The soccer news starts with the 2017-18 Champions League returning to action with the round of 16. Since the super clubs have all but given up in trying to squeeze more value out of the group stage, this is the part of the tournament that really counts. It certainly counts in terms of money, with clubs hoping their domestic counterparts lose as soon as possible.
UEFA's broadcast revenue split is determined by how many clubs are left from each domestic league. The fewer clubs from your league, the more money for you. That's how Juventus managed to make more money as the losing finalists than the champions Real Madrid. The only other Serie A club to make the knockout round last season got knocked out at the first opportunity. Juventus also took home more money in 2014-15 when they lost the final to Barcelona. It's not just the prize money in play in the Champions League.
In 2017-18, the Champions League knockout stage is loaded with Premier League clubs. They took five spots in the round of 16. La Liga has three, with two for Serie A. That's it for the domestic leagues putting more than one club in the knockout phase, and it's good news for Bayern Munich. If they stay in as the only Bundesliga team left in the tournament, they could be this season's Juventus. As for the actual Juventus, they've got the tougher draw from the Serie A clubs. It's Juventus vs Spurs later today while Roma plays Shakhtar Donetsk in a series that starts next Wednesday in Kharkiv.
“It’s a source of great satisfaction for the club that we have grown a lot in Europe over recent years," Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri said in advance of his club's series with Spurs. "Reaching two finals in three seasons is no mean feat and only Real Madrid have done better than us in the Champions League during this time. Being mentioned in the same conversation as clubs like Real, Barcelona and Bayern Munich is very important for us and will continue to be so for a long time to come. It’s crucial to be playing regularly in the Champions League knockout rounds. That’s what we’re doing and our confidence has grown a lot."
As for all of those Premier League teams, there are already too many for any of them to expect a Juventus-style payday. The chances that four out of the five bow out in the round of 16 aren't great. Depending on how you feel about Spurs' current form, they might be the favorite in their series with Juventus. Some combination of Manchester City, Liverpool, and Manchester United will advance and all three wouldn't be a shock. Chelsea doesn't look good against Barcelona. That suggests a quarterfinal round with Premier League clubs taking as many as half the slots.
"We are going to be aggressive, brave and try to win," Spurs coach Mauricio Pochettino said of his team's chances against Juventus. "It’s the Champions League and we are going to play one of the best teams in the world. They have unbelievable players, a great manager and it will be tough as they have a lot of experience of competing at this type of level and competition. We need to make everything difficult for them, try to dominate and play in our way."
ESPN's Jonathan Smith and Rob Dawson focus on the two Manchester clubs. Goal.com's Ryan Benson with Basel's realistic approach to playing Manchester City. The Guardian's Sid Lowe and b>Eric Devin preview the Real Madrid vs PSG series. Inside World Football's Samindra Kunti reports on Serie A trying to hire La Liga president Javier Tebas.
Pro Soccer USA's Jordan Culver talks to Orlando City defender Scott Sutter. The Toronto Sun's Kurtis Larson speaks with Toronto FC coach Greg Vanney about new signing Gregory van der Wiel. Bayern Munich and FC Dallas make their player development partnership official.
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