Ranking the teams most likely to be eliminated from the Champions League Round of 16

Champions League (Photo by OZAN KOSE/AFP via Getty Images)
Champions League (Photo by OZAN KOSE/AFP via Getty Images) /
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Manchester United, Cristiano Ronaldo (Photo by Diego Souto/Quality Sport Images/Getty Images)
Manchester United, Cristiano Ronaldo (Photo by Diego Souto/Quality Sport Images/Getty Images) /

6. Manchester United

Let me state unequivocally that awarding Manchester United and Real Madrid their respective slots on this list was a hard call due to the fact that the probabilities of the two clubs being eliminated are cut from the same fabric. While the Spanish team is behind but has a better chance of catching up, the English club is tied with their opponents but does not look to be capable of defeating Atletico Madrid.

Manchester United struggled at the Wanda Metropolitano, but it was easily covered by Anthony Elanga’s late equaliser, which hid United’s awful performance. Despite having a star-studded squad that included Jadon Sancho, Bruno Fernandes, Paul Pogba, former Madridistas Cristiano Ronaldo and Raphael Varane and others, Atletico Madrid had the better of the match.

The only thing United could boast about from this game was their superior ball possession, which they failed to convert into a profitable cause. The poor showing, however, does not imply a lack of fighting spirit, as the English club, particularly the final three, were ceaselessly grinding hard to break through Simeone’s defence, which was inundated with at least 7 men at any given time.

Nonetheless, the second leg is awaiting with an equal aggregate, albeit United takes a back seat on the weighing scale because the likelihood of them returning if their systems remain the same is very slim.

5. Real Madrid

Real Madrid’s name is frequently associated with continental glory, and deservedly so. The Spanish team has won the Champions League a record 13 times, with multiple streaks spanning many decades, the most recent of which being from 2013 to 2018, when Los Blancos won the Champions League four times in five years.

But that was in the past, and we’re here to talk about Real’s present, which has been packed with a range of tastes. Embarrassments, blunders, miracles, and shocks have all been a part of Real Madrid’s latest Champions League adventure, but fate opted to pick up the first two words in their most recent match vs Paris Saint-Germain.

The Whites were heavily dominated by the Parisians in what many consider to be the team’s worst match of the season, and the fan narrative also claims that the team was fortunate to lose by only one goal, all praise for which goes to Thibaut Courtois’ outstanding performance in saving a penalty and several what-could-have-been goals.

Players like Marco Asensio, Toni Kroos, Karim Benzema and Vinicius Jr were completely held captive by PSG’s defence while the same section on Real Madrid’s side was exposed from every flank. Carlo Ancelotti’s side which was earlier in the season lauded as being offensively very proficient could not manage to break more than 3 shots throughout the game.

Though PSG’s lead was only of one goal, Pochettino and his team demonstrated that there was much more to the game. It is thought to be incredibly tough for Ancelotti, who has been highly hesitant to give the supposedly fit legs any opportunity, to create a strategy capable of defeating PSG at the Santiago Bernabeu.