FC Barcelona: 5 Possible Rivals in Next UEFA Champions League Rounds
FC Barcelona made the Round of 16 in the current UEFA Champions League (UCL). According to the FC Barcelona website, their possible rivals may be Galatasaray, AC Milan, Porto, Shakhtar Donetsk and Arsenal.
La Blaugrana will not face Celtic, who are also in Group G. Likewise, Real Madrid and Valencia CF will not face Barca because the clubs are all from Spain.
UEFA will hold a draw on December 20, 2012 for the Round of 16. The away leg dates will be February 12 and 13. The dates for the Round of 16 return leg will be February 18 and 19.
While La Blaugrana may be unstoppable in the current UCL season, rival clubs must not be underestimated. The situation for Barca is complicated after Messi bruised his knee in the club's match against Benfica.
A brief study of the possible rivals is in order.
1. Galatasaray A.S.
Galatasaray A.S defeated Braga in their Group H UCL match. The victory propelled the Turkish team to the UCL Group of 16.
The goals by Burak and Aydin Yilmaz were instrumental for this victory. The desire to win in spite of a poor performance in the match was another factor, according to manager Fatih Terim.
During the UCL, the Turkish club managed three wins, one draw, two losses, seven goals scored and six goals against. The goal differential was one, with the club remaining in third place with ten points.
Galatasaray won the UEFA Europa League and Super Cup once. Galatasaray has not won the UCL during its time in UEFA tournaments.
2. Porto FC
During the Group A UCL matches, Porto scored ten goals with and four against in the six matches. The goal differential for the club was six.
Porto FC remained in second place in the Group A UCL with 13 points. The top goalscorers of the club are Jackson Martinez, Joao Moutinho and Lucho Gonzalez.
The club won the UEFA Champions League, EUSA Cup and Europa League two times. It won the Super Cup once.
3. FC Shakhtar Donetsk
Shakhtar was in second place in the Group A UCL with three wins, one draw, two losses, 12 goals scored and four against. The club has ten points with a goal differential of four.
The Ukrainian club has never won the UCL. It won the UEFA Europa League in 2009.
4. Arsenal FC
Arsenal, Cesc Fabrega's former club, is a possible rival for FC Barcelona. Arsenal lost its last Group B UCL match to Olympiakos.
Arsenal had three wins, one draw, two losses, ten goals for and eight against during the UCL. The Gunners had ten points with a goal differential of two.
The Gunners have principal players such as Theo Wolcott, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Lukas Pudolski and Santi Cazorla.
One of the previous UCL matches between Barca and the Gunners resulted in a victory for the former. While Barca may defeat Arsenal, it should not underestimate them.
5. AC Milan
In an interview published in ESPN FC, Carles Puyol said that AC Milan was his preferred opponent.
Puyol might get his wish, and Barcelona could face AC Milan in the next leg of the UEFA Champions League (UCL). In spite of the Rossoneri's defeat to Zenit St Petersburg, they are a force to be reckoned with.
In Group C, AC Milan won two, lost two and drew two with a goal differential of one. Manager Massimiliano Allegri commented that the club must improve its defense.
The Rossoneri have won the UCL seven times, the Super Cup five times, the EUSA Cup three times and the UEFA Cup two times.
La Blaugrana and the Rossoneri faced each other three times in the 2011-12 UEFA Champions League. The results weres a scoreless draw for both teams, a win for Barca and a 2-2 draw.
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