For the first time since 2005, neither Lionel Messi nor Cristiano Ronaldo will be involved in the Champions League quarter-finals.  

While Barcelona's exit to last season's runners-up Paris Saint-Germain was perhaps not too much of a surprise, few saw Juventus coming out on the wrong end of an upset against Porto in the last 16.  

So, could we be witnessing a changing of the guard in the competition? Is it a case of out with the old, in with the new? 

While Messi and Ronaldo have dominated in Europe through the years, a collection of some of the most promising talents in the world game have the chance to take centre stage now.

 

Erling Haaland (Borussia Dortmund)

Even by his own prolific standards, Haaland has been in sensational scoring form in the tournament so far.

His 10 goals in six games includes scoring a brace in each leg of the last-16 tie with Sevilla, helping Borussia Dortmund progress to the quarters.  

The Norwegian striker managed the same number in a Champions League campaign last season that saw him represent both BVB and Salzburg. Forget just breaking the record as the fastest to 20 goals, he has shattered it. Harry Kane was previously the quickest to reach that number, doing so in 24 games – Haaland managed it in just 14. 

His big chance conversion rate this season sits at a clinical 81.9 per cent, while he has also demonstrated his all-round impact by creating eight chances for his BVB colleagues.  

Next in his sights is Manchester City, a team with family ties as his father, Alf-Inge, played for the English club in the early 2000s. Haaland has been linked with them too, along with plenty of other clubs, and Pep Guardiola has been suitably impressed by a player who does not turn 21 until July.  

"The numbers speak for themselves, of course he is one of the best strikers in the world right now at his age," said Guardiola, who will be well aware that Haaland has the potential to ruin City's hopes of European glory. 

 

Kylian Mbappe (Paris Saint-Germain)

Mbappe has six goals to his name in European outings in 2020-21, the same tally team-mate Neymar has managed for a PSG squad aiming to go one better than last year.

The France international hit a hat-trick in a 4-1 thrashing of Barcelona at Camp Nou, joining Faustino Asprilla and Andriy Shevchenko as the only players to record a Champions League treble against the Spanish heavyweights.  

He was also on target when scoring a penalty in the drawn second leg, in the process becoming the youngest player to reach 25 goals in the competition, aged 22 years and 80 days. Messi was on the same pitch at the time his record was broken. 

Mbappe has also demonstrated how he can provide for others, too. No forward from any of the teams still in contention can top his three assists, while only Karim Benzema (15) has bettered his total of 14 chances created. 

PSG will be hoping the forward can continue his fine form when they take on Bayern Munich in a repeat of last year's final.

Phil Foden (Manchester City)

After three starts in the Champions League last season, Foden has risen from the periphery to become a prominent figure for Guardiola.  

Only goalkeeper Ederson has played more minutes in the campaign so far for City than the versatile 20-year-old, who has contributed a goal and two assists to help ensure smooth progress to the last eight.  

Foden has created the most chances for City during his appearances, his tally of 12 putting him just ahead of Kevin De Bruyne (11), while he has also been successful with 64.7 per cent of his attempted dribbles.  

The playmaker is set to feature in the Champions League knockout stage for a fourth season before turning 21 – a feat only previously achieved by Cesc Fabregas (2004-05 to 2007-08) and Theo Walcott (2006-07 to 2009-10).  

In the Premier League, Foden's 20 goal involvements (11 goals, nine assists) is comfortably the most by anyone aged 21 or under, showing just why he is no longer one to watch for the future but a player for the present, both for club and country.

Alphonso Davies (Bayern Munich)

It is not often a full-back catches the eye to the level that Davies managed during Bayern's triumphant Champions League run in 2019-20.  

The most eye-catching moment of all surely came in his side's 8-2 rout of Barcelona in a quarter-final result that sent shock waves across European football, as he initially beat two opposing players before breezing beyond poor Nelson Semedo to set up a goal for Joshua Kimmich, one of his three assists in the competition.  

Having arrived at the Bundesliga club as a left winger, the conversion to defence was made as quickly as he sprints up and down his flank (he clocked a top speed of 36.51 kilometres per hour in a Bundesliga game against Werder Bremen last year, the quickest speed recorded since such data began to be collected).  

His participation in the group stage this season was limited by an ankle injury, with the 4-1 first-leg victory over Lazio in the last 16 just his second start.  

However, the Canada international had no problems upon his return, having 101 touches (second only to team-mate David Alaba) while topping the list for Bayern in terms of tackles (four) and number of times possession was gained from the opposition (seven).

Pep Guardiola has no regrets over Jadon Sancho's decision to leave Manchester City, insisting he is thrilled the winger has gone on to become a star for Borussia Dortmund. 

Frustrated by the lack of a clear pathway from City's academy through to the first team, Sancho left Manchester in 2017 to continue his career in Germany, just a year into Guardiola's tenure. 

It was hailed as a brave decision by the 17-year-old at the time, though he broke into Dortmund's side during his first season with the club, scoring once in 12 league appearances. However, Sancho blossomed from a promising talent to a verified superstar during the 2018-19 campaign.  

He will get the chance to shine against his former side in the Champions League next month, with Dortmund drawn against City in the quarter-finals. 

Yet despite Sancho's transformation into one of Europe's finest attacking talents, Guardiola has no hard feelings over the player's choice to leave City. 

"I said many times, not a regret, he decides," Guardiola told a news conference. 

"He's doing really well, congratulations, an exceptional player. A national team player with huge quality, doing really well in Dortmund. 

"We wanted him to stay but he decided to leave – when they decide to leave all we can do is [let them] leave. I wish him all the best except when he plays against us. If he's happy, I'm happy." 

Since the start of the 2018-19 season, Sancho has provided 48 assists across all competitions – 22 more than Marco Reus, who ranks second for Dortmund across the same period of time – with BVB winning 72 of the 118 games he has featured in. 

Only Erling Haaland (47) can better Sancho's goal tally of 45, while he leads the way for chances created with 251 – an impressive 101 more than second-placed Raphael Guerreiro. 

Of those opportunities, 56 have been categorised as 'big chances', which are judged by Opta as those where it is expected a player should score. 

Sancho also compares favourably when up against some of City's squad. Only the exceptional Kevin De Bruyne has created more chances (343) in the same timeframe, while the Belgian has crafted 87 big chances. 

De Bruyne's assist tally stands at 48, level with Sancho, who ranks behind just City trio Raheem Sterling (69), Sergio Aguero (58) and Gabriel Jesus (56) in terms of goals scored.

Guardiola, though, remains philosophical about Sancho's choice.  

"Nobody knows – maybe he stays and we don't play good or better. Every person decides the life they lead, other people have to respect it," he continued. "We want him, he decides to go, all the best." 

Seven of Sancho's goals have come from fast breaks, outlining his importance to Dortmund when they are able to counter-attack opponents. 

Haaland is second in Dortmund's squad in that regard with five fast-break goals, with Guardiola well aware of the task City face in trying to keep BVB's vibrant attack at bay. 

"We will face him, try to control him. We know the quality he has, everyone knows," said Guardiola of Haaland, son of former City player Alf-Inge. 

"The individual quality in Dortmund is from all departments, a strong team. In the Champions League, they always have done well."

Thomas Tuchel has no concerns over the application or attitude of Tammy Abraham and Billy Gilmour, but he understands their frustration at a lack of game time.

Abraham has not featured for Chelsea since February 20, while Gilmour has made just one appearance, in an FA Cup tie against Barnsley last month, under Tuchel.

With Euro 2020 coming up at the end of the season, both players missed out on their respective national squads for the upcoming March internationals.

Tuchel knows this could be of concern but insisted that he was at fault in Abraham's case, rather than the striker, who has scored six league goals this season.

"He's had a bit of a tough time," Tuchel said of Abraham in a news conference previewing Sunday's FA Cup clash with Sheffield United.

"He suffers a little bit also from me not finding the real formation up front. Like, 'Okay, let's play always like this, this is your position, these are the guys you compete against, try to compete against A, B and C and therefore you can go'.

"It's a bit more complex because I need to get to know the team better. We have Timo [Werner] who can play as a number nine, we have Olivier [Giroud] and Kai [Havertz], so he suffers a little bit from all these circumstances.

"It's not his fault, it is also maybe more my fault than his fault. We have some talks now to encourage him never to give in, to accept the situation and to not overthink it and to just come back to the momentum in training and to stay positive.

"The team is winning now without him, he could feel a bit excluded, but it is not like this with him so hopefully he can be back now in the squad, be totally free. There are some hard choices, there's still a long way to go and he’s part of it."

Across all competitions, Abraham averages a goal every 127 minutes, while he boasts an admirable big chance conversion rate of 62.5 per cent (10/16).

All 12 of Abraham's goals this season have come from inside the box, and his shooting accuracy stands at 51.22 per cent – excluding blocked efforts.

Asked if England international Abraham had voiced any concern over his participation in the Euros, Tuchel replied: "We have not talked about this. I feel more concerned about his role in our team.

"He clearly knows a role in our team improves the chances for him to have a role in the English national team, for sure.

"We did not talk about it, but it would not surprise me if it's in his head. This is totally normal that the players have their own interests to have a role in their team but also for their country.

"I hope that he's not too harsh on himself and does not overthink it. What is important is the situation in the club and he has every chance to find his way back."

In Gilmour's case, Tuchel stressed the Scottish youngster's limited opportunity has been merely down to the quality of Chelsea's midfield options.

"He has three big problems – N'Golo Kante, Kovacic and Jorginho," Tuchel said.

"They are never injured and perform on a level in central midfield, it is not easy to compete with them. This is the only thing. I have no trust issue with him, I have no problem with his attitude."

Andrey Rublev's ATP 500 winning streak came to an end at the hands of Aslan Karatsev on a history-making day at the Dubai Tennis Championships.

Rublev had won 23 consecutive matches at this level, second only to Roger Federer (28), but Karatsev finally ended the Russian's remarkable run to progress to his first ATP singles final.

Karatsev, who incredibly went from qualifying to the semi-finals of the Australian Open this year, defeated his compatriot 6-2 4-6 6-4.

He became the first Wild Card to reach the final since Thomas Muster in 1997, doing so by hitting 41 winners and forcing 16 break points – of which he won four – during two hours and 12 minutes on court.

"It was a really tight match [against a] tough opponent," Karatsev said in his on-court interview.

"It was an unbelievable performance [from Andrey]. He didn't lose a match at an ATP 500 in [one year]. Everything was decided in one or two points, I feel happy."

The championship match will be between two first-time Dubai finalists after Lloyd Harris stunned Denis Shapovalov in the other semi-final.

World number 81 Harris, who overcame top seed Dominic Thiem, 14th seed Filip Krajinovic and former US Open finalist Kei Nishikori to reach the last four, came from a set and 4-2 down to defeat world number 12 Shapovalov.

He prevailed 6-7 (5-7) 6-4 7-6 (8-6) to reach a maiden ATP 500 final and become the first qualifier to reach the showpiece in Dubai.

"I don't have many words right now. I am super happy with that win," Harris said on court afterwards.

"Being a set and 2-4 down is mentally and physically a little bit troublesome for me, but I found my best tennis from there. I am just extremely happy with the result right now."

Daria Kasatkina and wildcard Margarita Gasparyan sank the top two seeds at the St Petersburg Ladies Trophy, where the semi-finals will be all-Russian showdowns.

Ekaterina Alexandrova, the number one seed, fell 6-2 7-5 to Gasparyan, before former top-10 star Kasatkina continued her recent revival by landing a 1-6 6-1 6-2 victory against Veronika Kudermetova.

Friday marked the first time at a WTA tournament that as many as seven of the final eight players have been Russian, and the day's opening clash produced a significant upset.

It was a valid reminder of what might have been for world number 126 Gasparyan, who like Alexandrova is 26 years old but has struggled massively with injuries over the years.

Gasparyan was particularly helped by her superior form on first serve in the opening set, putting 72.7 per cent in court to 44 per cent by her opponent and winning 75 per cent of points when landing that delivery.

A topsy-turvy second set saw a total of seven breaks between the two players, but Gasparyan's 4-3 advantage in that respect helped her clinch a first WTA 500 semi-final appearance.

Up next for her is 36-year-old Vera Zvonareva, the former world number two who beat Anastasia Gasanova 6-3 6-1, saving six of seven break points en route to victory.

Romania's Jaqueline Cristian was the final non-Russian player left in the draw and she certainly tested Svetlana Kuznetsova, but ultimately the 35-year-old fourth seed prevailed 6-7 (5-7) 6-3 6-3.

Next for former US Open and French Open winner Kuznetsova will be Kasatkina, who rounded off the day by shaking off a slow start to look highly impressive against second seed Kudermetova.

The 23-year-old Kasatkina has endured a couple of lean years since entering the top 10 in October 2018 but landed a title last month at the Phillip Island Trophy.

Asked about how she came back from being trounced in the opening set by Kudermetova, Kasatkina said on Amazon Prime: "I think it's just women's tennis and this is what tennis is all about.

"It took me some time to get into this match but at the end I won it."

As for how Saturday's clash with Kuznetsova might play out, Kasatkina said: "We trained many times together but never played in an official match so it's hard to say."

Mikel Arteta has warned West Ham will know "how to hurt" his Arsenal team when the London rivals clash in the Premier League on Sunday. 

The fifth-placed Hammers sit seven points ahead of Arteta's toiling mid-table Arsenal with 10 games of the season remaining for both teams, as David Moyes continues to work wonders. 

Arsenal's best hope of qualifying for next season appears to be through the Europa League, which offers a place in the elite competition to the winners, and Slavia Prague await them in the quarter-finals. 

West Ham, however, can get there on merit through the domestic league, and three points at the London Stadium this weekend would bolster their top-four chances. 

Arteta and Moyes were appointed by their respective clubs in December 2019, and few would have foreseen West Ham being a step ahead of the Gunners 15 months down the line. 

Looking ahead to their tussle, Arteta said: "We know we will have a really tough game, they've been in great form. They've been really consistent, they know really well what to do and how to hurt opponents. I know David really well and I am sure he will prepare the match so it is a really difficult game for us." 

Arteta was asked whether West Ham's form has come as a surprise, to which he replied: "Not really. I think they have a really strong squad and they have a great manager and coaching staff. 

"They started the season with some doubts, but I know what David is capable of doing. 

"He gets the group together, they're working really hard for each other, they've recruited really well and you can start to see the things that David has done. Obviously they have a little bit more time during the week to prepare football matches and training, and I think they've been in great form and they're a really dangerous team." 

Arsenal muddled their way past Olympiacos in the Europa League last-16 on Thursday, with a 1-0 home defeat meaning the Gunners scraped through 3-2 on aggregate. As Arteta pointed out, West Ham have no European commitments this season, but it could be a different story next term.

Why are Arsenal still trailing in West Ham's wake?

West Ham were already ahead of Arsenal at the turn of the year and it will worry Arteta that the gap has grown since, yet in many aspects the teams have performed on a similar level in the Premier League.

Since January 1, the Hammers have a goals for-and-against of 19-11 in the competition, while Arsenal's shows as 21-10, and the 13.38 per cent shot conversion rate for West Ham is more or less identical to Arsenal's own (13.04).

West Ham have created 20 'big chances', to 16 by Arsenal, and both sides have 50 per cent conversion rates when it comes to those opportunities, which are defined by Opta as being "where a player should reasonably be expected to score".

Arsenal are on a par with their xG (expected goals rate) of 18.2 from 158 shots in 2021, scoring 18 non-penalty goals, while West Ham have taken 18 fewer shots and are similarly closely tracking their xG of 17.5, also scoring 18 times excluding spot-kicks.

Perhaps telling when it comes to judging the difference between the teams is the toll that errors are taking on Arsenal.

In 12 Premier League games this year, West Ham players have collectively made three errors leading to shots, none of which resulted in a goal, but Arsenal have made seven such errors and have conceded three goals as a direct consequence.

The Gunners' 2021 haul of 21 points from 12 games (W6 D3 L3) is bettered by West Ham, who have 25 points (W8 D1 L3) over the same period.

Indeed, only Manchester City (45 points from 16 games), Manchester United (27 points/14 games) and Leicester City (27 points/13 games) have taken more points than West Ham since the turn of the year.

Stefan de Vrij's positive coronavirus test has ruled him out of the latest Netherlands squad, with Mainz centre-back Jeremiah St Juste included for the first time in his place.

Dutch coach Frank de Boer named a final 24-man squad on Friday, picking from an initial 31-man group selected earlier this month.

Inter defender De Vrij was among those to make way, having contracted COVID-19, prompting a lockdown of the Nerazzurri camp.

Their international players have been banned from joining their national teams, although Belgium still called up Romelu Lukaku while De Boer suggested a delayed arrival was possible for De Vrij.

But that complication has created an opportunity for St Juste, a former youth international.

"For Stefan de Vrij, it is of course annoying that he tested positive for corona," De Boer said. "That's why we can't summon him.

"We need to see how that develops and whether Stefan can possibly join later. We'll really have to wait and see.

"With Jeremiah St Juste, who can play at right-back and right-centre, I now have a good replacement. It's nice for him to be able to make his debut in the squad."

Although St Juste's passing accuracy of 79.6 per cent pales next to De Vrij's (93.5 per cent), he has had far more practice in a defensive sense this season at Bundesliga strugglers Mainz.

The 24-year-old contests more duels (9.8, winning 58 per cent), aerial duels (3.9) and tackles (1.9) per 90 minutes than De Vrij, while also contributing more interceptions (2.1) and blocks (0.9).

Goalkeeper Maarten Stekelenburg, last in a Netherlands squad in October 2017, has also been handed a chance.

Wout Weghorst misses out, his 26 goal involvements in 32 Wolfsburg games not enough, as does Quincy Promes, who was arrested in December in connection to a stabbing earlier last year. The player denied his alleged involvement.

"We are now close to the European Championships," De Boer said. "That means that all players from the provisional squad remain in our picture, even if they are not in the final group now.

"This applies, for example, to Quincy Promes, who I have not selected now. The competition in his position is great and I choose others at the moment.

"Of course I know the stories around him, but for me only one thing applies: you are innocent in the Netherlands until proven guilty. So I treat him just like everyone else."

Netherlands squad in full:

Jasper Cillessen (Valencia), Tim Krul (Norwich City), Maarten Stekelenburg (Ajax); Daley Blind (Ajax), Matthijs de Ligt (Juventus), Denzel Dumfries (PSV), Jeremiah St Juste (Mainz), Kenny Tete (Fulham), Patrick van Aanholt (Crystal Palace), Joel Veltman (Brighton and Hove Albion), Owen Wijndal (AZ); Frenkie de Jong (Barcelona), Ryan Gravenberch (Ajax), Davy Klaassen (Ajax), Marten de Roon (Atalanta), Donny van de Beek (Manchester United), Georginio Wijnaldum (Liverpool); Ryan Babel (Galatasaray), Steven Berghuis (Feyenoord), Steven Bergwijn (Tottenham), Calvin Stengs (AZ), Memphis Depay (Lyon), Luuk de Jong (Sevilla), Donyell Malen (PSV).

Jurgen Klopp is excited by the prospect of facing Real Madrid in the Champions League quarter-finals as Liverpool look to avenge their defeat to Los Blancos in 2018.

Loris Karius made a calamitous mistake and Gareth Bale scored a sensational overhead-kick as Liverpool went down 3-1 in Kiev at the culmination of the 2017-18 campaign.

It marked Madrid's third successive Champions League triumph and their 13th overall, with Zinedine Zidane leaving his post following the victory – only to return before the following season was up after ill-fated spells for Julen Lopetegui and Santiago Solari.

Liverpool, on the other hand, returned to the final in 2018-19, beating domestic rivals Tottenham 2-0 at the Wanda Metropolitano to clinch a sixth European title.

The Reds will have the chance to gain revenge for that defeat in Kiev when they face Zidane's team – who beat Atalanta in the round of 16 – in the last eight.

Due to coronavirus travel restrictions, it is unclear where the first leg will be played, though as it stands the second fixture is to be held at Anfield.

"It's exciting, exciting," Klopp told Liverpool's official website.

"It's obviously a tough draw but I am fine with it because if you look at all the other teams you think, 'oh my god', because they are all strong and all have quality, that's clear.

"I am really looking forward to the games. It's only just over two years ago that we faced them and it was a tough night for us, so to get the chance to play them again is cool.

"I know it's a different round and whatever and we don't know where we will play and stuff like this, but that's all OK. If it will be Budapest, that's fine. We are fine with that. The home game maybe hopefully at Anfield, that would be great as well.

"So, no, nothing bad to say – nothing bad to say actually, it's just cool."

It will only be the second time Liverpool and Madrid have met in a two-legged knockout tie. In the first meeting, Liverpool inflicted Los Blancos' biggest-ever aggregate defeat (5-0) in 2008-09. 

The teams also met in the 2014-15 group stages, with Madrid winning 1-0 at home and 3-0 at Anfield.

Klopp has only faced Madrid once as Liverpool manager but, in total, he has gone up against them on seven occasions, with the first six coming during his stint at Borussia Dortmund, who beat Los Blancos en route to the 2012-13 final.

Only Ottmar Hitzfeld (12) has managed against Madrid more often in the competition, and Klopp is relishing another test against one of the world's biggest clubs.

"With Dortmund, it was a little bit like that when the Champions League draw [was made] for the group stage or whatever – we had them in the group stage, we had them in the knockout stages," he said. "Them or Arsenal, one of them we always had.

"With Liverpool now we only faced them once, that's okay. But, yes, it's always tough. I think it's the first time I faced them when Cristiano [Ronaldo] is not there – probably maybe the first time since [Gareth] Bale is not there.

"But obviously [Sergio] Ramos is still there, [Raphael] Varane still there, [Toni] Kroos still there, [Luka] Modric still there, Casemiro still there, [Dani] Carvajal still there, [Karim] Benzema still there.

"And a few young prospects, proper players on top of that. I'm really looking forward to it."

Pep Guardiola proclaimed Erling Haaland to be one of the best strikers in the world, though he refused to be drawn on transfer speculation linking Manchester City to the Borussia Dortmund star after the two teams were drawn together in the Champions League. 

Haaland appears to be the main threat as Guardiola seeks to avoid a fourth consecutive quarter-final exit in Europe's top competition, while there will also be a reunion with ex-City youngster and England winger Jadon Sancho. 

As Sergio Aguero's contract runs down and City's all-time leading goalscorer struggles for minutes, rumours linking the Premier League leaders and Haaland – whose father Alf-Inge captained City at the start of the century – have mounted. 

Speaking after Friday's Champions League draw, which also mapped out a route to the final that will see the winner of City v Dortmund face either holders Bayern Munich or Paris Saint-Germain in the semis, Guardiola conceded this season's hectic schedule had not granted him too much time to watch BVB. 

However, he is well aware of their main man. 

"The numbers speak for themselves, of course he is one of the best strikers in the world right now at his age," he said at a news conference to preview Saturday's FA Cup quarter-final trip to Everton. 

"I saw few games, honestly, I didn't have much time. But I saw the highlights and the numbers in the Champions League and the Bundesliga are impressive. 

"Dortmund, I know [Mats] Hummels, [Raphael] Guerreiro, Emre Can with good experience, [Axel] Witsel, the quality of their players, Jadon Sancho and [Giovanni] Reyna. 

"There are many, many young players with quality. In the last years they to invested in young players, paying good wages and good salaries for the agents and they have a lot of quality there. 

"They were able to go through against Sevilla. Sevilla, in knockout competitions, is one of the strongest teams ever. They won three Europa Leagues in a row and last season won it again. Always they are so strong, and Dortmund were able to beat them." 

Only Bayern Munich superstar Robert Lewandowski (39) has more goals across all competitions in Europe's top five leagues than Haaland's tally of 31 in 2020-21. 

Among players to have netted 15 or more times, the Norway international has the best shot conversion rate (32.3 per cent) and averages a goal every 82.3 minutes. 

They are the sort of returns to ignite a bidding war, although not one that Guardiola was keen to fuel. 

"He's a player from Borussia Dortmund. I don't like it when people talk about our players," he replied when asked whether he would like Haaland at City from next season. 

"He's a player for Borussia Dortmund. You understand I cannot answer this question."  

Before tackling potentially Europe's strongest force of the coming decade in Haaland, Guardiola must first deal with one of the continent's most revered coaches in the form of Everton boss Carlo Ancelotti. 

The City manager paid a warm tribute to his opposite number, reflecting upon when Ancelotti offered guidance to him at the start of his coaching career. 

"I don’t know how many years he has been a manager but at some of the best clubs in Europe – Madrid, PSG, Chelsea, Milan, Juventus, Napoli and now Everton," he said. 

"He has been abroad and everywhere and all the places he had success. 

"I know when people talk about him as manager and as a person… especially how he took care of me when I started. 

"I visited him when he was in Milan in my first years. He was so kind, we spoke a little bit about life and football. 

"You feel when people take care of you, they are good people, and he's one of them, for sure."

Thomas Tuchel pointed to Porto's defeat of Juventus as evidence Chelsea cannot get carried away following their Champions League draw.

The Blues, who knocked out Atletico Madrid this week, will face Porto in the quarter-finals of the competition in a seemingly kind draw.

Chelsea have won five of their eight prior meetings with Porto, including all four at Stamford Bridge, their best 100 per cent home win rate against any opponent in European competition.

But given the Portuguese side eliminated Cristiano Ronaldo and Juve in the last 16, head coach Tuchel is not taking Chelsea's progress for granted.

"Clearly, many people will maybe now make us the favourites against Porto," he told a news conference. "That will not help us.

"You can ask in Turin about the opinion on this, if it helps you to be favourites. It does not help you.

"But we are self-confident. Being self-confident is strongly connected with our performances. We are confident that we face a strong opponent that we face with all the respect.

"Now we are in the quarter-final, we think about how to win it. The only thing we focus on is to reach the semi-finals. We are self-confident enough that we see our chances."

Tuchel was speaking ahead of Sunday's FA Cup tie against Sheffield United at Stamford Bridge, another favourable last-eight fixture.

Chelsea have come out on top in four of the teams' five previous clashes in the competition, while they are on a four-match winning run at home in the FA Cup.

Tuchel is similarly wary for this match, though, even if he acknowledges the prospect of a potential double with the Champions League will now be recognised.

Asked about that possibility, he replied: "It's a bit like if you asked me on my first day if we can be unbeaten after 13 games and do 11 clean sheets. I don't know. Maybe yes, maybe no.

"I can only tell you: is it possible to win against Sheffield on Sunday? Yes, it is possible. Is it easy? No. If you want to win, if you want to be in Wembley, you need to win this game. There is no other approach.

"Is it possible to win the FA Cup? Yes, for sure. Is it possible to win the Champions League when you arrive in the quarter-final? Yes, for all eight teams, it's possible.

"And from there on, admit it and put it aside, because you just lose focus. The focus is performance, intensity, attitude, mentality against Sheffield, and nothing else.

"Then first leg against Porto, then second leg, and be ready every minute of the game because this is football. Everything can happen.

"I'm pretty sure, 100 per cent sure, Sheffield will arrive to beat us, and Porto will arrive to beat us. These are the challenges. We will see where the limit is."

Teenagers Jamal Musiala and Florian Wirtz have been called up to Germany's senior squad for the first time, but there is still no place for Thomas Muller, Mats Hummels or Jerome Boateng. 

Musiala, 18, pledged his allegiance to Germany last month having previously represented England at every level from Under-15 to Under-21. 

The versatile attacker played in the Chelsea academy from 2011 until 2019 before opting to move back to Germany, where the Stuttgart-born youngster has since made quite the impression at Bayern Munich. 

He has made 18 Bundesliga appearances this term – only four players who are younger than him (18 years, 21 days) have played in more matches across the top five European leagues this term. 

One of those is Wirtz, who has shown immense promise at Bayer Leverkusen since making his debut shortly after his 17th birthday in May last year. 

With four goals and as many assists in 21 Bundesliga games, Wirtz – a technically gifted attacking midfielder – is one of only two players under the age of 20 (along with Arnaud Kalimuendo) across the top European leagues to be involved in eight league goals. 

Similarly, across those same leagues, Adil Aouchiche (46) is the only individual yet to turn 20 with more key passes than Wirtz's tally of 37.

Joachim Low, who earlier this month confirmed he will leave his post later this year, is urging both players to relax despite the added pressures that come with international recognition. 

"We are excited to get to know Jamal Musiala and Florian Wirtz even better," he told the German Football Association (DFB). "They earned the nomination with their recent good performances. 

"But especially with such young players, our responsibility is to be careful with them and lead them step by step to the highest level. 

"Both have huge potential, and I am sure that we will have a lot of fun with them in the next few years, but at the moment it is important not to rush into anything, they should take it easy and develop carefree. I think the next few days will be a good experience for Jamal and Florian." 

Amin Younes, who has been impressing with Eintracht Frankfurt this term, has earned his first call-up since October 2017, while Marc-Andre ter Stegen, Emre Can, Lukas Klostermann and Kai Havertz all return after missing the November internationals, which included a 6-0 humiliation by Spain. 

However, there is still no recall for Bayern duo Muller and Boateng, nor Borussia Dortmund centre-back Hummels. 

All three World Cup winners were cast aside by Low in March last year as he looked to refresh the squad in the wake of the 2018 World Cup failure. 

Earlier this month, Low did not rule out potentially bringing them back into the fold given their solid form at club level, yet he has ignored them again on this occasion as Germany begin their World Cup qualification campaign with games against Iceland, Romania and North Macedonia.

Roberto Martinez remains "very positive" Eden Hazard will be fit and firing in time for Euro 2020 despite missing out on Belgium's latest squad.

And the Red Devils coach called on club side Real Madrid to join the national team in taking "responsibility" for Hazard's recovery.

The winger returned from a six-game absence in LaLiga to appear as a second-half substitute in Madrid's win against Elche last weekend.

However, Hazard had to miss training on Monday due to a damaged hip flexor and could not face Atalanta in the Champions League the following day.

Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane fumed at the repeated "inexplicable" issues that have restricted Hazard to just 36 appearances and 29 starts since his €100million transfer in June 2019.

Hazard has scored only four times for Los Blancos, providing five assists from 38 chances created.

But he remains a key man for Belgium, with five goals, seven assists and 34 chances created in eight European Championship qualifying outings and is set to captain the side at the finals, if he can recover in time.

Martinez is staying patient, revealing the player - in "good spirits" - will not undergo surgery and explaining: "I think there is still a long, long, long, long way to go [to the Euros].

"Rather than setting a timeline, all that matters is to measure every day and to see that Eden is on the right path to get back to full fitness.

"It would be wrong and it would be gambling, by anyone, to imagine if Eden will be fully fit or not.

"I feel this situation can be solved a lot earlier than the Euros, but only when Eden goes from day to day will we see the final answer.

"Knowing Eden, what we're dealing with is a player that has never been injured in his career. This is a real shock, something new. There is a lot of uncertainty around that.

"But in terms of the injury, I feel very positive that we can get to see the best Eden Hazard well before the Euros."

While Zidane had no explanation for Hazard's woes, Martinez added: "This is a situation with Eden Hazard. We're dealing with the same problem. There's been a lot of different niggles and different problems, but everything comes from the same previous problem.

"Now is the moment to forget about any deadlines, any times, it's about Eden Hazard, giving him what he needs and getting him fully recovered and making sure he's back on the football pitch.

"We all need to take that responsibility, between the Belgian federation and the club where he's playing his football."

While Hazard will play no part in Belgium's March World Cup qualifiers against Wales, Czech Republic and Belarus, Romelu Lukaku has been included, despite a coronavirus breakout at Inter.

There are also first senior nods for midfielders Albert Sambi Lokonga and Orel Mangala.


Belgium squad in full:

Koen Casteels (Wolfsburg), Thibaut Courtois (Real Madrid), Thomas Kaminski (Blackburn Rovers), Simon Mignolet (Club Brugge); Toby Alderweireld (Tottenham), Dedryck Boyata (Hertha Berlin), Timothy Castagne (Leicester City), Jason Denayer (Lyon), Leander Dendoncker (Wolves), Thomas Foket (Reims), Brandon Mechele (Club Brugge), Thomas Meunier (Borussia Dortmund), Thomas Vermaelen (Vissel Kobe), Jan Vertonghen (Benfica); Yannick Carrasco (Atletico Madrid), Nacer Chadli (Istanbul Basaksehir), Kevin De Bruyne (Manchester City), Thorgan Hazard (Borussia Dortmund), Albert Sambi Lokonga (Anderlecht), Orel Mangala (Stuttgart), Dennis Praet (Leicester City), Alexis Saelemaekers (Milan), Youri Tielemans (Leicester City), Hans Vanaken (Club Brugge); Michy Batshuayi (Crystal Palace), Christian Benteke (Crystal Palace), Charles De Ketelaere (Club Brugge), Jeremy Doku (Rennes), Adnan Januzaj (Real Sociedad), Romelu Lukaku (Inter), Dries Mertens (Napoli), Leandro Trossard (Brighton and Hove Albion), Yari Verschaeren (Anderlecht).

Jose Mourinho wants to see "the basics of every job" from his Tottenham team against Aston Villa, although he is concerned there was no response from last week's defeat to Arsenal.

Spurs had the chance to move on from their north London derby defeat by securing a place in the last eight of the Europa League, having taken a 2-0 lead over Dinamo Zagreb into the second leg in Croatia.

But a desperate performance saw Tottenham crash out of the competition as Mislav Orsic's hat-trick - his second for Dinamo in Europe - inspired a stunning 3-0 home win after extra time.

It was just the third time in 196 European matches as a coach Mourinho had lost by a three-goal margin.

"For sure, it is one of the most difficult, I'm not sure it is the most difficult one," Mourinho said ahead of Sunday's trip to Villa Park.

While Dinamo won just one more duel (76) than Spurs across the 120 minutes, the away boss felt there was a lack of commitment from his side.

Explaining why the Dinamo defeat caused him so much pain, Mourinho added: "I had in Europe moments of big pain, but pain caused by what football is.

"I lost two Champions League semi-finals on penalties - it hurts you, I'm maybe still bleeding - but the feeling for the passion for football, the respect for your job is something that hurts me deeply.

"I have this very bad feeling because, maybe for some people in football, football is a job, a way to make money. For me, it's much more than that.

"That's why I never lose these basics of football, which is the passion, the heart, the desire. I feel very, very hurt. I cannot find more words to describe it."

Mourinho struggled to explain how Tottenham could rally against Villa, having expected to see more in the Europa League in the aftermath of the 2-1 reverse at Emirates Stadium.

"It's the same question as after the game against Arsenal, and I didn't see what I wanted to see," he said.

"It's hard to say, because I was expecting a completely different attitude and we didn't get that.

"Obviously what I want against Aston Villa is all the ingredients I said in some of the previous questions, what I consider the basics of an honest professional.

"It doesn't matter the area; at this moment we are speaking about football, we could be speaking about any other area in society.

"The basics of every job are the honesty, the commitment, the desire, the respect for the people that expect that you do good work. All these ingredients, that's what I expect to have every day."

Another setback would see Mourinho lose 10 league matches in a campaign for the first time in his career, but Spurs have an impressive record at Villa Park, unbeaten in nine in the Premier League and winning on their past five visits.

Tottenham can close the gap to the top four to three points by winning this game in hand, a vital step as the league is their only remaining route back to the Champions League.

Meanwhile, the club's last remaining trophy hope this season is in the EFL Cup. They will face Manchester City in the final and Mourinho knows recent standards will not be enough to trouble the league leaders.

"We can say that we lost a competition," he added. "Of course, the only chance we have to win a trophy this season is the final that we have to play against a very good team, against the next champions, against the team that match after match showed an incredible desire to win.

"It will be a very, very difficult final. If we want to have a chance to win it, of course the attitude has to be completely different."

Joe Hart has apologised for a post on his social media account that celebrated a non-existent Tottenham win after they crashed out of the Europa League to Dinamo Zagreb.

Goalkeeper Hart watched from the bench as Spurs let a 2-0 first-leg lead slip, beaten 3-0 after extra time in Croatia on Thursday.

However, a post on Hart's page hailed a "job done" before it was later removed.

The former Manchester City star took to his Instagram story on Friday to try to explain the error, saying a member of his social media team had assumed the 3-0 scoreline was in Tottenham's favour.

"I feel like I need to come on and make an apology on behalf of my social media team," he said. "It's just been brought to my attention. I've literally just woken up.

"Someone thought that we'd won 3-0 last night - sloppy as it sounds, it's the truth - and posted 'job done'.

"It's unacceptable and I'm sure it's annoyed a lot of people. I'm sorry it's come to that.

"It's obviously not come from me. I've got nothing but love for the club and support for the team. I'm just as down as the boys are.

"Apologies. Unfortunately this happens, but just know that it doesn't come from any other place than a typo."

Spurs became the first English side to fail to progress in a European tie after claiming a two-goal first-leg lead since City were knocked out of the Champions League by Monaco in 2017, while Hart was out on loan at Torino.

Hart joined Tottenham at the start of this season and has made 10 appearances for the club, nine of them coming in wins. The other match, a 3-3 draw with LASK, included his sole error leading to a goal.

The ex-England international has conceded eight goals with a save percentage of 70.4 per cent.

Title-holders Bayern Munich face a repeat of last season's final against Paris Saint-Germain in the quarter-finals of the 2020-21 edition.

While the Parisians will be sure to test their title defence, Bayern have won each of their previous four knockout encounters with French opposition in the Champions League, including August's final.

Real Madrid and Liverpool will face each other in a two-legged knockout tie for only the second time – the first saw the Reds inflict Los Blancos' biggest-ever aggregate defeat (5-0) in 2008-09.

Similarly, Jurgen Klopp has faced Madrid more often than any other opponent in the Champions League (seven), with only Ottmar Hitzfeld (12) managing against them more often in the competition.

Manchester City are to go up against Borussia Dortmund, having only lost one of their 12 home games against German teams in the Champions League, that solitary defeat coming to Pep Guardiola's Bayern in 2013.

The omens are similarly good for Chelsea, who have won each of their four previous home games against Porto, their best 100 per cent winning ratio at Stamford Bridge against any side across all European competitions.

 

Quarter-final draw:

Manchester City v Borussia Dortmund

Porto v Chelsea

Bayern Munich v Paris Saint-Germain

Real Madrid v Liverpool

Semi-final draw:

Winner of QF 3 v Winner of QF 1

Winner of QF4 v Winner of QF 2

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