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Ranking Real Madrid’s potential opponents in the Champions League’s Round of 16

Real Madrid won their group but might still face some high-quality teams in the Round of 16.

Paris Saint-Germain v ESTAC Troyes - Ligue 1 Uber Eats Photo by Xavier Laine/Getty Images

The pots for the Champions League’s Round of 16 draw have been set after Wednesday’s matches. Real Madrid advanced to the next round of the European competition having won their group, so they will face the runner-ups of the Group Stage. However, that list includes some quality teams that Los Blancos will want to avoid in order to have a more manageable road to the Quarterfinals, if possible.

We’re going to break these teams into three different tiers.

The “Real Madrid might even be able to make some rotations for the return leg” tier

Club Brugge and Eintracht Frankfurt are the two teams Real Madrid will likely want to draw next Monday. That doesn’t mean that Los Blancos should take them lightly, but it’s clear that Ancelotti’s men simply shouldn’t struggle against these two, not even away from the Bernabeu.

The “Real Madrid are the heavy favorites BUT...” tier

Inter Milan, AC Milan and Borussia Dortmund have not been particularly impressive so far this season. However, they’re capable of completing very solid performances and they would require a complete effort from Madrid to avoid scares in both legs. All three teams have very, very good players like Lautaro Martinez [Inter], Rafael Leao [Milan] or Jude Bellingham [Dortmund] who can be a threat at all times, so while Madrid would be the favorites to go through against all three, a few plays here and there could make the Round of 16 a difficult round for Los Blancos.

The “you don’t want to be facing these two this early in the competition” tier

Here they come again. Liverpool and PSG. Say what you will, “Madrid shouldn’t be scared of anybody!” and all those things, but you don’t want to be playing these two teams this early in the competition, no matter how successful you’ve been against them in the past. On one hand, it would be very entertaining to face either Liverpool or PSG in the Round of 16. On the other hand, it would require a big effort to go through and that would probably cost Madrid in La Liga those weeks. Salah, Nuñez, Klopp, Mbappe or Neymar are names you should want to avoid in the draw if possible.

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