CHAMPIONS LEAGUE

Real Madrid, Barça, Atlético... Champions League draw

The capital city clubs could face Bayern, City or Liverpool with Real Madrid facing the prospect of a reunion with Cristiano Ronaldo and Juventus.

Real Madrid, Barça, Atlético... Champions League draw
THILO SCHMUELGEN REUTERS

With the Champions League group stage completed, all eyes (and a few stomachs) will turn to next Monday’s draw for the knock-out rounds, and in Spain the focus will be on who Real Madrid, Barcelona, Atlético and Valencia will be paired with in the last 16.

On the face of it, Real and Atlético have the toughest potential draw having finished second in their respective groups, meaning that the capital based clubs could be thrown up against Bayern Munich, Manchester City, Juventus or reigning European champions Liverpool. The best outcome for both Madrid and Atlético would be to draw RB Leipzig, winners of Group G and on paper the softest touch available to Zinedine Zidane and Diego Simeone.

In the case of Valencia and Barça, things do not look so grim as they finished as group winners and will avoid the heavyweights in the round of 16.

Pot 1: PSG, Bayern Munich, Manchester City, Juventus, Liverpool, Barcelona, RB Leipzig, Valencia

Pot 2: Real Madrid, Tottenham, Napoli, Borussia Dortmund, Olympique Lyon, Chelsea, Atlético, Atalanta

Real Madrid

Zidane’s side may yet regret the defeat in Paris and the draw against Brugge in the Bernabéu. The side that has dominated Europe in recent seasons could face any of the current champions of Italy, Germany and England, and Zidane will not relish facing Juve, Bayern or Manchester City. For neutrals, the return of Cristiano Ronaldo to the Bernabéu would be the best possible outcome, but Zidane and the Real hierarchy will be crossing their fingers for Leipzig. As they coincided in the group stage, PSG and Real Madrid cannot be drawn together.

Barcelona

As group winners Ernesto Valverde’s side have a hypothetically easier ride but the spectre of José Mourinho’s Tottenham won’t be a welcome one at Camp Nou. Also on the cards for Barça are Napoli, who took the decision to sack Carlo Ancelotti after qualifying, and Chelsea while the Catalans will avoid PSG, Bayern Munich, Manchester City, Juventus, Liverpool and RB Leipzig, as well as Dortmund, who were in the same group.

Atlético Madrid

Diego Simeone’s side snuck through to the knock-out stages courtesy of a win over Lokomotiv Moscow but finished second behind Juventus, which is about as good as the news gets for the 2014 and 2016 runners-up. On the table for Atlético are PSG, Bayern, Manchester City, Liverpool and RB Leipzig.

Valencia

Los Che won their group by defeating Ajax and could be paired with Tottenham, Napoli, Borussia Dortmund, Olympique Lyon or Atalanta and will avoid Bayern, PSG, Liverpool, Juventus and RB Leipzig as well as Chelsea.

Percentage possibilities for LaLiga sides

Chelsea-Barcelona is the most likely outcome in the last 16 draw at 23%, while Real Madrid are forecast to draw either Manchester City or Liverpool at 21.87%. Atlético are also probable opponents for the two Premier League sides at 22.62% while José Mourinho and Tottenham are favourites to be drawn against Valencia at 22.62%.