Best ever Champions League round of 16 matches, including Manchester United, Arsenal, Chelsea, and Liverpool

11 min read
Best ever Champions League round of 16 matches, including Manchester United, Arsenal, Chelsea, and Liverpool


Another dramatic round of matches await, but who will make the first statement?

The Champions League is back and as always promises to be filled with the usual excitement and drama we have come to expect over the years.

Manchester United host Paris Saint-Germain, Roma take on Porto, Tottenham welcome Borussia Dortmund, Liverpool host Bayern Munich, Lyon entertain Barcelona and Ajax head to face off against the reigning champions Real Madrid in the last-16 fixtures.

Champions League football returns

This week it’s Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s United against a Neymar-less PSG up first before Spurs host Dortmund and wonderkid Jadon Sancho at Wembley.

Both clashes promise to be exciting and are chock full of superstars.

Over the years, there have been a number of memorable encounters at this stage of the competition, but which ones stand out.

Celtic 2-3 Barcelona – 2008

The Catalan giants had a star-studded line-up which included names such as Ronaldinho, Samuel Eto’o, Deco, Thierry Henry and Lionel Messi, but it was the biggest name in football who gave the home side a shock lead.

Jan Vennegoor of Hesselink put Celtic ahead with a powerful header on 15 minutes, but this was cancelled out just three minutes later through Messi’s first of the evening.

Barry Robson sent Parkhead into a state of frenzy when he gave Celtic the advantage for the second time, but Barcelona were rewarded for their dominance shortly after the break when Henry curled into the top corner. With just under 10 minutes remaining, Messi netted his second and the winner, to settle this five-goal thriller ahead of the second-leg.

Henry scored a wonder goal against Celtic

Henry scored a wonder goal against Celtic

Manchester United 4-0 AC Milan – 2010

Wayne Rooney had already earned United a famous win in the San Siro the month before, his brace securing a 3-2 win and he was in the midst of prolific season that would end with 34 goals in all competitions. In the return fixture, the England striker repeated his two-goal heroics; while strikes from Park Ji-Sung and Darren Fletcher made it a miserable return for fan favourite David Beckham.

Rooney scores his second against Milan

Rooney scores his second against Milan

Real Madrid 0-1 Arsenal – 2006

Arsenal showed great resilience to prevail against the best team in the tournament’s history to earn a memorable victory at the Bernaebu. Under-strength, the Gunners fielded the likes of Emmanuel Eboue and Philippe Senderos, but this mattered little in the end as Henry surged past four half-hearted challenges to slot beyond Iker Casillas. The goal would prove decisive as Arsenal kept a clean sheet in the return meeting to progress.

Henry celebrates against Real Madrid in 2006

Henry celebrates against Real Madrid in 2006

Manchester United 1-2 Real Madrid – 2013

Cristiano Ronaldo found himself on the score sheet once more against his former club following his return to Old Trafford. United had looked on course for the quarter-finals after Sergio Ramos put into his own net just after half-time. Nani was sent off following an aerial challenge with Alvaro Arbeloa, leaving Sir Alex Ferguson raging on the touchline.

Until then, Jose Mourinho’s side had offered little, but proceeded to capitalise on their numerical advantage in the space of three minutes. First, a wonderful strike from Luka Modric levelled the tie and the match, before Ronaldo had his second of this fixture, remaining respectful with his muted celebration.

Ronaldo kept his celebrations muted after scoring against Man United

Ronaldo kept his celebrations muted after scoring against Man United

Liverpool 4-0 Real Madrid – 2009

A scintillating performance from the Reds helped them power past a hapless Real Madrid and progress to the quarter-finals. Rafa Benitez’s side, who were in fine form domestically, showed they also meant business in the Champions League and Fernando Torres opened the scoring against his old adversaries, drawing boos from the travelling supporters for his Atletico past.

Steven Gerrard, on his 100th European appearance, doubled the lead with a penalty, before side-footing in his second on 47 minutes. The only shock of the night was that the fourth came from substitute Andrea Dossena to complete a dream performance.

Gerrard nets from the spot

Gerrard nets from the spot

Chelsea 4-2 Barcelona – 2005

When Chelsea fans express discontent at the way in which the current side are performing, it is because once upon a time, they were capable of playing like this in a match of such magnitude. Eidur Gudjohnsen’s emphatic turn and finish opened the scoring and Chelsea raced into a three-goal lead before the 20th minute, courtesy of Frank Lampard and Damien Duff.

The irrepressible Ronaldinho was at the peak of his powers and his attacking brilliance hauled the visitors back into the tie. A penalty was followed by an audacious toe punt, leaving Petr Cech rooted. Barcelona dominated, but a bullet header from John Terry set up a meeting with Bayern Munich.

John Terry headed in the crucial goal

John Terry headed in the crucial goal

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