Return of the Champions.

With the Champions League competition reaching its final stages. Let’s look at all the competitors of this years last eight and evaluate their chances of lifting the European Cup.

Ajax

Ajax proved their quality by thrashing Real Madrid 4-1 at the Bernabeu to progress to the quarter finals. Their youthful fearless nature of play has earned them many admirers. The problem is that their age brings inexperience, especially at this level. As many as many nine of the match day squad in Madrid were in the 18-man group two years earlier in the Europa League final against Manchester United, but the Champions League is a different beast. They are not used to play at this level of competition.

Barcelona

One of the favorites if not the favorites to win the competition this year. The catlans are in fine form. Messi their talisman is on his way to another European golden boot scoring 36 goals in as many games. Their lead at the top of La Liga standings helps their cause. But Champions League is no ordinary competition. Barcelona are accused of being over reliant on Messi this can be a factor in their quest for glory.

Juventus

The old lady of Turin is on its way to the eighth domestic crown. They have played 2 finals in last 4 years. With Cristiano Ronaldo on their side they can finally win it. But same as the case with Barcelona they also seem to be heavily reliant on their talisman. The added pressure of winning the competition can play a key role in their journey.


Liverpool

Jurgen Klopp has transformed the fortunes of the team from Anfield. His high octane football philosophy has powered Liverpool to champions league final last year. This season the team is vying for its first premier league title in 29 years. The front line of Salah, Mane, and Firminho can terrorize the best of defenses. Their quest for both domestic and continental success adds extra pressure.

Manchester United.

Probably one of the least likely teams to go through. Tied against an impeccable Barcelona side Manchester united have their work cut out. After their heroics in Paris in the last round the team is bursting with confidence. The feel good factor is back as they are rejuvenated under their new manager. But Manchester United have their hands full with competition for top 4 places in the premier league. And a European draw might be too much to ask for.

Manchester City

The team from the blue half of the Manchester has set their sights on the ultimate prize now for long. Guardiola’s men have been in some fine form for over a year now. Raheem Sterling and Sergio Aguero’s goalscoring form is what the citizens need. Although they are facing stiff competition from Liverpool for the Premier League crown. This might just be their chance to be the European Champions.

Tottenham Hotspurs

Mauricio Pochettino’s side is young explosive and is capable of achieving good results. Having said that their tendency to bottling up in the pressure situations make them vulnerable. Spurs are not contenders but can be taken as a dark horse. They have a tough opponent in Manchester City and City’s priority for European glory makes their task even more difficult.

Porto

Not many people will give the Portugese side much chance to progress furthermore. Their inspirational comeback over Roma was a good game to watch. Their triumph in 2004 was way back and don’t have many hopes of progressing further. There have been some bright players that have caught the eye. They have a monumental tie against Liverpool that may well mark their end to this year’s Champions League journey.

What’s next for Jose Mourinho?

Jose Mourinho says he wants to return to management by June, but where will the next stop be on his eventful career?

One of his former clubs, Inter Milan, are among the favorites. But there are a number of other big names and a few surprising ones among the market leaders.

Inter Milan.

The Italian side makes a lot of sense as Mourinho left on good terms to join Real Madrid. He won the famous treble there so would be a popular choice to return and replace Luciano Spalletti. Whose team despite being third in the table is 22 points behind Juventus.

Juve is on course for a ninth league title, winning every single one since Inter last won it, so the Milan side is desperate to try and break Juventus’ stranglehold on Italian football. What better way to do it than to bring Mourinho back to repeat the job he did last time?

Everton

A surprise name on the list as the Premier League doesn’t seem to be the place for Jose anymore. But can the billionaire owner Farhad Moshiri really push the boat out to try and take his team to the next level?

They have ambitions to move into a new stadium and can Jose be the man to lead them there. The main block would be the money. With Jose Mourinho demanding European competition, this seems to be a bit far fetched.

Monaco

Thierry Henry could not make it work at Monaco and it is hard to see Mourinho making a go of things. The club is not blessed with the biggest ground or fan base in the world and has become a team of developing young players and selling them on over recent years.

PSG

Despite not being the favorites to sign him as yet, Mourinho looks like the perfect man for the job on paper. The wealthy owners of PSG are desperate to make a splash on the Champions League. Both Unai Emery, and seemingly Thomas Tuchel, having been knocked out in the last 16 for the last three years.

Star-studded names like Neymar and Kylian Mbappe mean they can win the French league with ease. A dominant domestic champion with bottomless pockets and desperate for European glory sounds right up Mourinho’s street while winning a league title in a fifth different country would also enhance his legacy.

Bayern Munich

Bayern hasnt been more worried than this season. With their big names getting older and Dortmund giving them all they can handle in the Bundesliga title race. Bayern could do with at least a bit of a revamp and manager Niko Kovac has not been a huge hit even with those inside his own club.

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Knockout time.

The last eight round of this year’s Uefa Champions league recently concluded the round saw a few upsets and lived upon its hype.

Barcelona V Manchester United-

Manchester United’s fortunes were turned around since Ole Gunnar Solakager took over the Red Devils. They were in fine form in the league and their remarkable comeback against PSG in the round of 16. This gave them optimistic hope of going against Barcelona but none of that came into play.

Barcelona took a slender one-goal advantage to Camp Nou where they are nearly invincible and that was enough. A brace from the Barca’s talisman Lionel Messi helped by a mistake from David de Gea. Along with a wonderful strike by Coutinho helped Barca to the Semifinals of this season.

Liverpool V Porto

This was perhaps the most one sided tie both on paper and off it. Liverpool comfortably breezed past Porto with a aggregate score of 6-1. They will be facing Barcelona which is a exciting and mouth watering tie.

The front three of Sane , Firminho and Mo Salah has scored plenty of goals this season and would like to add to their tally against the Catalans.

Juventus V Ajax

The young high spirited team of Ajax took on the mighty Juventus. With Ronaldo in their ranks, the old lady was aiming for the European success but all didn’t go as planned. A 1-1 draw succeded by a 2-1 defeat at their home saw Juventus crash out of this season Champions League. The tie was well matched. Perhaps the young guns full of confidence after defeating Real Madrid wanted to win more than Juventus players.

Ajax will now take on Tottenham Hotspurs and would be hot to handle given their current form.

Manchester City V Tottenham.

The most exciting tie of the lot. Spurs took one-goal advantage to Etihad. Shambolic defense from both the teams made the 2nd leg a treat for the neutrals. The match had it all. Raheem Sterling’s strike which was disallowed by the VAR in controversial circumstances was the most thrilling moment. Spurs have progressed to their first ever European Semi final.

They will play a high spirited Ajax side who are fearless this can be a very good clash with both teams hungry for success.