15/12/2021; 3:08 PM By : Steven D. Thompson
After the farcical draws conducted by UEFA, new fixtures were made much to the chagrin of certain parties. It threw up some exciting match-ups but has also called to question the integrity of UEFA. Many feel UEFA has lost its neutrality in the adjudicating of football affairs. However, the Champions League remains the most glamorous club football tournament.
The draws may have inadvertently armed champions of the European Super League (ESL) with more fodder.
With the confusion that trailed the draws, the football proper will see eight rather exciting ties. Sporting CP will take on last season’s losing finalist Manchester City, Italian champions Inter Milan squares up against 2019 winners Liverpool. The tie between Benfica and Ajax is set on an even keel, while FC Salzburg has the misfortune of being squared up against 2020 winners Bayern Munich. The redraw saw Atletico Madrid tied against Manchester United. Lille plays Chelsea, and Villarreal is up against Juventus. The pick of the pack is the tie between Paris Saint-Germain and Real Madrid.
Mauricio Pochettino is no stranger to Real Madrid as he has come up against the Spanish giants on a few occasions, and he will fancy his chances when the two sides clash next year.
The relationship between Real Madrid and Paris Saint-Germain soured up following the public admiration and pursuit of PSG star Kylian Mbappe. A cordial relationship between the two sides has turned into bad blood, with PSG intent on getting its pound of flesh.
PSG and Real Madrid have met on six occasions, with Real Madrid winning three times, losing once and drawing twice. With UEFA doing away with the away goals rule, it should make for a spectacle this time around.
Pochettino is unfazed about the magnitude of the challenge before him, but he would count on his experience when managing Tottenham Hotspur, he was able to beat Real Madrid. Of course, none of the two teams can boast of being clear favourites, but Pochettino is confident he has the firepower to overcome Los Blancos.
Speaking with the official club media as quoted by Marca, Pochettino admitted it will be far from easy to overcome Real Madrid. He said Real Madrid have a super manager and super players.
Pochettino hopes when the tie comes up that his squad will be in the best possible condition. The Argentine did not rule out the element of luck using injuries as an example. Pochettino concluded by saying PSG have enough quality to win the tie and progress to the next round.