it will change ownership trends in football (27:35), and finally over to the Europa League to examine La Liga overachievers Real Betis and their incredible life philosophy (33:45).

Episode Five: April 5, 2022

Ahead of Chelsea vs Real Madrid, we look at the main man for the visitors, Karim Benzema, his origins, complicated football path, and legacy (5:02). Then, a quick look at tiny Villarreal's incredible quarterfinal berth under Unai Emery (27:18), and finally, a look at possible Europa League favorites Atalanta and their trill seeking style of football (38:51).

Episode Six: April 12, 2022

First up, the second leg of Atletico Madrid vs Manchester City, their peculiar and polar opposite approaches to football built in the images of managers Guardiola and Simeone (3:30). Then, a walk through how Xavi has turned the tide at Barcelona and the story of the young star at the center of it, Pedri (23:54). Finally, Rory gives a sneak preview of his upcoming piece interviewing fans of Conference League teams who have fallen in love with the tournament (36:10).

Episode 7: April 26, 2022

Rory recounts his experience at the Wanda Metropolitana as Atletico Madrid tried to rattle Manchester City (3:34). Then, on to City's next match against Real Madrid and the clubs' respective relationships with UEFA and its competitions (5:55). In the other semifinal, Rory examines the logistics of Liverpool's quadruple pursuit and what truths about modern football lie therein (24:25). And finally, a look at Frankfurt in the Europa League and Marseille in the Conference League (35:56).

Episode 8: May 3, 2022

Rory describes the atmosphere in the Etihad as Benzema's score his panenka, and what we can discern from the contrast of City and Real Madrid's goals (03:11). Then, a look at how Carlo Ancelotti became football's foremost power broker at mega clubs (12:09). In the other semifinal, Rory details seeing Thiago in the flesh and how he represents a new maturity of this Liverpool side (21:52), and finally, with both leading their Europa League ties, why Frankfurt vs Leipzig would be more than a Europa League final, but a war of ideas (30:28).