After some enthralling encounters in the last 16, the quarter-final draw has taken place in the Champions League.
The draw is as follows:
Malaga v Borussia Dortmund
Real Madrid v Galatasaray
PSG v Barcelona
Bayern Munich v Juventus
With no English teams remaining, the likeliest candidates will certainly be Real Madrid and Barcelona. It may be a tiresome fixture at times, as they clash so often and the football is frequently overshadowed by petulance and red cards. There remains a chance that the two Spanish giants will clash in the Champions League.
There were some great classic two-legged ties in the last 16, but the fixture which stood out before the round, and after the round, was Cristiano Ronaldo’s homecoming against Manchester United.
After a 1-1 draw in the first leg, Manchester United took on Real Madrid, perhaps as favorites, at Old Trafford. Of course Ronaldo was going to monopolize the media. It just had to happen, didn’t it?
The very harsh red card Nani was given certainly changed the game. Although it was a moment of brilliance from ex-Tottenham midfielder Luka Modric, and a wonderful move for Ronaldo’s winner, United have every right to feel aggrieved.
But there’s a little something special about Mourinho and the Champions League. He’s won it twice before, and probably will again. Could it be this year?
Another incredible tie was AC Milan and Barcelona. After a first leg which Milan deservedly won 2-0, immobilizing Messi and clinically taking their chances, many wrote the Catalans off.
But the comeback from the Spaniards in the second leg was unbelievable. There’s simply no stopping Messi in this form, when he glides past players and smashes goals in from the tightest of areas so emphatically.
The tie which might stand out for some, is Bayern and Juventus. It’s Germany’s best against Italy’s best. They are quite well matched on paper.
There are so many good battles all over the pitch in this game. Bayern’s flair, tough tackling and strong midfield is a factor. They are very creative in advanced positions, with Ribery and Kroos both in great form. They have options up front too, with the all round forward Mandzukic and the poacher Mario Gomez who is currently second choice.
Juventus are a very organised 11. They retain the ball well and have pace to burn with the jet-heeled Giovinco. There aren’t too many better midfielders than the old master Pirlo, who dominates games at his own pace. A flawless touch and peripheral vision, he is one of the greatest Italian players.
But it’s impossible to write any team off in this competition. And despite losing a lot of big teams at earlier stages, there are still many top players still in the competition capable of winning games with a swing of the foot.
There will be many more posts to come to analyse this sensational tournament.