Breaking: Juventus prepare to replace Arsenal target Massimiliano Allegri

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Is Juventus manager Massimiliano Allegri heading to Arsenal?

The rush to replace Arsene Wenger as Arsenal manager continues with it effectively becoming a two-horse race on Monday.

A number of reliable sources (including the BBC’s David Ornstein) have revealed that Arsenal are now preparing to appoint either ex-Barcelona coach Luis Enrique, or Juventus manager Massimiliano Allegri.

It is a big week for Allegri, with Juventus playing in the Coppa Italia final against AC Milan on Wednesday night. The Old Lady also need just one more point to retain the Scudetto.

Allegri is now the favourite for the Arsenal role, with the Italian reportedly keen on a move to England with just one year left on his deal at Juventus.

Massimiliano Allegri & Carlo Ancelotti

Massimiliano Allegri & Carlo Ancelotti during the UEFA Champions League Semi Final, second leg match between Real Madrid and Juventus at Estadio Santiago Bernabeu on May 13, 2015 in Madrid, Spain.

Who will replace Allegri at Juventus?

As a result of all the speculation, Turin-based newspaper Tuttosport are now speculating as to who will take over from Allegri at The Old Lady.

So far, Juventus have publicly said Allegri will stay and that there are no plans to look for a successor.

However, Tuttosport believe this to be untrue and list a number of candidates.

These include current Lazio coach Simone Inzaghi, who has impressed in the Italian capital.

Didier Deschamps or Zinedine Zidane to return to Juventus?

Also mentioned are Diego Simeone and Didier Deschamps, both of whom have experience in Serie A, the latter played for Juventus.

Juventus’ dream scenario is Zinedine Zidane, but even if Real Madrid lose the Champions League final it seems likely Zizou will keep his job at the Bernabeu.

Other names mentioned by Tuttosport are Paulo Sousa, Mauricio Pochettino, Jurgen Klopp and current FC Porto manager Sergio Conceicao.

It looks like being a very busy summer in Turin!

Related: Thierry Henry blasted for disrespecting departing Arsenal boss Wenger.

Juventus CEO speaks out over future of Arsenal target Allegri.

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via Juventus prepare to replace Arsenal target Massimiliano Allegri — High Velocity Sport

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Lionel Messi well ahead of Cristiano Ronaldo on list of top five best paid footballers — Metro

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Lionel Messi is raking it in!

Lionel Messi has pocketed nearly £30million more than Cristiano Ronaldo this season, while Gerard Pique is the fifth best paid player in the world, according to research.

France Football is set to publish a list of the best paid players, taking into consideration not only their wages but also bonuses and sponsorship deals.

Messi comes out top, with the Barcelona star raking in an incredible £110million.

His Real Madrid rival Ronaldo earned £82m, while Paris St Germain striker Neymar had an income of £71m.

Ronaldo hates settling for second place (Getty)

The five highest earning footballers of 2017/18

  1. Lionel Messi (FC Barcelona): £110m
  2. Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid): £82m
  3. Neymar (Paris SG): £71m
  4. Gareth Bale (Real Madrid): £39m
  5. Gerard Pique (FC Barcelona): £25m

Fourth on the list is Gareth Bale, despite the Real Madrid forward enduring a difficult campaign in which he’s started just 16 La Liga games.

Gerard Pique (Getty)

In fifth is Pique, a surprising inclusion considering he plays in defence. Typically strikers are the best rewarded players, but the Barcelona centre-back has crept in with earnings of £25m during 2017/18.

MORE: FA apologise for tweet mocking Harry Kane after FA Cup semi-final defeat

via Lionel Messi well ahead of Cristiano Ronaldo on list of top five best paid footballers — Metro

Liverpool 3-0 Southampton: MATCH RECAP — The Sturridge Dance

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Well, we have had a very entertaining international break, but I for one am thrilled to have club football back! I will recap all the major events of this weekend in club football once it is all wrapped up, but let me dive into my first matchday analysis of my beloved Reds, as they took […]

Well, we have had a very entertaining international break, but I for one am thrilled to have club football back! I will recap all the major events of this weekend in club football once it is all wrapped up, but let me dive into my first matchday analysis of my beloved Reds, as they took on Southampton at Anfield today.

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I must admit, when I first saw the teamsheet, I was scared to death. Yesterday, when I heard that Joel Matip had gone out with an injury, I thought “Ok that is bad, but we will be fine. Joe Gomez has been brilliant at center back for England, it is time for Jurgen Klopp to play him in his natural role” However, when I saw the teamsheet I did not see Gomez next to Ragnar Klavan, but Dejan Lovren instead. It was at that very moment that I thought, Southampton are gonna win this aren’t they? Lovren is so mistake prone I doubt he can even get out of bed without falling on his arse.  I was also dissapointed to see the in form Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain left on the bench, in exchange for our “Captain”, the backwards passing extraordinaire Jordan Henderson, who at this point I think we can all agree, the only time his name should ever be in the same sentence as Steven Gerrard’s is “Jordan Henderson is not in the same stratosphere as Steven Gerrard as a player and captain for Liverpool”. I was happy to see Philippe Coutinho back from injury, but overall, at kickoff time, I was very nervous, and expecting to be filled with rage.

The first half hour of the game went about as I expected, Liverpool had a lot of the ball and did nothing but piss about with it, Southampton stayed back and defended and largely stopped us from creating anything, with Virgil Van Dijk winning lots of balls in the air and snuffing out attacks (cue “Welcome to Heartbreak” by Kanye West). Then, in the 31st minute, Dusan Tadic was robbed in his own half by Roberto Firmino, who then found Klavan, who passed to Gini Wijnaldum, who squared it to MOOOOOOOO SAAAAALLLLLLAAAAHHHHHH!!!!!!!

Salah curled it into the net from outside the box. Ten minutes later, Salah ran onto an absolutely amazing through ball from Coutinho and finished, to give the Reds a comfortable 2-0 lead at halftime. Liverpool did not let up, and absolutely dominated the second half. They got their well deserved third goal in the 68th minute, when Firmino’s shot was parried right into the path of Coutinho by goalkeeper Fraser Forster (yes, sometimes when I curse the very existence of Simon Mignolet I realize things could be much worse), and Coutinho tapped it into the open net for an easy goal for himself.

The rest of the game was largely just a formality, two teams going through the motions waiting for the final whistle, and I was thrilled at what turned out to be a dominating win. Lovren didn’t even make a single mistake for once, besides almost injuring our future defender Van Dijk. I did not have any criticisms for once, except for the second coming of Christ Daniel Sturridge getting no playing time. Well in REDS!

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Three things I learned from the match today

  1. Liverpool are starting to find their form

Since our nightmare 4-1 defeat at the hands of Tottenham, in which I decided I would take 4 more years of Donald Trump if it meant never having to endure the waste of a human being that is Dejan Lovren trying to defend again, Liverpool have played very well. They have now won their last 4 games 3-0, 3-0, 4-1, and 3-0. That is 13 goals scored to only one conceded, and we are now only a point off the top 4. We are finally starting to finish all the chances we missed at the beginning of the year, our defense has looked improved (KNOCK ON WOOD), and we are quietly going about a very good period of momentum. Granted, Huddersfield, Maribor, West Ham, and Southampton are not the most daunting opponents, but it is good to get back to winning ways. There is still work to be done, our defense still needs work (YOU DONT HAVE TO GET ON THE BUS BACK TO SOUTHAMPTON VIRGIL), and the games against Sevilla and Chelsea next week are a real test of how much we have learned, but I am quietly optimistic. We are winning games in a dominant fashion, and Klopp can now finally unleash his big 5 of Salah, Coutinho, Firmino, Sadio Mane, and Adam Lallana for the first time this year. Things are looking up Reds!

2. Southampton are awful

I like Mauricio Pellegrino a lot. He is a former LFC player and coach, and I truly believe he is a good manager, but he is in the wrong job. Appointing a very defensive minded coach to a club which already has a good defense, but needs work on the attack is a bad idea. His ideas can work well at clubs suited to his style, but someone so keen on defending is not the man to fix such a stuttering attack. Southampton didn’t even get a single shot on target today against OUR DEFENSE, and it says something when their starting striker today hasn’t scored a goal since February. Their attack just looked completely out of ideas, and things need to change fast. I think now might be the moment when the Saints realize their model of selling anyone at the right price, because there are always cheaper alternatives, is just not sustainable in the Premier League. Sad!

3. Mohamed Salah is the King of Egypt

What more can be said about this guy. He has now scored more goals to start his Liverpool career than anyone in LFC history, beating the record of Robbie Fowler, a man so good the Kop literally nicknamed him “God”. He has scored more goals than any LFC player since Luis Suarez left us, and it is only mid November! He is the top scorer in the whole Premier League!!! This man is just out of this world. To think we only needed to spend 32 million pounds on him! The gods Isis and Osiris built a pyramid in his honor. King Tut has a framed picture of Mohamed Salah in his tomb. Cats bow down at the feet of Salah. He is the best signing this club has made since Suarez, and I can only hope his insane goalscoring continues. Long Live our Pharoah, MOHAMED SALAH!

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Liverpool Lineup

GK: #22 Simon Mignolet

RB: #66 Trent Alexander-Arnold

CB: #6 Dejan Lovren

CB: #17 Ragnar Klavan

LB: #18 Alberto Moreno

CM: (captain) #14 Jordan Henderson

CM: #5 Georginio Wijnaldum

CM: #10 Phillipe Coutinho

LW: #19 Sadio Mane

RW: #11 Mohamed Salah

ST: #9 Roberto Firmino

Substitutes:

#1 Loris Karius (GK)

#7 James Milner

#12 Joe Gomez

#15 Daniel Sturridge

#21 Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain

#23 Emre Can

#29 Dominic Solanke

Manager: Jurgen Klopp

 

Southampton Lineup

GK: #44 Fraser Forster

RB: #2 Cedric Soares

CB: #17 Virgil Van Dijk

CB: #6 Wesley Hoedt

LB: #21 Ryan Bertrand

CDM: #14 Oriol Romeu

CDM: (captain) #8 Steven Davis

LAM: #11 Dusan Tadic

CAM: #19 Sofiane Boufal

RAM: #22 Nathan Redmond

ST: #7 Shane Long

Substitues

#13 Alex Mccarthy (GK)

#3 Maya Yoshida

#10 Charlie Austin

#16 James Ward-Prowse

#20 Manolo Gabbiadini

#23 Pierre-Emilie Hojbjerg

#33 Matt Targett

Manager: Mauricio Pellegrino

Man of the Match Award: MOHAMED SALAH!

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via Liverpool 3-0 Southampton: MATCH RECAP — The Sturridge Dance

Pique wants Barcelona to sign Marcos Alonso from Chelsea

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 marco.jpgPique tells Barcelona chiefs to sign Marco Alonso – Real Madrid have also been linked to the Chelsea star – Alonso has been in consistent form for Conte’s side Barcelona defender Gerard Pique has told the club to sign Chelsea defender Marcos Alonso in the summer, Don Balon reports. The 27-year-old has been instrumental for Chelsea following his move from Serie A side Fiorentina in 2016. The Spain international was part of Antonio Conte’s side that won the Premier League title last term and has impressed this season despite Chelsea’s poor title defence.

 Don Balon claimed Pique has urged Barca’s transfer chiefs to complete a deal for the Chelsea defender this summer. The Spanish media outlet also added that Real Madrid have also been linked to land the Stamford Bridge left-back and Pique is desperate for Barca to beat their arch-rivals to Alonso. With current left-back, Jordi Alba the number one choice for Ernesto Valverde, Pique feels Alonso would provide competition for places at the Nou Camp. Alonso will be back in action for Chelsea when the Blues travel to Turf Moore to play Burnley who defeated the Blues at Stamford Bridge earlier in the season. Conte’s men still stand an outside chance of securing Champions League football for next season if Liverpool and Tottenham drop points. Roman Abramovic’s team will play Southampton in the semi finals of the FA Cup and could either meet Manchester United or Tottenham in the finals.

Cagliari president warns Tottenham and Liverpool over star duo — INKLING LEAGUE

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17 April Cagliari president Tommaso Giulini released some interesting transfer updates about Tottenham and Liverpool targets Nicolò Barella and Kwang-Son Han. ​They are both among the most exciting prospects in Italy at the moment and both Inter and Juventus are also reported to be monitoring the talented duo: “There have been no more contacts with […]

via Cagliari president warns Tottenham and Liverpool over star duo — INKLING LEAGUE

Homage to Guardiola: How Catalonia See’s Pep’s Manchester City

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Homage to Guardiola: How Catalonia See’s Pep’s Manchester City

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Matthew Ashton – AMA/Getty Images

Pep Guardiola has done it again. In his ninth campaign as a top-flight manager, Guardiola has won his seventh league title. His club Manchester City were crowned champions on Sunday night after Manchester United’s shock 1-0 defeat at Old Trafford to bottom-placed West Brom. Back in his Catalan homeland, Guardiola’s achievement, in becoming the first Spanish coach to win the English Premier League title, has been celebrated.

“Here’s a guy who has spent many years in the front line,” says Josep Maria Minguella, who worked as Guardiola’s agent when he was a player. “When Pep played, he was a champion with Barcelona—he won leagues, cups, European Cups. As a trainer, he has spent a decade training the best teams in the world. In Catalonia, we’re very pleased with this situation—to have a man from here who has had so much success, to be so appreciated around the world.”

Catalonia’s newspaper of record, La Vanguardia hailed the “coronation of Guardiola”. Writing in Diario Sport, one of Catalonia’s two daily sports papers, Albert Masnou welcomed his triumph in a hostile footballing world: “The coach from Santedor [Guardiola’s hometown] has imposed himself in the English Premier League with mastery, having achieved what many predicted would be impossible: imposing his ‘tiki taka’ style in a football culture accustomed to other ways of understanding this sport.” El Periodico used some sarcasm to drive home its message on a related theme, suggesting Guardiola had emphatically answered his critic’s question: “Could [a Guardiola team] do it on a cold and rainy night at Stoke’s ground?”

The verve of Guardiola’s Manchester City side has enchanted this season, playing an often brilliant, attacking style of football, averaging almost three goals a game. It has wrapped up the championship with a month to spare, which includes a record 18 wins on the bounce, and with five games left to play—against five sides in the bottom half of the table—it could obliterate Chelsea’s 95-point haul in 2005 and finish the season with 100 points or more.

“It’s probable that Man City will finish the season having won around 85 percent of their matches,” says Marti Perarnau, a Barcelona-born former Olympian and author of two behind-the-scenes biographies of Guardiola. “This is an extraordinary ratio, which makes it one of the greatest teams in the history of the English Premier League without the slightest doubt. He has broken many records in the history of the league and, above all, the manner of the team’s play has been spectacular, and has created a great identification between the team and its fans.”

Aitor Lagunas, editor of Panenka, the acclaimed Spanish football magazine which is based in Barcelona, says that Guardiola is one of only three managers in more than a generation who has changed the nature of the game, alongside Arrigo Sacchi at Milan and Guardiola’s mentor, Johan Cruyff who plucked Guardiola from obscurity as a skinny 19-year-old to become the fulcrum of Barcelona’s “Dream Team” in the early-1990s.

Guardiola’s conviction in supporting Catalonia’s push for independence—including a publicised decision to wear a yellow ribbon during Manchester City’s matches this season in solidarity with several imprisoned Catalan agitators, which incurred a £20,000 fine and warning for “wearing a political message” from the English FA, per Guardianhas burnished his reputation beyond the fields of football for many in the region.

“You will find a lot of Guardiola lovers in Catalonia because of what he achieved as a player but mainly as a coach,” says Lagunas, “and as a political guy—someone who is making political statements in a difficult moment in Catalonia where the society is almost split in two halves. He’s the greatest and the biggest ambassador for the Catalan cause right now.

“No one has more power in terms of echo from the press and social media than Guardiola, much more than Carles Puigdemont, who is the current president-in-exile. It’s why in parts of Catalonia, but predominately around the rest of Spain, people have made Guardiola into a figure of ridicule. For example, one Spanish TV journalist tweeted ‘Liverpool 3 Yellow Ribbon 0′ [after Man City’s first-leg Champions League quarter-final defeat]. For a guy like Guardiola to be brave enough to make political statements about what’s going on in Catalonia has made him enemies.”

Guardiola has been caught in the crossfire of some serious political games. Per the Times, Guardiola has twice had his private plane searched by Spanish police in a hunt for the fugitive Puigdemont, who was released on bail from a German prison in early April. On the same day Puigdemont was freed from prison, El Pais, one of Spain’s newspapers, published an opinion piece in which it criticised Guardiola for spreading “lies” about the Catalan separatist cause on the international stage, comparing him to Joseph Goebbels, the Nazi Party’s notorious propagandist.

“It’s not Pep’s fault he is unpopular with some people in Spain,” says Minguella. “Catalonia is a region that historically has had problems with the rest of Spain, particularly with the centre in Madrid. There’s no middle ground. If there is someone Catalan who stands out like Guardiola, there will be people who don’t like it, but if you like football, I believe you’ll like the football of Guardiola no matter what the colour of your shirt.”

Matthew Ashton – AMA/Getty Images

It perhaps isn’t surprising that Guardiola has so many detractors in Spain because of his public support of Catalan independence. What is curious, however, is how unpopular Guardiola is within Catalonia with a large section of Barca’s fanbase, the club that historically is so identified with Catalan separatism and where, of course, he first made his mark as a coach, becoming the youngest man to win the Champions League at the end of his first season in charge, May 2009. Something is broken between himself and a cohort of the club’s fans because of his abrupt departure from the club—in which he cited exhaustion—in 2012.

“There are a lot of Catalans who don’t forgive Guardiola because of his ending after four seasons at the Camp Nou as a coach,” says Lagunas. “The last time he returned to the Camp Nou—as coach of Bayern Munich in 2015—it was not unanimously applauded and welcome. In Catalonia, there are people who don’t like Guardiola.

“The hope amongst Barca fans was that Guardiola would become the Catalan Sir Alex Ferguson, although I think you have no less than 1,000 differences between Guardiola and Ferguson. Guardiola left Barca in the best moment of its whole history. It left a lot of people angry and sad. Now a lot of people are saying it wasn’t ‘Pep’s team’, which was the main nickname of that team in those days, but ‘Messi’s team’ because Barca has kept winning things after Pep left the Camp Nou, which is true but Guardiola was the first coach to build the team around Messi.”

After an underwhelming first season in charge at Man City, Guardiola has picked up two trophies this season. He has, however, come up short again in the Champions League, going out in the knockout stages for his sixth season in a row as a manager, which includes three semi-final defeats with Bayern Munich. It has given his critics another stick to beat him with, a blot on an otherwise incredible CV—he has amassed 23 trophies during his managerial career, according to Diario Sport.

Perarnau says it is mistake to judge Guardiola harshly for failing to win—often with fancied squads—the Champions League since 2011. “Football is the most uncertain sport there is—the one that admits the least amount of assurances and certainties,” he says. “In a league competition, the high number of matches moderates this factor, but in the Champions League it is always a toss-up and any small detail changes your destiny. Why has Barcelona, with Leo Messi in its ranks, not managed to win the Champions League every year? For the same reason: because successes or individual errors in the Champions League are uncontrollable. No coach has been able, can or will ever reduce those errors to zero.”

It is a call for reason that is endorsed by Lagunas. He cites Roberto Di Matteo’s improbable Champions League victory as coach of Chelsea in 2012, a glorious interlude in an otherwise inglorious managerial career.

BARCELONA, SPAIN - OCTOBER 19:  Manchester City Head Coach / Manager Pep Guardiola looks on during the UEFA Champions League match between FC Barcelona and Manchester City FC at Camp Nou on October 19, 2016 in Barcelona.  (Photo by Matthew Ashton - AMA/Ge

Matthew Ashton – AMA/Getty Images

“In 50 years, no one will remember Di Matteo,” he says. “I don’t know if Guardiola will win another Champions League trophy, but if someone is writing a book about the history of football in 50 years, Guardiola will have to be mentioned in it. In the same way that today, we still remember the Hungary team from 1954 or the Holland team that didn’t win the World Cup in 1974.

“When I was young, you counted the titles that managers won, not the titles that managers lost. Of course, Guardiola was coaching Bayern Munich, which was a favourite for the competition, as a five-time winner of it, but he was always in the semi-finals; last year, Bayern was not in the semi-finals.

“Manchester City is a different story. How many players have won the Champions League and are right now in the Manchester City squad? What’s the record of Manchester City in European football over the last 30 years? You have to change a lot of things at City, and he’s changing a lot of things. He changed a lot of things before at Barca and in Germany, which was a country unused to the footballing culture of Pep Guardiola. So in England, pay attention.”

All quotes and information obtained firsthand unless otherwise indicated.

Follow Richard on Twitter: @Richard_Fitz

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Champions Leaque Finals: Shocker for Bayern Munich- Arturo Vidal blow before Real Madrid

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Shocker for Bayern Munich: Arturo Vidal blow before Real Madrid

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Shocker for Bayern Munich: Arturo Vidal blow before Real Madrid

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If Real Madrid plan to lift the Champions League trophy for a third season in a row, they’ll have to beat Bayern Munich in the semis.

In a clash of the titans, Los Blancos were paired with the Bavarians last Friday in the Champions League draw.

Liverpool will face Roma in the other semifinal.

Arturo Vidal injured before Real Madrid

On Sunday Bayern Munich have been hit with a potentially significant blow.

Star Chilean midfielder Arturo Vidal has suffered a knee injury at Bayern training.

It’s unknown how bad Vidal’s injury is, but the pictures don’t make for kind viewing.

In the images, Vidal was forced off the pitch on a stretcher after being lifted by two Bayern employees.

Will Vidal miss the Real Madrid game?

Vidal after Juventus were knocked out

Video of Arturo Vidal went viral last week during the Champions League semifinals.

The former Juventus midfielder was filmed watching the closing stages of the Bianconeri’s match against Los Blancos.

A Cristiano Ronaldo penalty in second half stoppage time earned Real passage into the final four.

After Ronaldo tucked away his spot-kick, Vidal showed his frustrations in the crowd.

Bayern Munich 5 – Borussia Monchengladbach 1

Bundesliga Champions Bayern Munich thrashed Borussia Monchengladbach 5-1 on Saturday.

Bayern actually fell behind when Josip Drmic scored after nine minutes.

But the Bavarians took a lead into the break after a Sandro Wagner double.

Thiago Alcantara, David Alaba and Robert Lewandowski found the target in the second half.

Also see: Champions League odds: Liverpool’s odds crash, Real Madrid favourites.

Barcelona furious: Samuel Umtiti holds talks with Real Madrid.

Breaking! Madrid to fight Bayern for slot in Champions League final

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The semi finals draws for the UEFA Champions League have been concluded – Bayern Munich Faces Real Madrid and Liverpool will lock horns with AS Roma     The games will kick off on Tuesday April 24 with the return clash taking place a week later on May 1

eufaReal Madrid will be facing a familiar foe in Bayern Munich as the pair faced off in the quarter finals last season. On the road to the semi final, Liverpool consolidated their first leg 3-0 win against fellow English side Manchester City with another 2-1 victory at the Etihad. German Champions Bayern Munich played out a goaless draw with Sevilla at the Allianz Arena but qualified following with a 2-1 first leg win in Spain. It was a different story for Barcelona as they carried a 4-1 first leg lead to the Stadio Olympico and failed to score as Roma emphatically stunned the favourites by 3-0.

The Serie A side qualified on the away goal rule despite having a 4-4 scoreline on aggregate. But at the Santiago Bernabeu it was a different case for Real Madrid narrowly qualified from the skin of their teeth after a last minute controversial penalty from Cristiano Ronaldo. PAY ATTENTION: Become a member of the leading sports Facebook group ‘Naija Football Fan Zone Real Madrid are aiming for their third consecutive Champions League win and 12th overall while the only surviving English side Liverpool are targeting their eighth trophy. In the Europa League semi final, Arsenal will lock horn with Atletico Madrid while Marseille and Salzburg will trade tackle on who will make the finals. Who will win the champions league? is the question on everybody lips.