Thursday, March 21, 2019

Messi v Ronaldo Champions League quarter-final would be a waste – Mourinho

SoccerNews in La Liga 15 Mar 2019

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Jose Mourinho hopes Barcelona and Juventus are kept apart in the Champions League draw, describing it as a “waste” to see Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo meet in a quarter-final tie.

Once regular rivals in LaLiga, the duo could do battle once again after both their teams qualified for the last eight.

Ronaldo hit a hat-trick on Tuesday to help Juventus overturn a 2-0 first-leg deficit against Atletico Madrid, with Messi admitting he was “impressed” by the Portuguese forward’s performance.

The Argentina star dazzled 24 hours later in Barcelona’s crushing 5-1 win over Lyon, scoring twice at Camp Nou, but Mourinho feels the two legendary names should not meet in the competition until at least the last four.

“I wouldn’t like Juventus against Barcelona [in the quarter-finals] because I think it would be something really special Barcelona against Juventus in a possible final or semi-final,” Mourinho told RT.

“Two great teams that are not being successful in the Champions League for a few years, of course Juventus so much more than Barcelona.

“And led by two big players Cristiano and Messi is something I wouldn’t waste on a quarter-final, I would wait a little bit more.”

Instead, Mourinho favours seeing two all-English ties in the next round, with Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United and Tottenham all still in contention.

The Portuguese also revealed his desire to see Ajax – who ended Real Madrid’s Champions League reign in the last 16 – and Porto paired together, meaning one of those clubs is certain to be in the semi-finals.

“I would like English teams to play against each other, without any kind of preference,” the former Chelsea and United boss said.

“But I would do two matches between English teams, which would mean two teams would be in the semi-finals.

“I think if the draw gives something like Manchester City versus Manchester United, or Tottenham against Liverpool, for example, I think would be absolutely fantastic matches.

“My second choice would be not by tactical or emotional reasons but by what I think would be fantastic extra motivation I would do Ajax v Porto, as that would mean one of them reach the semi-finals.

“They are doing so, so well during the competition that I think it would be amazing for one of them. It would be amazing for Portugal as a country, Netherlands as a country, to have a team in the semi-final.”

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