World’s most glorious club football competition the UEFA champions league returns tomorrow after a long winter break and a busy transfer window.
We look at the fiercest clashes which will take place this week
PSG Vs Real Madrid The most mouth-watering encounter is that of — European royalties Paris saint Germain and 13 times champions Real Madrid. Having already faced each other couple times over the last few years, Real Madrid has had the upper hand most of the time. This equation has changed from last few years after the departure of Cristiano Ronaldo from Real Madrid.
In a decade of Qatari ownership and consequent substantial spending, PSG has yet to win the Champions League, with a final defeat to Bayern Munich in 2020 being the closest they have come.
Messi, Neymar, and Kylian Mbappe are three of the best forwards in the world and will look to win the champions league with PSG.
PSG VS Real Madrid – Wednesday 1:30 am IST
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All English Front
Manchester City vs. Sporting Lisbon
Lille vs Chelsea
Manchester United vs. Atletico Madrid
Liverpool vs. Inter Milan
For the fourth time in five seasons, at least four English teams are in the last 16 of the Champions League, this time with a game to spare.
Three of them are among the four betting favourites to win the competition, according to the bookies (Manchester City, Bayern Munich, Liverpool and Chelsea).
All of England’s teams will face domestic champions from four of Europe’s next five best leagues (Spain, Italy, France, Portugal).
Absence of FC Barcelona
Barcelona is not in the Champions League knockout stages for the first time in 18 years.
their exit from the champions league was seen as Barcelona’s “resignation from the football elite” as described by the Spanish newspaper AS.
Their leaving may seem unusual at first, but it may save them from greater embarrassment in the future which was seen in 8-2 thumping against Bayern Munich.
Away goal rule scrapped
These will be the first knockout stages of the Champions League since Uefa abolished the away goals rule.
All ties with the same score after two legs will now be decided by extra time and penalties.
It has the potential to transform the way knockout games are played. Under the new regulations, Tottenham’s memorable victories over Ajax and City would have gone to extra time.
A Cocktail of the best
The last 16 teams come from eight different leagues – including knockout debutants Red Bull Salzburg.
Salzburg, Ajax, Benfica and Sporting Lisbon mean there are more teams from outside Europe’s top five leagues than in the previous three years combined (Porto in 2021 and 2019 and Ajax in 2019).