PSG to face Barca

Source: AFP Published: 2020/12/15 16:48:40

Neymar says ankle injury ‘could have been worse’

UEFA Deputy Secretary-General Giorgio Marchetti draws out the card of FC Barcelona during the UEFA Champions League 2020-21 round of 16 draw in Nyon, Switzerland on Monday. Photo: VCG

Paris Saint-Germain, last season's beaten finalists, will face Barcelona in the last 16 of the Champions League while Liverpool were paired with RB Leipzig in Monday's draw.

French champions PSG will relish another chance to avenge their soul-destroying "Remontada" defeat to the Catalan giants in 2017.

Having beaten Barca 4-0 in the French capital, PSG crashed to a 6-1 defeat at Camp Nou orchestrated by Neymar. 

The Brazilian, who won the 2015 Champions League with Barca, then joined PSG in a world record move weeks later but has yet to taste similar European success with Ligue 1's dominant force.

They came closest last season when they were beaten 1-0 in the final by Bayern Munich, who claimed a sixth European crown thanks to a goal from PSG youth product Kingsley Coman.

With the first legs due to be played in February, PSG seem hopeful Neymar will have recovered in time from an ankle injury which forced him to be stretchered off the pitch in his side's 1-0 Ligue 1 defeat to Lyon on Sunday.

On Monday PSG said Neymar's prognosis was "reassuring" while the 28-year-old said on Instagram that his injury "could have been worse" following a rough tackle from Lyon midfielder Thiago Mendes which left him screaming in agony.

Barca may not be as intimidating opponents as in the past after a troubled start to the season influenced by boardroom chaos and Lionel Messi's attempt to leave the club in the summer.

Messi saved Barca's blushes on Sunday with the only goal in a home win over lowly Levante, but they are nine points behind La Liga leaders Real Sociedad.

Reigning champions Bayern play Italian side Lazio, who are in the knockout phase for the first time in over two decades.

Pep Guardiola's Manchester City team, who like PSG are still seeking a first Champions League title despite serious investment from Gulf state owners, must get past Borussia Moenchengladbach, European Cup finalists way back in 1977.

"I learned when I was in Germany how big and important and historical a team Gladbach are. I respect the beauty of their football," said former Bayern boss Guardiola.

"I want to arrive in the best condition when we play them. We want to compete as best as possible and go through."

Frank Lampard said that Chelsea, winners in 2012, have been handed the hardest possible draw with their tie against Atletico Madrid.

Cristiano Ronaldo and Juventus will play Portuguese side Porto, winners in 2004, while Real Madrid take on last season's surprise quarterfinalists Atalanta.

Liverpool will be wary of an attack-minded RB Leipzig side who ended the hopes of Manchester United in the group phase. That match will be a clash of German managers as Jurgen Klopp's Reds face a Leipzig side led by young coach Julian Nagelsmann. 

Posted in: SOCCER

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