Though already a UEFA Cup winner, Jose Mourinho came to be taken seriously across Europe after his FC Porto side knocked Manchester United out of the 2003-04 Champions League. We know the rest of the story. Porto won the Champions League, Mourinho went to Chelsea, won two consecutive league titles and had a solid record against the Red Devils. The man now renews his rivalry against the current European champions as Inter Milan have been drawn against United in this year’s Champions League Round 2. Heart says United.
The fireworks do not end there.
Liverpool have drawn Real Madrid. Given Pool’s formidable record in the Champions League under Rafael Benitez, and Real’s dismal performances in the same period, I would put my money on the English team. Can Ramos work juanders?
There are two other Anglo-Italian clashes. Arsenal v/s Roma; and Chelsea v/s Juventus. It seems like a million years since AS Roma drew a team other than United. In any case, I don’t see them progressing past the Gunners. The Chelsea-Juve tie should be a fascinating contest. The team from Turin have been absent from Europe’s top club competition for some years, while Chelsea have made it to (or past) the semis in 3 of the past 4 seasons. Tough one, but I think Chelsea might prevail.
Barcelona take on Lyon. Barca under Guardiola are seem the best team in Europe at the moment, so they should make light work of the French champions. I expect Villareal, Bayern Munich and Atletico Madrid to reach the quarterfinals, edging out Panathinaikos, Sporting and Porto in their respective ties.
What are your picks? Who do you think will progress?
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Tags: Alex Ferguson, Arsenal, Atletico Madrid, Barcelona, Bayern Munich, Chelsea, Europe, FC Porto, Guardiola, Gunners, Inter Milan, Jose Mourinho, Juventus, Liverpool, Lyon, Manchester United, Panathinaikos, Rafael Benitez, Real Madrid, Sporting Lisbon, Turin, UEFA Champions League, Villareal