Why there's still work for ex-Portsmouth, Middlesbrough and Peterborough man to do to complete Belgian fairytale and secure Champions League dream

The season is not done for former Pompey defender Christian Burgess – despite being in an unassailable position at the top of the Belgian Jupiler Pro League.

By Pepe Lacey
Tuesday, 5th April 2022, 4:55 am

The ex-Blues favourite has been part of fairytale story as his club Royale Union Saint-Gilloise rose to prominence, after a promotion to the top flight last season

Union have finished the regular campaign at the summit of the Belgium first division - after a 3-1 triumph over 13th-placed Standard Liege on Sunday.

You’d be forgiven for thinking with an unbridgeable five-point gap over second placed team Club Brugge, the silverware was in the bag and Champions League football was assured.

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Christian Burgess secured top spot in the Jupiler Pro League on Sunday but now faces a new issue that's preventing him from further Belgium glory.

Despite sitting in an unassailable position at the top of the table, there is still more work to be done before Felice Mazzu’s men clinch the title, however.

The result sparked wild scenes of celebrations with Union supporters, as well as a number of the Fratton faithful congratulating the former Blues favourite on social media.

But Burgess’ team will now have to play in a six-game round robin between the top four to determine the outright winners – as well as Champions League qualifiers.

Second-placed side Club Brugge have already secured their place alongside USG, while Antwerp, Anderlecht and Gent will all battle it out on the final weekend of the season to reach the play-offs.

The eventual top four’s points will then be halved and the winners of the six-game round robin will be crowned champions - as well as qualifying for the Champions League.

Top spot of the Pro League has rarely in doubt for the former Peterborough defender, whose side have sat at the summit since the 11th game of the campaign.

Burgess joined Union in 2020 after a five year stay at Fratton Park as he failed to negotiate fresh terms with the Blues, following a successful season where he was awarded The News/Sports Mail’s player of the year for the curtailed 2019-20 season.

Since his arrival in the continent the central defender’s stock has risen significantly, helping Union comfortably win Pro League Division B by 18 points in his first term.

And the amazing story has continued this term, with Burgess amassing 27 appearances as well as scoring four times – helping his side to top spot.

Now the 30-year-old is just seven games away from further domestic glory in Belgium - along with the prospect of going up against the likes of Messi, Mbappe and Haaland next season.

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