Open draw could see Spanish sides meet
El Clasico pairing could clash in semi-finals
Barcelona’s Lionel Messi.
Real Madrid and Barcelona could come face to face in the quarter-finals of the Champions League, with the Spanish top flight providing three of the eight teams left in Europe’s premier club competition.
Malaga joined La Liga’s traditional giants in the quarter-finals after overcoming Porto in the last 16, giving Spain the highest share of last-eight participants in the Champions League since England had four in the 2008/’09 season.
The draw takes place at Uefa’s headquarters in Nyon this morning (11am Irish time) and will be completely open, raising the prospect of bitter rivals Barca and Real being drawn together.
Barcelona overcame a two-goal deficit from the away leg by winning 4-0 at home to AC Milan on Tuesday night, while last week Real secured a 3-2 aggregate victory over Manchester United.
The failure of United against Real, combined with Arsenal’s defeat to Bayern Munich over two legs and Celtic’s loss to Juventus, means Britain is without a Champions League representative in the last eight for the first time in 17 years.
Reigning European champions Chelsea and Premier League champions Manchester City failed to even reach the round of 16.
Juventus’ victory over Celtic means they have reached the quarter-finals for the first time in seven years, while Borussia Dortmund and Paris St Germain are making their return to this stage of competition for the first time in 15 and 18 years respectively.
Galatasaray’s two-leg success against Schalke prevented Germany matching Spain by having three last-eight entrants, and keeps alive veteran forward Didier Drogba’s dream of winning the Champions League two years in succession with different clubs.
The quarter-final first-leg ties will be played on April 2nd and 3rd with the return matches being played on April 9th and 10th.
The official Uefa Champions League final match ball sees Adidas creating a design celebrating the six past European Cup showpieces held at Wembley.
The visual appearance of the ball reflects the six finals played at Wembley, with the relevant years incorporated into the star panel design – an iconic feature of Adidas’ official match balls for the competition. The graphics and colour scheme combine to emphasise the grandeur of the occasion, which will be watched on May 25th by a near 90,000-strong crowd at the stadium and millions more around the world.
This season’s will be the 20th official match ball Adidas has produced for the Champions League. The Adidas Finale Wembley, which features an outer coating texture designed to provide optimal grip at the point of impact, were used for the first time in the round of 16.