Champions League draw: Ranking the round of 16 matchups

Photo by Sportinfoto/DeFodi Images via Getty Images
Photo by Sportinfoto/DeFodi Images via Getty Images /

Barcelona taking on PSG leads the way as the most competitive Champions League matchup following Monday’s round of 16 draw. Here’s how the games rank.

The group stage of the Champions League gave us Barcelona versus Juventus, a matchup that saw Lionel Messi take on Cristiano Ronaldo.

Now Messi will take on former Barca teammate Neymar when the Spanish giants face Paris Saint-Germain in the round of 16.

That was the verdict following Monday’s draw that saw the remaining 16 clubs pitted against one another for the start of the knockout stage that begins in February. The final is scheduled for May 29 in Istanbul.

The draw produced eight matchups in all. Here’s how they rank.

Barcelona vs. PSG

As mentioned, this is the round’s biggest match. The last time Barca and PSG met in the Champions League in 2017, it produced one of the most memorable games in tournament history: Barcelona, led by Neymar, won the second leg, round of 16 clash 6-1 after losing the opening game 4-0. Neymar left for PSG that summer. If healthy, Neymar would return to the Camp Nou for the first time since leaving the club.

Chelsea vs. Atletico Madrid

Chelsea coach Frank Lampard will face off against Diego Simeone as his side were paired with Atletico Madrid in what will be a rematch of the 2014 Champions League semis. Atletico knocked Chelsea out at the tournament that season, drawing 0-0 at home and winning 3-1 in London.

Juventus vs. Porto

While Messi and Neymar do battle, Ronaldo will return to his native Portugal when Italian champions Juventus take on Porto. In 2004, Ronaldo, playing for Manchester United at the time, were eliminated by Porto. Five years later, Ronaldo scored an amazing goal from outside the box that decided the quarterfinals in favor of the English side. Will we see more Ronaldo heroics?

Bayern Munich vs. Lazio

The defending champions take on the Rome-based club in another tasty matchup. While Bayern look unstoppable, Lazio are a formidable opponent. The team went undefeated in the group stage and qualified for the knockout round for the first time in two decades.

Liverpool vs. RB Leipzig

The 2019 Champions League winners face tough opposition in RB Leipzig. It marks the first time that these teams meet in the Champions League. While Liverpool are the stronger side, the Germans have shown that they can pick off good teams after being surprise semifinalists last season.

Real Madrid vs. Atalanta

The Spanish giants take on Italian side Atalanta, another team that’s proven it can beat bigger and better clubs. The sides have never met in this tournament. Real have struggled this season, but Atalanta, playing in only their second Champions League tournament ever, may have a rough go of it against the Spanish club.

Manchester City vs. Borussia Monchengladbach

Pep Guardiola’s team avoided some of the tougher sides in the draw and are instead pitted against ‘Gladbach, who gave Real Madrid a tough time in the group stage.

Borussia Dortmund vs. Sevilla

Dortmund are reeling after canning manager Lucien Favre, something Sevilla can take advantage of when these two teams meet in two months. Dortmund, however, have time between now and February to reorder their side and return to being the competitive club we all have known them to be the past few years.

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