With the last 16 of the UEFA Champions League fast approaching, participating clubs have sent in their updated 25-man rosters for the knockout stages to UEFA on Thursday.
Plenty of clubs have chopped and changed names, including Manchester City who have sent in their squad for just their second-ever appearance in the knockout stages of the UCL. And, there’s a little surprise.
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City — who can only name 21 players instead of 25 after they were sanctioned for breaching UEFA’s Financial Fair Play rules — left out Stevan Jovetic from their squad and submitted new $38 million striker Wilfried Bony instead.
Jovetic, 25, has failed to score in five UCL games this season so replacing him with Bony seems logical. But has Manuel Pellegrini messed up with only Sergio Aguero, Edin Dzeko and Bony as strikers on his squad here on out? Surely Pellegrini could have sacrificed a defender for Jovetic? Time will tell, as Barcelona await at the Etihad Stadium on Feb. 24 in the first leg of their last 16 clash.
Elsewhere, Real Madrid have included 16-year-old Norwegian attacker Martin Odegaard and new Brazilian signing Lucas Silva in the place of defenders Guillermo Varela and Abner.
Arsenal have added Olivier Giroud (missed the group stage through injury), Francis Coquelin and Gabriel Paulista, while Chelsea’s new winger Juan Cuadrado is included in Jose Mourinho’s UCL squad.