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After Manchester United’s incredible comeback against PSG and Ajax upsetting the reigning champions, the chills of the Champions League are here. With the impossible becoming a possibility, every team has a chance to win it all.
8. FC Porto
FC Porto had one of the most favorable draws in their opponent as they played AS Roma. Not to say Roma isn’t quality side, but compared to the other teams, this was one of the better options for Porto. They managed to get through on aggregate after losing the first leg 2-1.
In terms of the other teams, Porto plays in somewhat of a lesser league. The last Portuguese side to win the Champions League was Porto back in 2004. The Champions League is typically dominated by the Italian, Spanish, German, and English teams. I’m not counting them completely out, but they are going to have an uphill battle, especially since they’ve drawn Liverpool as their next opponent in the quarterfinals.
7. AFC Ajax
AFC Ajax is coming off of the biggest upset in the Champions League so far this season. They took down Real Madrid, who won this competition for the last 3 seasons. Granted they beat a Real Madrid side with no Cristiano Ronaldo, it still featured Ballon d’or winner, Luka Modric.
Similarly to Porto, Ajax plays in a division with lesser quality than that of the other teams left. Unfortunately for them, they drew Juventus in the quarterfinals, who is one of the favorites to win it all. They boast the youngest roster out of the remaining teams, but after accomplishing what seemed impossible for them, can they do it again?
6. Tottenham Hotspur
This is where this list starts to get tough. Tottenham Hotspur had a dominant performance in the round of 16, defeating Borussia Dortmund 4-0 on aggregate. In their history, they have not had the greatest of success in European competitions, this being their first quarterfinal appearance since 2011.
For the past few years now, they’ve had the talent to win, but have lacked killer instinct to bring it home. For the quarterfinals, Tottenham Hotspur drew a familiar opponent, Manchester City. Being in the same league, these 2 sides know each other well. If Tottenham were to pull off a win against City, they’d potentially have to play Juventus.
5. Manchester United
Manchester United are coming off a historic comeback victory over PSG. They were down 2-0 going into the away leg and managed to finish the game 3-1. This is the first time in the history of the Champions League that a team lost their home game by 2-0 and overcame that deficit in the away leg. Important to note, they did this without half of their starters eligible to play.
United players and fans are feeling invincible, and are going to need to be pretty close to that as they face FC Barcelona in the quarterfinals. The last two times they have met in the Champions League, Barcelona won both times in the final (2009 and 2011). United will look to carry their incredible victory into this matchup to avenge the teams of United’s past against Lionel Messi and Barcelona.
Liverpool were in a tough matchup with German side, as FC Bayern Munich managed to win comfortably. The first leg finished 0-0, and the second leg finished 3-1 in Liverpool’s favor. They have been slipping a bit in the Premier League, but have come to show out in the Champions League.
Liverpool had potentially the best draw out of any team , as they now play FC Porto. Liverpool made it to the Champions League final last year, and with the path becoming seemingly easier, they may do it again. If they manage to get through, Liverpool will either face FC Barcelona or Manchester Untied.
Cristiano Ronaldo continued to stuff the scoresheet for Juventus against Atheltico Madrid. Juventus went into the second leg down 2-0, and on the shoulders of Ronaldo, they managed to overcome the deficit. He scored a hat-trick in this game, a feat he accomplished in 2016 against Wolfsburg (also down 2-0 after the first leg).
Juventus earned a favorable matchup in the quarterfinals and will play AFC Ajax. Although it is favorable, Real Madrid were taken down by this team. Should Juventus win over two legs, then they would face the winner of Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur.
2. Manchester City
Manchester City had the most convincing win of the teams in the quarterfinals, dismantling Schalke 04 by a score of 7-0 in the second leg for a 10-2 scoreline on aggregate. This was a comfortable victory for the reigning English champions. The success they are displaying shows that City are trending in the right direction with European competitions.
City have been great in the Premier League, but have continued to lack quality in the Champions League. There has been rumors that Pep Guardiola may leave City at the end of the season, but perhaps a strong Champions League run would convince him to stay?
1. FC Barcelona
It isn’t a surprise that the two best players in the world in Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi show up when their teams need them. Barcelona went into the second leg tied 0-0 with Olympique Lyon. At the Camp Nou is where Barcelona shined by winning 5-1, with Messi totaling 2 goals and 2 assists.
Barcelona might have the “easiest” road to the final, at least compared to everyone else. They play Manchester United, who are coming off a monumental victory, and if they were to win, they’d play Liverpool or Porto. The offensive talent that is featured in this Barcelona side may prove to be too much to handle, especially led by a motivated Messi.
Featured Image source: SkySports