Mumbai: Aiming for a third successive Champions League crown in as many years, reigning champions Real Madrid will however have to overcome the might of France Paris St-Germain in the round of 16, while fellow La Liga giants FC Barcelona face the defending English Premier League (EPL) champions Chelsea in the two- legged battle.
Les Parisiens, who were unfortunately knocked out by a miraculous Barcelona win at Camp Nou in the CL round of 16 last season, have only become stronger this term, with the addition two record signing in Neymar Jr and youth sensation Kylian Mbappe and is tipped by many as the tournament favourites.
Madrid on the other hand have had a slow start this season after a glorious last term that saw them win both the La Liga and the Champions League. Los Blancos finished second in their group behind Tottenham after losing to the English side at Wembley.
“It could have been the final, for the power of the two clubs, but that happens in a draw — luck plays a role. We will meet them in the last 16, which is a bit early, we could say. Logically we are both challengers for the trophy,” said Real’s director of institutional relations, Emilio Butragueno, as quoted by beIN Sports.
Meanwhile, EPL champions Chelsea paid the same price for finishing second behind AS Roma and now will have to overcome a revitalised Barcelona, who under Ernesto Valverde have become a force to reckon after a torrid season last term.
“Chelsea are a strong and physical team, with a clear tactical system in place. They take advantage of the physical nature of the Premier League well. And with the signing of [Alvaro] Morata they’ve added pace in attack, while [Eden] Hazard is very good between the lines,” said the Catalan coach.
Manchester City who set a new record of 14 consecutive victories in the EPL with a 2-1 being over United will face Swish side FC Basel and stand with one of the best chances to qualify for the next round.
Five time CL champions Bayern Munich will take on Besiktas, despite finishing behind PSG in the group who got a stronger opponent for their round of 16 clash.
Among the other Premier League clubs, Europa League champions Manchester Untied will for the first time face Sevilla in an European competition, while Liverpool have to overcome Fc Porto. Surprise package Tottenham Hotspur who finished above Real Madrid in their group however face Juventus in the next round, a side that has made to two of the last three Champions League (CL) finals and will hope to top the final hurdle this time around.
“Wembley awaits us, one of the sacred temples of this sport. Spurs are young and talented, but if we’re #Juve we’ll make it!” wrote Lady Turin boss Massimiliano Allegri on his Twitter handle.
The first legged matches will be played on February 13-14 and 20-21 while the return fixtures will take place on March 6-7 and March 13-14.
Juventus vs. Tottenham Hotspur
Basel vs. Manchester City
Porto vs. Liverpool
Sevilla vs. Manchester United
Real Madrid vs. Paris Saint-Germain
Shakhtar Donetsk vs. Roma
Chelsea vs. Barcelona
Bayern Munich vs. Besiktas