Barcelona pour on misery for Conte and the winners & losers of the Champions League last 16 draw

Antonio Conte Luis Suarez 2017Getty Images

The draw for the round of 16 in the 2017-18 Champions League has thrown up some fascinating fixtures, eagerly-awaited reunions and intriguing rematches.

However, some sides will be far happier than others after Monday's ceremony in Nyon. Below, Goal runs through the winners and losers from the draw...

Article continues below
Champions League draw graphicGoal


Jose Mourinho Pep Guardiola Manchester United City

As if the confidence boost of beating neighbours Manchester United on their own patch on Sunday was not enough, within 24 hours Manchester City were handed the relatively straight-forward task of facing Basel in the last 16.

With an 11-point lead in the Premier League already Pep Guardiola should find himself in a position to rotate his squad in February, allowing him to prioritise the challenge ahead of City in Europe. And while Basel do have a good record against English sides, most recently stinging United with a late winner in Group A in November, the in-form Blues would have highlighted the Swiss outfit as one of their plum potential opponents.

United won’t be fretting too hard about their own draw either though, with Sevilla having been fairly inconsistent so far this season. The Spanish side also finished runners-up to Liverpool in a group remembered most for the 3-0 lead the Merseysiders squandered at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan.

Jose Mourinho got one over on Sevilla boss Eduardo Berizzo as recently as last May, guiding United past the Argentine’s former club Celta Vigo in the Europa League semi-final, and he will back his strengthened Reds to overcome the Spaniards this time too.


Jupp Heynckes Bayern Munich

Every year it feels like one club has managed to get away with finishing second in the group stage, and it is fair to say that Bayern Munich will be breathing a huge sigh of relief after being paired with Besiktas.

The Turkish side came out on top of a very weak Group H featuring Porto, Monaco and RB Leipzig, and they were always likely to be a preferred opponent for many of the second-placed clubs in the draw.

But having looked a distant runner-up to Paris Saint-Germain following a chastening group-stage defeat in the French capital which led to the sacking of Carlo Ancelotti, Bayern’s European season has now been transformed.

The return-game victory over PSG was a confidence boost, but a knockout tie against Besiktas is as close to a bye as Bayern could have got and Jupp Heynckes will be telling his players that their Champions League season will really start at the quarter-final stage.


Shakhtar Donetsk UCL

The Champions League is UEFA’s prize cash-cow, but Monday’s draw did throw up one distinctly underwhelming tie which will do little to boost the European governing body’s TV revenues.

The clash between Shakhtar Donetsk and Roma will be one both clubs will fancy, but it is unlikely to draw much of an audience from outside of Italy and Ukraine.

UEFA’s decision some years ago to split the round of 16 over four separate weeks was done in order to maximise TV income, broadcasting no more than two games on any one night through February and March. Yet it will take some creative scheduling to get football fans across Europe into their sofas on the nights Shakhtar and Roma – two of the lesser powers of the continental game – face up.

And as for Real Madrid v Paris Saint-Germain... UEFA would have far preferred them to match up in the final than the last 16.


Antonio Conte Chelsea 2017

From the outside looking in it has felt as though Antonio Conte has spent the entirety of 2017-18 so far fighting various fires. Whether squabbling with his superiors, overseeing underwhelming results or sending mixed messages over the value to his squad of David Luiz, the Italian has reaped little reward for winning the Premier League in his first season in charge.

The disappointments against Roma in Group C which led to Chelsea throwing away a 2-0 lead at home and then being blasted out of sight in the eternal city have come back to bite the Blues, with Barcelona now lying in wait in the final 16. It is the last thing their under-pressure boss needs.

Such was the success of the other English clubs, Chelsea were always likely to come up against a heavyweight and the prospect of facing Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez et al will not sit well with fans so soon after the 1-0 loss at West Ham United which forced Conte himself to admit his side’s title challenge is over.


Cristiano Ronaldo, Real MadridGetty

Every club in the draw will have written down their potential opponents on a sliding scale from most to least preferred, and La Liga’s biggest hitters were left staring at the bottom end of the page after the ceremony on Monday.

Having failed to win their group, Real Madrid knew there was a reasonable chance they might face competition favourites Paris Saint-Germain in the round of 16 and Zinedine Zidane now has to come up with a way to see off Neymar, Kylian Mbappe and the likes while simultaneously looking for ways to get Cristiano Ronaldo scoring regularly again in order to wrestle his team back into the Liga title race.

Barcelona too have ended up with their worst-case scenario, even if they will still back themselves against Chelsea. The Blues do have an outside shot of stabilising enough over the next two months to go into the tie with a degree of confidence, and Barca won’t have to be too far from the top of their game to come unstuck if they do.

And with Atletico Madrid having gone silently out of the side door already, Sevilla hold Spain’s only other candle going into the knockouts but have ended up being paired with Manchester United. While Jose Mourinho’s side have proven to be gettable at times this season, Eduardo Berizzo would have hoped for countless other eventualities over the one his side have been handed.