The soccer news starts with the wasted match-up scenario in the Champions League. Real Madrid finished second in their group, meaning the bouncing balls that determine the round of 16 could make things interesting. That's exactly what happened. The defending champions will play PSG in the round of 16, meaning one of the favorites in the 2017-18 Champions League won't make the quarterfinal round.
We want to play the biggest matches possible," PSG coach Unai Emery said. "Two contenders for the title will be facing off and football fans everywhere want to watch matches like that. We want matches of this calibre. Real have won the last two Champions League titles. They have a huge history. The team is ready."
PSG ended up taking the top spot in Group B on the head-to-head tiebreaker over Bayern Munich. Make what you will of a final matchday meeting with both teams knowing that they'd advance, but it took some of the gloss off of a dominant group stage for PSG. They finished with a +21 goal difference, showing that their offense has few issues in this tournament.
Real Madrid had no issues advancing from Group H, but Spurs turned out to be a better Champions League team than expected. Spurs drew with Real Madrid away and beat them at home, winning the group with 16 points to Real Madrid's 13.
By the time this series begins, Real Madrid could be back-to-back Club World Cup winners. They're currently in Abu Dhabi with a semifinal on the schedule in that tournament.
"It’ll not be easy," Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane said of the Club World Cup. "Last year we had a lot of difficulties with the Japanese side but we won in the end. We’re not going to have easy games and we’re not going to win because we’re Real Madrid. We’ve got time to prepare the matches and there’s no excuses."
The Independent's Jack Pitt-Brooke asks if Pep Guardiola could do more with Jose Mourinho's Manchester United. BBC Sport's Phil McNulty argues that Guardiola has already made the point for who is the best manager in Manchester. The Guardian's Sid Lowe looks at unbeaten La Liga club Atletico Madrid.
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