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Barcelona forward Lionel Messi greets the fans after he left the game during the second half against Real Madrid in an International Champions Cup match on Saturday, July 29, 2017, at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Fla. Barcelona won, 3-2. (David Santiago/El Nuevo Herald/TNS)

This article contains opinion.

 

The Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) Champions League, a competition home to the best teams in Europe, enters the next stage in what has been an exciting season to say the least. Now with only eight teams left, a new champion will be crowned soon. Let’s get on with the four matchups.

 

Tottenham vs. Manchester City

The battle of the English Premier League enters into the most prestigious club competition. Both teams have had different looking seasons. 

Starting with Spurs, they have finally opened their new stadium, Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, very original name if I do say so myself. The stadium opening date was pushed back all season but had a mesmerizing opener in Thursday’s winner against Crystal Palace. 

Going into the next round Tottenham have pressure on them to do well the final two months. They have won just one game in the last six league games, that win being Thursday.

They are third place in the league and just one point from dropping into the Europa League spot. Winning the Champions League could be the one shot they have in qualifying for next season. 

Going to the other side, Manchester City is in a battle of their own, going back and forth with Liverpool for the league title. 

Now that the team is at full strength they could be the most dangerous team in Europe. Three players that stand out for this team are Ederson, Kevin De Bruyne and Sergio Agüero. 

 

Result:

No doubt in my mind, it will be a win for Manchester City. They are built for this competition. In the teams’ only meeting this season, City won 1-0. They do play each other three times in two weeks this month, and do have a lot of history. 

Kevin De Bruyne will shine in this matchup and be the key star. Sorry, Harry Kane. Better luck next season. 

Liverpool vs. Porto

Youth versus experience should be the name of the matchup. Both teams have built their teams in different ways. 

First with Liverpool, who as stated above is in serious contention to win. At the end of last season after it made the Champions League final, it had a goal. 

That goal was to spend as much money as it took to fill holes. 

The first thing they did was break the transfer record for a goalkeeper with Alisson. 

Next was to get depth, which came in the form of Fabinho and Xherdan Shaqiri. 

They are getting closer to making all those moves worth it, but still have quite a journey. 

The challengers from Porto have had an easy go this season in the competition. The draws have been generous to say the least. 

The healthy blend between youth and experience is something many teams should look at. The former Real Madrid greats in Iker Casillas and Pepe have done an excellent job up to this point. 

The midfield has some talented players who are overlooked in Oliver Torres, Hector Herrera and Danilo Pereira. Between the three of them they have the shooter in Herrera, they have the dribbler and passer in Torres and they have the defense in Pereira. 

 

Result:

This matchup in my opinion is the second best matchup to watch. I do have Liverpool taking the victory in a very close matchup. I believe this one will come down to away goals as Liverpool is the better away team. 

 

Ajax vs. Juventus

If anyone thought Ajax would still be alive at this point, congratulations. I would suggest playing the lottery with that kind of luck. Their reward is a matchup with Italian giants Juventus. 

Ajax have been a goldmine for teams in Europe with the prospects they have. The next player to leave will be Matthijs De Ligt, who will be a ticket item this summer. 

This is the time and matchup with players like De Ligt to prove they are ready for the next step. I cannot wait to see who will rise to the occasion. 

Up next is the team people love to hate in Juventus. That hate comes down to their dominance in Serie A, but let’s not hate.

Juventus are a powerhouse for a reason and have one of the best if not the best defense in the world, let alone what Ronaldo can do offensively. Words cannot describe what they can do, especially since they will score over 100 points for the season in Serie A.

 

Result:

I’ll make it quick. Ajax, you tried, but maybe you should focus on next season. Juventus will win by at least three.

 

Manchester United vs. Barcelona 

This is the matchup of the tournament, featuring a pair of the most historic clubs ever. 

On one side is a hot Manchester United. Ole Gunnar Solskjær deservingly gets the contract to become the official manager of the club. I can’t wait to see him clear house this summer, but first is to finish this season as strongly as possible.

United striker Romelu Lukaku is one of my favorite players to watch. He is tall, strong and just has a goal-scoring mindset. 

In the last 15 league matches, the Red Devils are 11-2-2. All I have to say is wow, especially with the poor start to the season. 

On the other side is the most experienced club left in the cup, Barcelona. Two words – Lionel Messi –  stand out for the team. 

What can’t this man do? The answer is simply nothing. I challenge you to find a weakness in this team. 

 

Result:

Manchester United, because why not? Hear me out: there is always one upset this late on in the competition. United is just too hot now, and that will send them to the semifinals.   

         

 

 

 

 

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