La Liga has some of the best clubs in European and world football. It is the only league to have two teams in the top five list of all-time winners of the Champions League, with Real Madrid’s colossal 13 titles keeping them way out in front, and Barcelona with five.
Only four Spanish teams have ever made it into a Champions League final though, with Atletico Madrid and Valencia being runners up two and three times respectively.
These same teams are representing La Liga in this year’s Champions League too, with all four teams in contention to win having made it to the round of 16. Here’s how each of them is looking.
Atletico Madrid have never won the Champions League, although they have come close a few times. Oddsmakers are not giving them great odds this season either. They currently sit fourth in the La Liga standings, tied on points with Sevilla and two behind Getafe.
They finished second in the group stages, with three wins from six, and two losses. Not a bad record, but not great either.
They face Liverpool in the round of 16. This will be a tough set of games for them, as Liverpool are currently setting records in the Premier League, having not lost a game for over a year. They’re also last season’s Champions League winners, and their team has only improved since then.
Atletico Madrid have home team advantage in the first leg, but are still underdogs going into the game. Ultimately, it seems unlikely Atletico can make it much further this year, even if they manage to beat Liverpool.
If Atletico Madrid are looking unlikely to win, Valencia are going to need a miracle. They’re getting the second-worst odds of all the teams, in front of only Lyon. That said, they topped their group, beating Chelsea by having 2 less goals against them.
They play Atalanta in Milan in the first leg of the round of 16, with the Italian side looking strong favourites to win.
Valencia have two injured players (Piccini and Manu Vallejo), while Gabriel Paulista will miss both legs in the round of 16 after UEFA gave him a two-match ban.
Barcelona take on Napoli in the round of 16, playing away in the first leg. They are clear favourites to win the game, but it will still be a tough game for the Catalan side. They had one of the best records in the group stage, finishing first in group F with 4 wins from 6, and no losses.
Barcelona are a side that know what they need to do to win, and they’re on top form at the moment. They’re currently sharing the top spot in La Liga with Real Madrid, although the latter has a game in hand and opinion has it they could have a fight on their hands.
Barcelona are also immensely strong up front. In La Liga, they’ve scored 13 more goals this season than Real Madrid, and more than Atletico and Sevilla combined. Although they were distinctly average in the group stages of the Champions League.
Barcelona are a side you definitely shouldn’t write off.
Real Madrid are the undisputed kings of European football, with more Champions League titles than anyone. They know more than anyone how to win the tournament, and they’ve got the capability to do it.
They face Manchester City in the round of 16, playing at home for the first leg. They are one of the most evenly matched pairs at this point in the knockout stages, although Real have a slight edge according to most oddsmakers.
That said, City were recently handed a two year ban from UEFA competitions, meaning 2019/20 is the English side’s last shot at a Champions League title for some time. Pep Guardiola, who is rumoured to be nearing the end of his time at City, may go all out the Champions League and sacrifice everything else to achieve this objective.
This may manifest itself as frustration on the pitch, so Real Madrid players should be prepared for a physical game. Whoever comes out on top will be one of the favourites to win the entire competition.