Champions League: Ronaldo, Messi and the numbers to know
The Champions League draw was held on Friday, and it did not disappoint. We have some really exciting matchups to look forward to.
The Round of 16 is not yet completed, but if Juventus can get past Lyon, they’ll face either Manchester City or Real Madrid. That means Cristiano Ronaldo could get a crack at his old club, which he left exactly two years ago.
As if that wouldn’t be exciting enough, Juventus could also face Barcelona in the semifinals. Meaning we’d be treated to another battle between longtime rivals Ronaldo and Lionel Messi.
But let’s not get too far ahead of ourselves. Here are five more reasons to be excited about the quarterfinal draw, with an assist from ESPN Stats & Info:
The two confirmed quarterfinal matchups — RB Leipzig vs. Atletico Madrid, and Atalanta vs. Paris-Saint Germain — feature teams that have never faced each other in UEFA competition before.
One of the above four teams will be in the Champions League final. Atletico Madrid is the only one of the four that has played in a final before, losing in 2014 and 2016. (It also lost the 1974 European Cup final.)
Real Madrid and Juventus have met 21 times in UEFA competition, including two Champions League finals. Real Madrid won both, in 1998 (1-0) and 2017 (4-1).
Ronaldo has scored 25 goals in Champions League quarterfinals, 13 more than the next-closest player, which is Messi.
History aside, Ronaldo and Messi have their work cut out for them this year. Manchester City and Bayern Munich are the co-favorites to win the tournament according to Caesars Sportsbook, at +300. According to FiveThirtyEight’s Soccer Power Index, Barcelona have just a 9% chance of winning this year’s Champions League, while Real Madrid and Juventus are both at 2%.
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