At the end of the morning, Benfica and the remaining seven quarter-finalists of the Champions League will already have the name of the opponent for the next phase in their hands. The draw, which will not have any constraints, is scheduled for 11 am (in mainland Portugal), in Nyon, with the Italian teams having a majority presence for the first time since the 2005-06 season.
For the “incarnates”, the last bastion of the Portuguese representation in this edition of the Champions League, it is an opportunity to overcome the performance of last season, when they fell at the feet of Liverpool in the quarter-finals. You “reds” are no longer in the competition, but from England come two threats called Manchester City (which crushed RB Leipzig in the round of 16, with 8-1 on aggregate over the two legs) and Chelsea (removed Borussia Dortmund by 2-1 ). Even growing up, theblues” will be a much more inviting opponent than the “citizens”, still looking for a European title but with an offensive power difficult to match.
Another of the giants present in the draw is the almighty Real Madrid, which continues to compensate on European stages for the lower regularity of performance that it has shown in Spain. The current runner-up in La Liga (nine points behind Barcelona) clearly overcame Liverpool (6-2 in total) in the round of 16, and is on a sustained path in search of its 15th title in the main competition of UEFA clubs – in the last 10 editions, it has won five.
The group of potential favorites for the final victory in Istanbul on 10 June also includes Bayern Munich. The 2020 European champions have missed the quarter-finals only once in the last 11 editions of the competition, after this time disappointing PSG’s expectations with a 3-0 tie. Moreover, the Bavarians have already met Benfica at this stage, in 2015-16, winning by 3-2.
Outside this axis, the unusual performance of Italian football stands out, which, with three representatives in the quarter-finals (Naples, AC Milan and Inter Milan), is in the majority in this draw. For the northern neighbors of Italy, it is a repeat of what they achieved 17 years ago, backed by Juventus at the time.
In the round of 16, the Neapolitans (undisputed leaders of the championship) closed the tie with a total of 5-0 against Eintracht Frankfurt, while the Milanese qualified with the minimum record: 1-0 from Inter to FC Porto, 1 -0 for AC Milan against Tottenham.
For Napoli, this is already a historic walk, because they had never made it this far in the Champions League. And it is also an edition of affirmation of the Italian coaches, who complete four of the eight places in the “quarters”: Luciano Spalletti (Naples), Stefano Pioli (AC Milan) and Simone Inzaghi (Inter), joins Carlo Ancelotti, coach of the Real Madrid.