With the group stages of the UEFA Champions League coming to an end this past week, teams who have made it to the knockout stages of the competition, including holders Real Madrid, learned their opponents in the Round of 16 today. The reigning champions face Liverpool in a replay of the last season’s finals.
Real Madrid are the only Spanish team left standing in the UEFA Champions League after finishing at the top of Group F. Rivals Barcelona, Atletico Madrid and Sevilla have all been eliminated from the competition.
Given that they had finished at the top of their group, Los Blancos could have been drawn against any of the second-placed teams from the other groups as no other Spanish team was left in the competition.
Meaning Real Madrid could have drawn Liverpool, Club Brugge, Inter Milan, Eintracht Frankfurt, AC Milan, Borussia Dortmund, and PSG. RB Leipzig were the only team not in contention as they were in the same group as Los Blancos.
In the end, it is Liverpool that have been drawn against Carlo Ancelotti & co. The reigning champions will play the first leg of the Round of 16 encounter away from home at Anfield, before hosting their opponents at the Santiago Bernabeu for the second leg.
It will be a replay of the last season’s finals which Real Madrid won to win their 14th European title. The Merengues had beaten Liverpool in the finals of the 2017/18 season and had overcome Jurgen Klopp’s brigade in the quarter-finals of the 2020/21 campaign.
Liverpool are currently eighth in the Premier League and have had a middling start to the season, while they have also been hit with injuries. But with the Round of 16 fixtures set to be played in February and March, they might have a full-strength roster by then.
Remaining Round of 16 fixtures:
RB Leipzig vs Manchester City
Club Brugge vs SL Benfica
AC Milan vs Tottenham
Eintracht Frankfurt vs Napoli
Borussia Dortmund vs Chelsea
Inter Milan vs FC Porto
PSG vs Bayern Munich
€85 million-rated Serie A winger ‘dreams’ of playing for Real Madrid, claims father
Napoli winger Khvicha Kvaratskhelia dreams of playing for Spanish giants Real Madrid, the winger’s father has revealed following the UEFA Champions League clash between the two teams last night.
Kvaratskhelia, 22, exploded upon arriving at Napoli last year, leading them to the Serie A title on the back of his explosive performances.
The Georgian winger has been impressing in the ongoing campaign as well, although he failed to score or assist in either of Napoli’s meetings with Real Madrid in the Champions League group stages.
Kvaratskhelia has previously spoken about how he has always been a lifelong supporter of Real Madrid and grew up idolising some of the club’s legends like Cristiano Ronaldo and Guti, among others.
Now, the 22-year-old winger’s father has revealed that his son has always dreamt of and continues to dream of playing for Real Madrid.
As quoted by Fabrizio Romano, Kvaratskhelia’s father said: “Khvicha always dreamed and still dreams of playing for Real Madrid. I am sure about it.”
Talking about the fact that the winger got to play against Real Madrid, Kvaratskhelia’s father added: “For Khvicha, playing vs Real Madrid was special. In my family, everyone is a Real Madrid supporter, except me.”
Real Madrid are in the market for attacking reinforcements, but they are looking for a centre-forward next summer and have Kylian Mbappe and Erling Haaland as their main targets.
As for Kvaratskhelia, whose market value stands at €85 million, it seems quite apparent that he harbours dreams of playing for Real Madrid. But it remains to be seen if there is some interest from Los Blancos in signing the winger.