Champions League draw winners & losers: Ronaldo, Messi outlooks contrast; Chelsea gets tough challenge2020/12/17 20:24
After the draw was made for the last 16 of the Champions League, Goal breaks down the winners and losers ahead of the ties in 2021.
With the group stages out of the way, the prospect of Champions League knockout football is very much on the horizon following Monday's last-16 draw.
As always, there were a number of eye-catching ties, including a heavyweight clash between Barcelona and Paris Saint-Germain as well as tough challenges for Premier League giants Chelsea and Liverpool against Atletico Madrid and RB Leipzig, respectively.
But who will be happiest with the way the draw turned out? And who will be a little concerned about potentiall progression to the latter stages in the spring?
Goal runs through the winners and losers from Monday's draw.
MORE: See the complete Champions League draw here
Champions League draw winners & losers
Winner: Cristiano Ronaldo
As the only side in the draw left who does not play in a 'Top Five' European league, whomever drew Porto was always likely to be pretty pleased with themselves.
That honour went to Juventus, meaning a return to his homeland for Cristiano Ronaldo.
It has been 11 years since the former Sporting C.P. winger last played at Porto, when his incredible 40-yard helped send Manchester United into the Champions League semi-finals at the expense of their Portuguese opponents.
Though that season did not end in European glory for the Red Devils, Ronaldo has won the competition on five occasions, and was brought to Turin to end the Bianconeri's 25-year wait to get their hands on the trophy.
He could have done little more in his first two seasons with Juve, but is the only player to score for them in six knockout games since 2019 and will hope for more help from his team-mates going forward this time around.
Ronaldo has started the current season in brilliant form, scoring 17 goals in as many appearances including a double against Barcelona at Camp Nou on Tuesday, and should be able to add to his account against Porto despite the underdogs having kept clean sheets in each of their last five European outings.
Of all the sides in the unseeded half of the draw, Atletico Madrid were seen by many as the team to avoid, and as such Frank Lampard and Chelsea can count themselves unlucky to land the Rojiblancos at this stage of the competition.
Diego Simeone’s side are notoriously difficult to get past in two-legged ties, and pulled off a famous victory over defending champions Liverpool in last season’s competition.
Such has been Atleti's form this season that if they were to win their two league games in hand, they would sit six points clear at the top of La Liga, with their only defeats this term coming against Bayern Munich and Real Madrid.
And though Chelsea cruised through their group in impressive form, the likes of Luis Suarez, Joao Felix and the returning Diego Costa will present a testing challenge for Lampard’s young side.
Winner: Pep Guardiola
After signing a two-year contract extension with Manchester City , Pep Guardiola has three more shots at ending the club’s wait for Champions League success.
He would have hoped for as straightforward a tie as possible to begin the knockout stages this time around, and with Borussia Monchengladbach perhaps the weakest of the seven teams that City could have been potentially paired with, the Catalan will likely be pretty pleased with the result.
The Bundesliga outfit surprisingly came through a difficult Champions League group that included Real Madrid and Inter, though they failed to beat either side over four games and qualified thanks to heavy wins over Shakhtar Donetsk.
Guardiola has come unstuck against inferior sides in Europe, such as Monaco, Tottenham and Lyon, before during his time at City, but his team will be overwhelming favourites against a side that currently sit eighth in the German top-flight.
Loser: Lionel Messi
Lionel Messi has cut a miserable figure for the past six months at Camp Nou, and Monday's draw is unlikely to have altered his mood.
Barcelona surrendered a their place among the top seeds with a dismal defeat in their last group game at home to Juventus, and their reward is a difficult tie against French champions Paris Saint-Germain.
PSG have generally underperformed in Europe, but will have gained confidence from reaching the final for the first time last year before losing to Bayern Munich.
Neymar may be struggling to face his old side if the ankle injury he picked up on Sunday turns out to be serious, but Thomas Tuchel's side will still believe that they have more quality to make it through to the quarter-finals.
It is now six years since Messi last lifted the Champions League, and his best chance of winning it this season might be to negotiate a January move to one of Barca’s rivals!
Winners: Real Madrid
Everything seems to be starting to click into gear at Real Madrid after three wins in a big week for Zinedine Zidane's side.
A matchday six victory over Gladbach saw them qualify for the knockout stages, with results elsewhere meaning they also finished top of their group.
Back-to-back league victories away to Sevilla and then against Atletico Madrid, meanwhile, have put them firmly back in the Spainish title race.
In the last 16 they have been paird with Atalanta, who were one of the surprise packages of last season’s Champions League, reaching the quarter-finals.
But there is tension between manager Gian Piero Gasperini and some of his players, which is threatening to derail the Serie A club's campaign.
Zidane has a remarkable record in Europe, winning three Champions Leagues in just four attempts, though he will need to correct a poor run of home form in the competition that has seen them fail to win their last five knockout games on Spanish soil.
Loser: Jurgen Klopp
Injuries have stretched Liverpool’s squad this season, and if Jurgen Klopp was hoping for an easier route to the quarter-finals in Europe, he did not get it.
RB Leipzig are strong opponents, with Julian Nagelsmann's side at the centre of a fierce Bundesliga title race having squeezed through a tricky Champions League group that included both PSG and Manchester United.
Leipzig showed their fearlessness and quality in last season’s competition, where they knocked out Tottenham and Atletico Madrid on their way to the semi-finals.
Nagelsmaan has faced Klopp’s Liverpool in Europe before when his Hoffenheim side were comfortably beaten in the 2017 qualifying rounds, but his exciting young Leipzig side will provide a much tougher test for the Reds this time around.
Source : https://www.sportingnews.com/us/soccer/news/champions-league-draw-winners-losers-ronaldo-messi/1j4a76if541fv11e7zadmf9a45