Uefa Champions League: It’s Italy vs Spain

It will be Italy vs Spain: two great schools of football coming face-to-face once again.

FC Juventus and AS Roma did not even have the time to celebrate the qualification to the Uefa Champions League last eight, as on Friday morning they already had to face the toughest draw against two Spanish giants.

Nothing is impossible for Juventus

The hand of Andriy Shevchenko, Ukrainian champion representing the Kyiv final, gave Juventus the chance to take revange on Real Madrid. Indeed the madrileños won the last Champions League edition, defeating the club from Turin with a clear 4-1 victory in Cardiff. Juventus, after the brilliant comeback at the Wembley Stadium against Tottenham in the round of 16, can now have the necessary mental strenght to face the defending champions as well as the most successful club in the history of the competition.

Statistics say that, in the two legs, the Blancos are not invincible, although Juventus lost two finals against Real Madrid, in 1998 and last year. Not for nothing, Juventus saw off Real Madrid four times by taking advantage of the return match. This happened in the 1995/96 quarter-finals (following which Juventus won the Champions League), in the 2002/03 semi-finals (when Juventus lost the all-Italian final against AC Milan), in the 2004/05 round of 16 and in the 2014/15 semi-finals (Juventus was again defeated in the final against Barcelona, in Berlin).

If on paper Real Madrid can count on more skillful and recognized players, the hunger of the team trained by Massimiliano Allegri could make the difference during the 180 minutes. The first leg will be held in Turin on April 3, the second leg in Madrid on April 11.

Neutral balance in AS Roma vs Barcelona head to heads

The other Italian-Spanish cross will be between FC Barcelona and AS Roma. Even though the European tradition and the history of these clubs is diametrically opposed, the records show that in the four Champions League head to heads between them (all in the group stages, 2001/02 and 2015/16 editions), the balance is neutral with one win each and two draws.

Surely, it is a surprise to see AS Roma making it to quarter-finals after 10 years, especially considering the prohibitive group stage against Chelsea and Atlético Madrid, and the difficult round of 16 against Shakhtar Donetsk. That is why Roma fans should think positive and be proud, whatever result Eusebio Di Francesco’s guys will achieve. We must not forget that, after all, Barcelona are favorite to win not only this clash, but also the whole tournament.

The first leg will be played in Barcelona on April 4, with the second leg to be held in Rome on April 10. The return match at home could be a little but important advantage for the Giallorossi.

Only the brave

Therefore, it will be Italy vs Spain: two great schools of football and two countries caressed by the Mediterrean sea will come face-to-face once again. It is now the time to play without thinking about the different budgets. Only the brave. Only the Champions.