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[av_heading heading=’Team Analysis’ tag=’h3′ style=’blockquote modern-quote modern-centered’ size=” subheading_active=” subheading_size=’15’ padding=’10’ color=’custom-color-heading’ custom_font=’#ffffff’][/av_heading]

[av_heading heading=’Ranking Champions League contenders in quarter-finals’ tag=’h1′ style=’blockquote modern-quote modern-centered’ size=” subheading_active=” subheading_size=’15’ padding=’10’ color=’custom-color-heading’ custom_font=’#ffffff’][/av_heading]

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Author: Massimo Callegari

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In recent Champions League editions there has never been such a clear favourite as this year. No team has ever seemed so close to win the title for the second year in a row like Luis Enrique’s Barcelona.

Here are the 8 challenging for the finals in Milan, beginning with the best.

  1. BARCELONA – They haven’t lost a match for 5 and a half months and , at least judging the two matches, they seem to be unbeatable. They seem even insatiable, like their brightest shining star is. After winning his fifth Ballon d’Or, Leo Messi had the best start of his career.
  1. BAYERN MUNICH – The only team that can compete with Barcelona. Douglas Costa and Coman standed out and Ribery and Robben are no longer essential. But they have to improve defensive tightness. 
  1. PSG – Di Maria, with 1 assist every 3 Champions League matches in his career, is the man of the breakthrough in Europe. Ibrahimovic, with 2 goals and 1 assist between the first and second leg against Chelsea, is living the dream with the carefree attitude of a teenager and the confidence of a multiple champion. The Cup has never been so close.
  1. ATLETICO MADRID – The best defence in Liga and in Champions, with only 3 goals allowed, just like PSG. They struggled against PSV and they can make anyone sweat. However, they don’t have the same offensive strength they did two years ago when they made it to the finals after beating Milan 4-1 in the fourth round and Chelsea 3-1 in the semi-finals. 
  1. REAL MADRID – Zidane relaunched Casemiro after Florentino’s ban that cost Benitez credibility and Clasico. The Brazilian balancing act will not be enough to make the blancos worthy of the European title, influenced too much by Cristiano Ronaldo’s fitness, the defensive line and the (in)consistency of James Rodriguez. 
  1. MANCHESTER CITY – Finally in the quarter finals. New goals, old limits. Kompany’s injury will force Pellegrini to relaunch one of the “unreliables”, Mangala and De Michelis. It seems highly unlikely that Guardiola will restart as European champion like three years ago at Bayern. 
  1. BENFICA – Gaitàn creates and Jonas, 30 goals between Superliga and Champions, destroys (the adversaries). A Portuguese team without any goal scoring issues: brilliant.
  1. WOLFSBURG – The least expected team to be with the “bigs”. Unavailable so far in 2016, for the quarter finals, the huge center forward, Dost, will be back on the roster. Draxler, with 2 goals and 2 assists in the last 3 Champions League matches, is already worth more than the 32 million that Juve didn’t want to spend.

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Massimo Callegari
Serie A presenter, Champions League commentator at Mediaset Premium Sport
Radio Montecarlo and TalkSPORT contributor.
@Massimo Callegari
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