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Champions League Contenders

Champions League Contenders

Following the draw for the last 16 of the Champions League on Monday, we take a look at which teams seem best placed to challenge for European club football’s top prize.

  1. Manchester City


Pep Guardiola’s side would have been many people’s tips to win the tournament before the draw, but the fact they were handed a tie against outsiders Schalke appears to have further underlined their credentials.

City may have never made it beyond the semi-finals of the tournament, but their squad oozes quality and with the likes of Kevin de Bruyne, Sergio Aguero and David Silva set to return to full fitness, they could well hit full speed just in time for the knockout stages.

One stumbling block for City could be the fact they are embroiled in a Premier League title battle with Liverpool, which may have to take priority.

  • Paris Saint-Germain

PSG are very similar to Man City in the fact they have moved to the forefront of the European game over the last decade, but they are yet to mount a serious challenge for Champions League glory.

The French champions have lost in the last 16 stage of the Champions League in each of the last two seasons and they have not made it beyond the quarter-finals this century.

However, after topping a difficult group that also contained Liverpool and Napoli, and the fact they have seemingly already wrapped up the Ligue 1 title before Christmas, it certainly seems Thomas Tuchel’s side can throw all their eggs in the European basket.

PSG will certainly head into their last 16 tie with Manchester United as favourites, particularly if the current unrest at Old Trafford remains unresolved.

  • Barcelona

Barcelona certainly know what it takes to be crowned champions of Europe, achieving the feat for the fifth time in 2015, and they will fancy their chances of seeing off Lyon in the last 16.

It feels like Barca have not fully hit their stride this season either domestically or in Europe, which seems strange seeing as they topped their Champions League group and are leading the way in La Liga.

The Blaugrana have, however, turned up in the big games (ask JulenLopetegui and Real Madrid) and any team that has Lionel Messi in their line-up has to be taken seriously.

  • Porto

This may be something of a left field suggestion, but the Portuguese champions have been in fine form this season and they have been handed a favourable draw against a Roma side that are not the team they were last term.

Porto took 16 points from a possible 18 during the group stages and they have European experience throughout their team.

If they can make it through to the quarter-finals then they will certainly start dreaming of a repeat of 2004, when Jose Mourinho led them to European glory.

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