Reuters Soccer Blog

World Soccer views and news

Live blogging the Champions League

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The Champions League is back and our reporters are currently wringing out their wet things (Mitch Phillips at Chelsea)/basking in the evening sunshine by the River Manzanares (Iain Rogers at Atletico) and undergoing all climactic variations in between.

Tonight’s first tranche of eight matches includes a repeat of the very first Champions League final, with AC Milan visiting Marseille, plus the European debut of Cristiano Ronaldo and Kaka for Real Madrid, with the Spaniards visiting Zurich.

We also have Manchester United at Besiktas, Wolfsburg hosting CSKA, Atletico at home to APOEL, Bayern Munich visiting Maccabi Haifa and Juventus against Bordeaux.

We’ll have every goal as they go in here, plus a few bits of commentary from me, and our reporters if the comms hold up, along the way.

Does Ronaldo’s strike rank among the greatest?

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Cristiano Ronaldo’s thunderous strike in Manchester United’s 1-0 win at Porto has been hailed as a wonder goal, but just how good was it?

Few could find such power on a shot from 40 metres, few would even try to shoot from there. The context of the game, where United needed to win to reach the Champions League semi-finals, also adds weight to the argument that it was one of European football’s great goals.

Can United and Villarreal improve for Champions League?

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Manchester United and Villarreal must find some misplaced form to get the away results they need in Wednesday’s Champions League second legs.

United, who visit Porto, have not looked like European and English champions recently and have a lot to do to reach the last four after last week’s disappointing 2-2 draw with the Portuguese side at Old Trafford.

Champions League draw — your views

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So, here we go again. For the fifth successive season, Liverpool will face Chelsea in the Champions League.

Quarter-finals:

Villarreal v Arsenal

Manchester United v Porto

Liverpool v Chelsea

Barcelona v Bayern Munich

Semi-finals:

Manchester United or Porto v Villarreal or Arsenal

Barcelona or Bayern Munich v Liverpool or Chelsea

Liverpool will perhaps be marginal favourites in the all-English quarter-final after knocking Chelsea out at the semi-final stage in 2005 and 2007 but their fans will need no reminding that last season, when Chelsea got to play the second leg at home, it was the Londoners who came through.

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