Europe’s elite football competitions finally have new dates, and Cristiano Ronaldo’s Juventus could face Real Madrid in the Uefa Champions League quarterfinals, while Lionel Messi’s Barcelona could see them take on London’s Chelsea.
The Champions League and Europa League draws took place on Friday for the remaining fixtures, which were halted and postponed due to the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic earlier this year.
In the most eyebrow-raising quarterfinal fixture, either Real Madrid or Manchester City will take on Juventus or Olympique Lyon, depending on who wins the two Round of 16 matches that still need to be played.
The return of the Champions League early next month means that the new format is effectively a mini-tournament of knockout games to decide the ultimate winner.
The quarterfinals and semifinals will all be one-off games instead of the traditional two-legged matches, and will all be played in Portugal from August 12.
The semifinals will take place on August 18 to 19, with the final at Benfica’s Estádio Sport Lisboa e Benfica stadium on August 23.
Atalanta, Atletico Madrid, RB Leipzig and Paris Saint-Germain have all already qualified for the quarterfinals, having knocked out Valencia, Liverpool, Tottenham Hotspur and Borussia Dortmund, respectively.
In the other two Round of 16 matches still to be played, Barcelona or Napoli could take on German champions Bayern Munich or Chelsea, depending on which two progress.
The remaining Round of 16 matches will be played behind closed doors at the respective clubs’ home stadiums.
Here are the revised Champions League fixtures:
Quarterfinals (August 12 to 15)
QF1: Man City/Real Madrid vs Juventus/Lyon
QF2: Leipzig vs Atlético
QF3: Barcelona/Napoli vs Bayern/Chelsea
QF4: Atalanta vs Paris
Semifinals (August 18 to 19)
SF1: Winner QF1 vs winner QF3
SF2: Winner QF2 vs winner QF4
Final (August 23)
Winner SF2 vs Winner SF1
*Kickoff scheduled for 9pm South Africa time
The second division of Europe’s most elite football tournament will also be played in one location – Germany – and will also be a mini-tournament of sorts.
Once the Round of 16 fixtures have been decided on August 5 and 6, the quarterfinals, semifinals and finals will be split between four German stadiums from August 10.
There are still six second-leg Round of 16 matches to be played in the Europa League, with two other Round of 16 matches declared one-off games instead of two-legged as the four teams had not played their first-leg ties before the tournament was halted. Inter Milan, Getafe, Sevilla and Roma are the four teams that will play the two one-off Round of 16 matches.
The Europa fixtures are:
Quarterfinals (August 10 to 11)
QF1: Shakhtar Donetsk / Wolfsburg vs Basel / Frankfurt
QF2: Man United / Lask vs Copenhagen / Istanbul Basaksehir
QF3: Internazionale / Getafe vs Leverkusen / Rangers
QF4: Wolves / Olympiacos vs Roma / Sevilla
Semifinals (August 16 to 17)
SF1: Winner QF4 vs winner QF2
SF2: Winner QF3 vs winner QF1
Final (August 21)
Winner SF1 vs winner SF2
*Kickoff times vary