Barcelona will face off against fierce rivals Real Madrid in the second leg of the 2013 Copa Del Rey in just a few days time, in what promises to be a huge encounter with the tie currently balanced on a knife edge. Football fans across the world will be tuning into the showdown to see who comes out on top between Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi - arguably the two best players on the planet right now.
In the first leg, the sides battled out a 1-1 draw as nothing could separate the teams, in a closely fought encounter.
Madrid defender Rafael Varane, who is just 19 years of age, was one of the stand out stars of the night, and provided Madrid with a fearless defensive display to keep the big guns of Barcelona quiet for most of the night.
Since that first leg, Barcelona have played four games, winning 2, drawing 1, and losing The La Liga favorites managed to play out a tight draw with Valencia where the game finished 1-1, with Lionel Messi scoring the goal for Barca.
While City manager Roberto Mancini has refused to concede the fight for the title, a 15-point stretch could, unfortunately for City fans, be too much of a gap for City to handle, while the Blues aim to remain in the top four with Tottenham Hotspur breathing down their necks.
Their victory in the FA Cup last weekend against Leeds was compared by Mancini to a "brodino", a "starter soup" common in Italian cuisine; it might not be enough to haul in Sir Alex Ferguson's men.
Onto Chelsea. Chelsea, will be attempting a first back-to-back win in the league since late December. The reigning European champions have fared well on the travels recording four wins from their last six played, however their last two matches have yielded a defeat in Newcastle and a crazy draw at Reading, where they were cruising to a 2-0 victory before late heroics from Adam Le Fondre. A win for Rafael Benitez's men will reduce the gap to City to a lonesome point.
Barcelona and AC Milan are a couple of the biggest clubs in Europe, but when it comes to the two facing off in the last 16 of the Champions League, there will be one clear favorite.
Barcelona have unfinished business after the manner in which they crashed out of the Champions League last season, with Lionel Messi of all people missing the crucial penalty.
Milan are in rebuilding mode, and will not even have the services of Mario Balotelli, who is cup-tied.
This Barca team is arguably the greatest ever in the club game, and many will say the dynasty needs at least another European title to be certain.
The first leg at the San Siro will in many ways decide which way the tie will be headed. If Barcelona dominate -- not just in possession because they will do than anyway - and score a couple of goals, the tie might just be over before the second leg at the Cam Nou.
Italian teams are known for their defending and the Milan rearguard will need to be at their best to stand any chance of keeping the tie interesting.
Arsene Wenger looks set to rotate his squad from the team that overcame Sunderlan in a 1-0 win last Saturday, as he appears intent upon resting some of his key players ahead of their Champions League clash with Bayern Munich on Tuesday.
Ignasi Miquel, having come on as a late substitute in the win against the Black Cats, looks set to deputize at center back, as Thomas Vermaelen (ankle) and Laurent Koscielnt (calf) continue to struggle with injury.
There are further repercussions from their exertions against Sunderland as Jack Wilshere's dead leg in that tie rules him out of this FA Cup clash. Carl Jenkinson is also ruled out with suspension after his red card in the same game.
Theo Walcott, Aaron Ramsey, Santi Cazorla and Oliver Giroud are also likely to be rested from the team that started the Sunderland game, with Abou Diaby, Gervinho, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Tomas Rosicky and Lukas Podolski coming in, as their manager clearly has one eye on their Champions League game in midweek.
The biggest matchup in the upcoming Champions League Round of 16 is the battle between Manchester United and Real Madrid. The dominant storyline in this match is the return of Cristiano Ronaldo to face off against his former club. As expected, Ronaldo made his thoughts about the impending tilt clear and he thinks that Madrid is the better club.
"I believe things will go well. In my opinion Read Madrid have a better team, but we have to show that on the pitch because United are a very united team and always have been in recent years," Ronaldo told the official UEFA Champions League magazine. "They're a team that always do well, every year they're at the top and therefore a team we respect a lot. It will be an extremely difficult match, especially in Manchester."