Real Madrid and Manchester City are set to square off in the Round of 16 of this year’s UEFA Champions League. They both have one desire; to win the Champions League title. The two heavyweights are looking to make a deep run into the tournament’s knockout stage. Furthermore, they’re both hoping to make an impact.
Real Madrid wants to win its fourteenth title. Manchester City, on the other hand, is looking for its first title. Both are favorites to hoist the title. However, in this case, only of these two is advancing to the quarterfinals.
Both clubs are struggling. Real Madrid is coming off an average performance in the group stage. Manchester City won their group. However, both teams are having issues outside the Champions League. In other words, Manchester City is struggling in the Premier League and Real Madrid is struggling in La Liga. Despite the struggles, both clubs are still in a good position in their respective leagues, so it shouldn’t put too much pressure. Regardless, both clubs shouldn’t allow their outside struggles to impact their Champions League performance. Both teams are loaded and capable of winning.
Manchester City has the likes of Kevin De Bruyne, Gabriel Jesus, Sergio Aguero, Raheem Sterling, Benjamin Mendy, and Bernardo Silva just to name a few. Manchester City leads the Premier League in goals scored(47), passes(11,060), crosses(467), and shots(351). Furthermore, Manchester City has the highest completion percentage in the Champions League(89%), as well as most completed passes(3,833). Also, their sixteen goals place them fourth in the tournament.
Real Madrid has quite a load of depth. The likes of Karim Benzema, Eden Hazard, Sergio Ramos, Raphael Varane, Ferland Mendy, Luka Jovic, Toni Kroos, Isco, Luka Modric, James Rodriguez, Casemiro, Gareth Bale, Nacho, and Marcelo. In addition, they have Rodrygo, an 18-year-old Brazilian striker known for his quickness, dribbling of the ball scoring goals, and his ability to create space and penetrate. He’s known as Real Madrid’s blitzing offensive weapon.
Real Madrid’s scoring of fourteen goals in Champions League play puts them fifth in the tournament. Also, they have an 87 percent pass completion percentage, as well as 3,534 completed passes, which puts them fourth in the tournament.
Who’s The True Favorite?
Real Madrid. Despite suffering elimination in the previous tournament in the Round of 16 at the hands of Ajax, Real Madrid still knows what it takes to win it all. Real Madrid has won four of the last five tournaments, including three straight from 2016 to 2018. The club hasn’t been the same since the departure of Ronaldo. The reappointing of Zinedine Zidane as the manager hasn’t been much help so far. The club is struggling to find it’s winning groove. As far as Real Madrid goes, they have more than enough talent to win it all. The question is whether or not the players can get their act together and play some sublime soccer. If they do, there’s no doubt they can win it all again. If Madrid’s not in the right frame of mind, Manchester City will take advantage.
In Manchester City’s case, their exit from the tournament in the last two seasons has been in heartbreaking fashion. In the last two seasons, the club’s exit occurred in the quarterfinals. Also, they haven’t been to the semifinals since the 2015-16 tournament. Manchester City has won two consecutive Premier League titles, which is respectable, but Manchester City is determined to win the ultimate prize.
As far as the talent goes, Manchester City certainly has respectable depth. However, compared to Real Madrid, Manchester City seems outmatched. But as far as the two clubs go, it’s their mentality that will play a large factor in the outcome of the results. However, Real Madrid’s experience with success gives them an edge.
The first leg is on February 26th in Madrid. Madrid needs to take advantage of their home-field advantage in the first leg. In Manchester City’s case, they should take advantage of the away goal rule. Same thing with Real Madrid in the second leg in Manchester. Both teams are determined to win comfortably to prevent the away goal from taking effect. In that case, each team is looking to keep a clean sheet at home.