Nyon: In a rematch of last season’s Uefa Champions League final, title holders Real Madrid were paired with Juventus in the quarter-finals draw on Friday.
Madrid will travel to Turin for the first leg on April 3 against the Italian champions they beat 4-1 in the 2017 final at Cardiff.
Liverpool were drawn to host Manchester City first on April 4 in an all-English clash. After all five English clubs advanced from the group stage to the round of 16, only one will now be in the semi-finals.
“It’s always common in a draw that you’ll get your neighbour, more or less, but to be honest I don’t mind,” Liverpool coach Jurgen Klopp said.
It’s always common in a draw that you’ll get your neighbour, more or less, but to be honest I don’t mind.”
- Jurgen Klopp | Liverpool coach
City’s director of football Txiki Begiristain said: “We know each other very well, they are a very offensive team, the truth is it is going to be a great couple of games.”
Five-time champions Barcelona and Bayern Munich were paired with teams who have never won the tournament.
Barcelona are at home first against Roma, and Bayern face Sevilla.
Real will likely start as favourites against Juventus in pursuit of a record-extending 13th European title and a first hat-trick since Bayern won their third title in a row in 1976.
Cristiano Ronaldo’s 12 goals in the competition this season is more than the entire Juventus team, who have scored just 11 times in eight games.
Still, Juventus did in the round of 16 what Madrid could not do in the group stage — beat Tottenham Hotspur. They advanced with an impressive 2-1 second-leg win at Wembley Stadium.
“It says a lot about the winning mentality (of Juventus), and their personality and experience to play these kind of matches,” Madrid director Emilio Butragueno said.
The draw set up both English clubs for an intense week, with city derbies in the Premier League sandwiched between the quarter-final games.
On the Saturday between the two legs against five-time champions Liverpool, City host rival Manchester United and could seal the league title that day.
On the Sunday, Liverpool play at Everton barely 48 hours before the second-leg game in Manchester.
It says a lot about the winning mentality (of Juventus), and their personality and experience to play these kind of matches.”
- Emilio Butragueno | Real Madrid director
City travel for the first leg to Anfield where they have won only once in their last 30 visits. Pep Guardiola’s team lost 4-3 at Liverpool two months ago for their only league loss this season, although they won 5-0 at home in September.
Barcelona will be expected to advance from their 11th straight appearance in the quarter-finals, with Lionel Messi in attack and the competition’s best defensive record of just two goals conceded.
However, former Roma stalwart Francesco Totti said his former team, who are considered the outsiders alongside Sevilla, should not be worried about facing Barca.
“Football is beautiful because anything can happen, especially in these type of games,” he said. “We’ve already come a long way, finishing ahead of Chelsea and Atletico Madrid in the group stage and knocking out Shakhtar Donetsk.” Bayern, the runaway Bundesliga leaders, promised they would not underestimate Sevilla.
“Sevilla are not an easy team. They eliminated Manchester United,” said Bayern sports director Hasan Salihamidzic.
“It certainly is no easy draw, they did not come through to this stage by accident,” added midfielder David Alaba.
Bayern, aiming to win Europe’s top club crown for the sixth time, face Sevilla, the surprise slayers of Manchester United in the last round, but goalkeeper Sven Ulreich said they were relieved to avoid one of their major rivals.
“There are harder draws. It’s doable, but Sevilla have shone in Europe and they have won three Europa Leagues,” Ulreich said.
“So we’ll be very focused when we go over there (for the first leg) and then we’ll do the business at home.”
The final is on May 26 at the Olympic Stadium in Kiev, Ukraine.