After the shocks (Galatasaray), drama (Borussia Dortmund), and perhaps predictable (Chelsea), we’re down to 16 teams, UEFA’s Champions League Wednesday having identified the final club. who will move on the competition’s Round of 16. That phase is scheduled to begin play in February, though next week we’ll find out the matchups, with the competition’s eight group winners set to be drawn against the teams who finished second in group phase.
Those teams will include Arsenal, who joins Manchester City as clubs to avoid in the runners up pool. The Premier League leaders’ 2-0 loss in Naples created a three-way tie in Group F, one that sent 2012-13 finalists Borussia Dortmund through as group winners and Napoli to Europa League.
Though Arsenal and City can’t be drawn against teams from their own federation, precluding a Round of 16 matchup with Manchester United and Chelsea, the rule could work against the English duo next Monday. The Gunners are destined to face one of Real Madrid, Paris Saint-Germain, Bayern Munich, Atlético Madrid or Barcelona in the Round of 16. Swap in Borussia Dortmund for Bayern, and the list is the same for City.
We’ll circle back with more on the potential knockout round matchups. For now, here’s who’s
CHAMPIONS LEAGUE – Round of 16
- A: Manchester United (14 pts.)
- B: Real Madrid (16 pts.)
- C: Paris Saint-Germain (13 pts.)
- D: Bayern Munich (15 pts.)
- E: Chelsea (12 pts.)
- F: Borussia Dortmund (12 pts.)
- G: Atlético Madrid (13 pts., five games)
- H: Barcelona (13 pts.)
- A: Bayer Leverkusen (10 pts.)
- B: Galatasaray (7 pts.)
- C: Olympiacos (10 pts.)
- D: Manchester City (15 pts.)
- E: Schalke (10 pts.)
- F: Arsenal (12 pts.)
- G: Zenit St. Peterburg (6 pts.)
- F: Milan (9 pts.)
EUROPA LEAGUE – Round of 32
- A: Shakhtar Donetsk (8 pts.)
- B: Juventus (6 pts.)
- C: Benfica (10 pts.)
- D: Viktoria Plzen (3 pts.)
- E: Basel (8 pts.)
- F: Napoli (12 pts.)
- G: Porto (5 pts.)
- H: Ajax (8 pts.)
Fernando Torres has won the UEFA Champions League before, but a victory on Saturday would ring as true as ever.
Calling it the game of his life, the Atletico Madrid striker spoke about this year’s final against Real Madrid.
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A lot has changed since the 2012 victory over Bayern Munich at the Allianz Arena, when Torres subbed into Chelsea’s comeback win.
His decline at Chelsea found him on loan to Milan, where he transferred before finding another loan back home to Atleti. Now 32, Torres has his most goals since 2013 and is preparing for a Madrid Derby final.
From Sky Sports:
“Tomorrow [Saturday] is the game of my life, without doubt,” said Torres. “To me it means everything. Everything you dream when you’re a kid, I have the chance tomorrow to make this dream come true.
“I’ve played for great teams, and won many things, but this one is special, it is different, it’s what I wanted when I was a kid.”
Later lauding Atleti for giving him the chance “to come back and fight for what I wanted”, Torres is clearly hungry for a bit of redemption. And if his side comes out on top, he’ll likely be a big part of it.
Orlando City is losing its wizard for a bit.
Kaka, 34, has been called into Dunga’s Brazil squad for this summer’s Copa America Centenario.
The move was made after Bayern Munich star Douglas Costa picked up an injury that will cause him to miss the tournament.
[ COPA AMERICA PREVIEWS: Group A | B | C | D ]
The 2007 Ballon D’Or winner didn’t play in that year’s Copa America, which Brazil won.
Kaka has two goals and five assists in 7 MLS matches this season, a year after netting nine times with six assists in 28 matches.
CARDIFF, Wales (AP) A former Premier League player whose rape conviction was overturned will face a new trial in October.
Ched Evans, a Wales international who has played for Manchester City and Sheffield United, appeared in court in Cardiff on Friday and pleaded not guilty to raping a woman at a hotel in May 2011.
[ MORE: Mourinho confirmed | Speaks more ]
Evans had already served half of a five-year sentence before being released from prison and getting the conviction overturned in April following an appeal.
Evans only spoke briefly to confirm his identity before entering his plea.
The new trial will start on Oct. 4 in Cardiff.
Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho has immediately begun courting the fans of his new club.
The 53-year-old Portuguese manager may’ve run rivals Chelsea on two occasions, but claims he’s always had empathy with United even when defeating the Old Trafford club.
[ MORE: United hires Mourinho | Things he must do ]
In an interview with Manchester United TV, Mourinho issues some high praise of the club while also managing a bit of classic “The Special One” ego in saying, “Giant clubs must be for the best managers.”
As for the disappointing trio of years between David Moyes and Louis Van Gaal, Mourinho says he’d rather consider his tenure in line with the run of Alex Ferguson.
From the BBC:
“I think we can look at our club in two perspectives – one is the past three years and another is the history. I prefer to forget the last three years. I prefer to focus on the giant club I have in my hands now. “
Mourinho has had some time to calculate the best way to endear himself to United supporters, and playing to their belief as the most historic club in the world sure pushes the right buttons.
Now comes the task of delivering titles in a climate more competitive than any other time in modern history.