Could the UEFA Champions League quarterfinals really happen without either Barcelona or Real Madrid?
Both teams are only 90 minutes away from elimination in Europe’s premier cup competition, and it’s only the Round of 16. Real Madrid drew 1-1 at home to Manchester United in their first leg, while Barcelona lost 2-0 at rejuvenated AC Milan.
Real Madrid manager Jose Mourinho has said his team can score more than once at Old Trafford, and with Cristiano Ronaldo featuring prominently, that’s always possible. But the way Manchester United defended in the first leg suggests Mourinho might be engaging in little more than wishful thinking.
Barcelona, meanwhile, have the world’s best player, four-time defending Ballon d’Or winner Lionel Messi. But Messi and his teammates couldn’t figure out Milan’s defense at the San Siro, and at the other end of the pitch, Barca’s defense committed a couple glaring mistakes.
Normally it would be a no-brainer to say Barcelona can turn around the tie. But in recent seasons, teams like Chelsea, Celtic and now Milan have demonstrated the blueprint for beating Barca—in short, pack the box with defenders and make sure your midfielders play their guts out.
In the clip above, B/R World Football Lead Writer Michael Cummings discusses his picks for the second legs of the Champions League’s Round of 16. Make sure to add your predictions in the comments below.