Champions League Draw Sets Stage for Quarterfinals

In a draw unveiled on Friday, defending champion Manchester City found themselves pitted against Real Madrid in the quarterfinals of the Champions League — the third-straight year the two heavyweights will face each other. This matchup promises an electrifying clash between the reigning champions of Europe and the storied titans of the competition.

Meanwhile, as speculation swirls around Kylian Mbappé, Paris Saint-Germain will face Barcelona. Amidst rumors of an imminent departure from the French club, sources have hinted at a potential move to Barcelona’s archrivals, Madrid, come the summer transfer window.

In another corner of the draw, Harry Kane braces himself for a reunion with a long-standing adversary as Bayern Munich set their sights on Arsenal. This fixture evokes memories of past encounters, notably Bayern’s triumphs over the north London side in the 2013, 2014, and 2017 editions of this prestigious competition. As for Kane, the former Tottenham man will have yet another chance to stick it to the rival Gunners.

Adding to the intrigue, Bayern’s faithful will be notably absent from the Emirates Stadium — courtesy of UEFA’s disciplinary measures following an incident involving fireworks during the German club’s round-of-16 first-leg clash against Lazio in Rome. The winner of Bayern/Arsenal will take on the winner of Man City/Madrid.

In the fourth quarterfinal, Atlético Madrid will take on Borussia Dortmund — with the winner set to face either PSG or Barcelona in the semifinal.

The upcoming clash between Madrid and City adds another chapter to their recent rivalry in the Champions League, having crossed paths in the semifinals of the last two seasons. Madrid will kick off proceedings by hosting the first leg on either April 9 or 10, with the return fixture scheduled for the following week in Manchester.

Last season, Pep Guardiola’s squad emerged victorious over Madrid — paving their way to clinch the coveted title with a resounding 4-0 triumph at the Etihad Stadium. However, in the 2021-22 campaign, Madrid orchestrated a remarkable comeback to snatch victory from City’s grasp and advance to the final.

Following the draw, Real Madrid director Emilio Butragueño shared his thoughts.

“They are the champions, we know each other perfectly, I don’t have to explain all the virtues that City has. There are going to be two magnificent games for the public. There are top-level players and two tremendous games await us. We are excited that the team will be up to the task, we have to get a good result at the Bernabeu to defend it there.”

“All the teams that have arrived to this point are strong. In the end it’s two games. The games have been levelled and any details can decide the tie. The eight teams remaining can be champions, let’s see what happens. All the ties are attractive. We’ve got City. We have to accept it. They have a very powerful team and we also have a very good team too.”