Top 5 – Things learned from the Champions League this week

FC Barcelona v Olympique Lyonnais - UEFA Champions League Round of 16: Second Leg
BARCELONA, SPAIN - MARCH 13: Fans hold up a sign during the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 Second Leg match between FC Barcelona and Olympique Lyonnais at Nou Camp on March 13, 2019 in Barcelona, . (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)

The Champions League proved itself again this week with another set of fascinating and entertaining games to build on last week’s.

Liverpool and Manchester City ensured their place in the Champions League quarterfinals by knocking out German opposition while Barcelona saw off Lyon.

In Italy, meanwhile, Cristiano Ronaldo inspired Juventus to overcome their 2-0 deficit and see off Atletico Madrid.

So what did we learn from the Champions League this week? Here are the top five things we learned.

Manchester City growing up

Manchester City v FC Schalke 04 - UEFA Champions League Round of 16: Second Leg
MANCHESTER, ENGLAND – MARCH 12: Phil Foden of Manchester City. (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)

Pep Guardiola recently claimed that his Manchester City were teenagers when it comes to the Champions League. It was a statement that made plenty of sense.

Compared to his former clubs, City do not have the European pedigree that they do. Indeed, in comparison to the other sides left in the competition, they’re also relatively inexperienced.

But while City may not have the history of those sides, they are showing the maturity to change that this season.

This team is developing into a real force under Guardiola’s leadership. Few sides will want to meet them in the quarterfinals.

Liverpool back among the elite

FC Bayern Muenchen v Liverpool - UEFA Champions League Round of 16: Second Leg
MUNICH, GERMANY – MARCH 13: Jurgen Klopp, Manager of Liverpool reacts. (Photo by Lars Baron/Bongarts/Getty Images)

Even as Liverpool made it to the Champions League final last year, there was never a sense that they were back among the elite in the competition.

A fortuitous run of fixtures against sides led them to that final. When they met a real elite team in Real Madrid, they were beaten comfortably.

The win over Bayern Munich this week changed that perception. Klopp declared his side are back among the elite and he was right to do so.

This Liverpool team continues to grow, and they are a force to be reckoned with. This display at the Allianz proved it emphatically.

LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 25: Vincent Kompany of Manchester City celebrates after scoring his sides second goal during the Carabao Cup Final between Arsenal and Manchester City at Wembley Stadium on February 25, 2018 in London, England. (Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)

Kompany is the DNA of City, says Goater

The former English Premier League footballer believes the Belgian was an integral part of the club in the last eleven years.

Ronaldo can lead Juventus to glory

Juventus v Club de Atletico Madrid - UEFA Champions League Round of 16: Second Leg
TURIN, ITALY – MARCH 12: Cristiano Ronaldo of Juventus. (Photo by Tullio M. Puglia/Getty Images)

Make no mistake, Juventus signed Cristiano Ronald to help them secure a Champions League title.

Before this week, the Portuguese forward had failed to deliver in the competition. Questions were being raised. Not anymore.

Ronaldo’s dominant display against Atletico was among the best he has managed in the competition. It was what Juventus paid the money for.

The momentum and good feeling earned in this game could be the wave that carries Juventus to success this year. Ronaldo looks in the mood to lead them to it.

Barcelona go about their business quietly

FC Barcelona v Olympique Lyonnais - UEFA Champions League Round of 16: Second Leg
BARCELONA, SPAIN – MARCH 13: Lionel Messi of Barcelona. (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)

In all the Champions League talk this season, few have considered Barcelona ‘s credentials for the crown.

Indeed, this week they were largely overlooked. With Manchester City dominating, Ronaldo’s antics in Turin and Liverpool defeating Bayern, their 5-1 win over Lyon went under the radar.

Perhaps that will end up suiting the Catalans. They’re getting ignored but going about their business efficiently in the absence of that attention.

This team may not be as dominant as ones of the past, but as the win over Lyon proved, it has plenty to offer.

Atletico’s mental block

Juventus v Club de Atletico Madrid - UEFA Champions League Round of 16: Second Leg
TURIN, ITALY – MARCH 12: Head coach Diego Simeone of Atletico Madrid. (Photo by Tullio M. Puglia/Getty Images)

There’s just something about the Champions League that Atletico can’t get a handle on.

Diego Simeone’s side are regulars in this stage of the competition, but they are yet to make the leap into serious contenders for the title.

The longer time goes on, the more it appears that they have a mental block when it comes to the competition.

That defeat in the 2014 final is one that they’ve never really recovered from. Simeone has to find a way to erase it from their memory or more displays like the one against Juventus will follow.


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