Holders Real Madrid play Chelsea in the Champions League quarter-finals for the second consecutive season, while Manchester City faced Pep Guardiola’s former side Bayern Munich in Friday’s draw.
Serie A leaders Napoli meet AC Milan in an all-Italian showdown and Inter Milan meet Portuguese leaders Benfica.
The winner of Real’s duel against Chelsea meets either City or Bayern in the semi-finals, opening up the possibility of an all-English round of 16.
It also increases the chances of an Italian side reaching the final for the first time since Juventus in 2017, as Inter will face either Milan or Napoli in the last four should the Nerazzurri beat Benfica.
Real’s road to what would become a 15th European Cup looks remarkable as last season saw them beat Chelsea and City before beating Liverpool in the final.
Carlo Ancelotti’s side have just defeated Liverpool in the Round of 16 and are now hoping to repeat last year’s run when they eliminated Chelsea 5-4 on aggregate in the Quarters.
The teams also met in the semi-finals in 2021 as the Stamford Bridge side lifted the trophy for a second time en route.
City’s ongoing bid to win the Champions League for the first time faces a major obstacle in a Bayern side that defeated Paris Saint-Germain in the last round.
It is the first meeting between the two clubs since the 2014/15 group stage, when Guardiola was in charge of the German record champions.
Guardiola left Bayern for City in 2016 but is still chasing his first Champions League title as manager since winning it for a second time with Barcelona in 2011.
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The draw seems a bit lopsided as the four richest clubs remaining in the competition are all on the same side, while Italian clubs find themselves in the other half.
A year ago, no Serie A side made it past the Round of 16, but now Italian leaders Napoli meet the team that won the domestic title last season.
Napoli beat Milan 2-1 away in La Liga earlier this season and host the seven-time European champions in Serie A on April 2, just a week and a half before the first leg of their Champions League game.
Napoli are the only other clubs in the competition, alongside City, who have never won the trophy, while Inter’s encounter with Benfica brings together two sides who have won it five times between them.
Benfica lost to Liverpool in the last eight a year ago and have never reached the semi-finals in the Champions League era.
Inter, currently runners-up in Serie A, 18 points behind Napoli, have not reached the semi-finals since they last lifted the trophy under Jose Mourinho in 2010, the last time an Italian club won the Champions League.
The quarter-final first legs will be played on April 11 and 12, with Real first welcoming Chelsea at the Santiago Bernabeu before traveling to London for the second leg a week later, and City first at home against Bayern.
Inter initially played Benfica at home but will now travel to Lisbon for the first leg to avoid a meeting with Milan and Napoli at the San Siro.
The semi-finals will be played in May, with the final in Istanbul scheduled for Saturday 10 June.
Source : sports.yahoo.com