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Ernesto Valverde unfazed by Juventus & Ronaldo’s Champions League exit

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Barcelona manager Ernesto Valverde refuses to drop his guard now that Juventus and Cristiano Ronaldo are no longer in the Champions League.

The Blaugrana have been heavily tipped by bookmakers to win the competition all season, with their hopes receiving a major boost on Tuesday.

Aside from defeating Manchester United 3-0 in the second leg of their quarter-final tie at Camp Nou to progress with a 4-0 aggregate victory, Barcelona’s supposed biggest threat Juventus were eliminated.

Massimiliano Allegri’s side fell to a 2-1 defeat to Ajax in Turin to lose their own quarter-final tie 3-2 on aggregate.

But Valverde refuses to get carried away as Ajax’s victory only proves that “anything can happen” in the Champions League.

“I don’t look at particular players, I look at teams. Juventus are not there, but Ajax will be there. I don’t know if that’s an advantage or not,” said Valverde, according to Yahoo.

“We’ll have to see what Ajax are doing, of course. What’s clear is nothing is written, nothing is set in stone.

“Anything can happen, so we’ll be looking at the TV to see who our opponents are.”

The Spanish coach was asked about the late Johan Cruyff’s impact on three of the teams left in the Champions League.

The Dutchman had enjoyed glorious spells at Ajax and Barcelona. He also proved to have a vital influence on Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola during their time together at Camp Nou.

“I’m sure [he is an influence] because at the end our styles are similar, you can recognise a common nexus there, a common core,” Valverde said.

“The three teams try to play a particular kind of football, but we will see how it goes.

“We will go out there to enjoy, especially after a game if we win because at the end of the day we can talk about many things but you need to find a style to engage the fans but you have to take it and bring victories.”

Barcelona will take on either Liverpool or FC Porto in the Champions League semi-finals depending on tonight’s outcome in Portugal.

BARCELONA, SPAIN – APRIL 16: A general view of the stadium before the UEFA Champions League Quarter Final second leg match between FC Barcelona and Manchester United at Camp Nou on April 16, 2019 in Barcelona, Spain. (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)