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Champions League Draw Round of 16: Ronaldo vs Messi and more

By Mezie-Akabudu Kachimsimerem, December 13, 2021.

Manchester United (Man U) will face Paris Saint-Germain PSG in the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 according to the draws held on Monday.

PSG, 2019 finalists and United last met in the group stage of last year’s edition and will square up again in what is the toughest fixture of the round. It seems like we are going to have a very good round of 16 clash as two champions league giants face up in Man U vs PSG.

Ronaldo vs Messi seems like another el-classico to remember, as the previous meeting between Ronaldo and Messi at the group stage last season went  the Portuguese all time leading goalscorers way, he will be hoping to be able to carry his united side pass a very strong PSG side.

Although the likes of Cristiano, Fernandes, Dalot would have there Portugal dreams of going to the world cup edging very close to the dates scheduled for the second leg of the champions league tie against PSG many Red Devil fans would be hoping for full focus in the game. Manchester United fans could get some breathing space seeing as Neymar may be out for that fixture due to injury and the likes of Varane, Pogba would be available for Ralf Ragnick’s side, another positive a Red fan could get would be Messi’s poor form in front of goal in his domestic league but there are signs of light at the PSG dugout as Mbappe continues to shine and Messi is having a good UCL run with 4 goals.

Rumors had it that the Paris boss Mauricio Pochettino was a very good potential man for the United job when they parted ways with club legend Ole Gunnar Solskjær after a disappointing run of games including losing to Watford and a stumping 5-0 defeat in the hands of Liverpool. The round of 16 games promises to be a classic one especially the meeting of two of football all time greatest in Man U vs PSG.

Another classic game is expected to be Atheltico Madrid who takes on German side Bayern Munich who are looking to collect back there medal which they relinquished to Chelsea last time out. It promises to be no less than the game in Paris and England as ballon d’or runner up Lewandoski would be looking to add to his tally of 9 champions league goal the only player to score more in this season’s champions league is Ajax’s Sebastian Haller with 10 goals to his name with Ajax taking on Inter milan, the Serie A title winners would want to stamp there dominance all across Europe too and not just domestically but they would have to face a very well structured Erik Ten Hag Ajax side who are giving it their all in this champions league season almost like 3 years ago when they went all out and reached the semi finals but where beaten on away goals by miraculos fight back from Tottenham Hotspurs. With both sides doing comfortably in there domestic leagues.

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Last season’s winners Chelsea tackle last season Ligue 1 winners Lille, Chelsea legend Eden Hazard coming from Lille back in 2012 as a young boy and now his boyhood club take on his former side after his big money move to Real Madrid. Chelsea would be looking to keep there champions league trophy at London but Lille won’t make it an easy win for them with in form striker Jonathan David looking to add to his tally of 3 champions league goals and 14 goals across all competitions. Last season’s champions league runners up Manchester city look to face off their noisy neighbours group stage opponent Villareal in what seems to be a nice fixture for the Citizens who would be looking for their first champions league crown.

Salzburg would have a lot on their plate as they take on 2019 winners and first english team to win all group stage games Liverpool who are having a season to remember with Virgil Van Dijk back fit and Salah back in devastating form, it would be a bit tough for Salzburg to be able to pull a win from that game but with Mo Salah and Sadio Mane going away for National duties in the African Cup of Nations (AFCON) a bit of hope from the  Salzburg supporters that they would progress in the AFCON and not being able to come back 100% linked with their teammates for the clash with the Austrian side.

While former employers of Cristriano Ronaldo take stage as Juventus (Old Lady) hosts Sporting Lisbon. The Old Lady have found life tough domestically but excelled brilliantly in the champions league and fans would hope for more of that success to continue,  ever since getting to the finals in the 2016/17 season the Old Lady have been forced out of the champions league at the quarter finals twice in 2017/18 and 2018/19 respectively before very recently exiting at the group stage in 2019/20 and 2020/21 it’s been ever disappointing for the Old Lady.

Also Benfica will take on Real Madrid (Los Blancos) the champions league all time highest winners with 13 trophies, it promises to be a very good game many would favour Real Madrid to edge over Benfica but they were able to qualify via Barcelona who would be playing in the Europa league since the early 2000’s before Messi joined the club but with Real Madrid’s devastating league form many would see nothing but a win for the Los Blancos.

And remember this season of the champions league will be like no other as the away goals rule has been lifted unlike years back if you get 2 home goals and your opponent get one away goal and at the reverse fixture your opponents  get one goal which would be at his home this time around and you fail to score an away goal, then your opponent will proceed to the next round on the away goal rule, exactly how Tottenham made that famous comeback 3-3 away from home to advance to the finals which Liverpool eventually won, in other case if the same scenario happens the game would proceed to extra time and then if there is no winner yet then to penalties.

 

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