Euro 2020 Special

UEFA Champions League: Clubs Announce Squad Changes For The Knockout Rounds

The UEFA Champions League knockout rounds are set to begin next week, with 16 teams across Europe kickstarting their campaign to grab Europe’s most coveted title. Defending champions Real Madrid will take on Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool in the round of 16, while Paris-Saint Germain will clash with Bayern Munich in perhaps the most competitive fixture of the round.

All 16 clubs were allowed to announce changes to their squads, with a maximum of three eligible players joining the team, regardless of whether the players have already participated in the tournament as a part of another club before the January transfer window.

As the clubs prepare for a three-month-long campaign to win the prestigious continental tournament, here’s a look at the key squad changes for the major clubs remaining in the fray:


Real Madrid

In: Marvel, Rafael Obrador, Nicolás Paz

Out: None

The defending champions had a silent January transfer window, with no new signings or departures during the winter transfer season. As a result, Carlo Ancelotti’s men remain unchanged for the business end of the UEFA Champions League. Real Madrid are placing their faith in the players that won them the championship last year, with the Whites likely to opt for their frontline XI in the fixture against Liverpool.

Los Blancos have added three List B players to their squad, to act as potential substitutes in case of injuries to the main players during the packed season. Carlon Ancelotti has insisted that his club’s lack of spending in the January transfer window is unlikely to impact the team’s fortunes in the Champions League, and it remains to be seen if the defending champions can withstand the bolstered lineups of high-spending English clubs.


Manchester City

In: Máximo Perrone

Out: João Cancelo

Manchester City are embroiled in a major controversy after the Premier League found them to be in violation of more than 100 financial rules, with the club facing the prospect of hefty fines and potential point deductions in the near future. Pep Guardiola’s increasingly frustrating relationship with the club means that the star manager’s career at the Etihad Stadium might be coming to an end, but for now, the focus in the dressing room will remain on the club’s clash against RB Leipzig.

Pep Guardiola’s decision to let go of Joao Cancelo on loan to Bayern Munich on the deadline day of the January transfer window raised many questions among fans and critics regarding the reasons for the move. His departure leaves the Citizens slightly vulnerable at the back, with the full-back playing in all six of Manchester City’s group-stage games.

He will be replaced by Maximo Perrone, who signed a five-and-a-half-year contract with the Citizens earlier in the January transfer window. Maximo Perrone is unlikely to feature in the Champions League fixtures this season, as Manchester City intend to develop him as a player for the future.



In: João Félix, Enzo Fernández, Mykhailo Mudryk

Out: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Jorginho

Chelsea were the most prolific spenders of the January transfer window, breaking the bank to reinvent their side in the midst of the season. Graham Potter has decided to include Joao Felix, Enzo Fernandez and Mykhailo Mudryk in the Champions League among the plethora of choices available to him, with Benoit Badiashile not making the cut.

The Blues have dropped Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Jorginho from the squad, with the latter joining Arsenal. Relations between Chelsea and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang have soured in recent weeks, and the Champions League snub is an indication of a potential end of the road for the 33-year-old at Stamford Bridge.

Graham Potter is likely to induct all three players into the starting XI, given the hefty sums paid for them in the transfer window. After nearing the edge of dropping to the bottom half of the table in the Premier League, the Blues are yet to prove on the field that their costly inductions will yield results. It remains to be seen how well the players get along as a team with just a week to go for their fixture against Borussia Dortmund.



In: Cody Gakpo, Naby Keïta, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain

Out: Luke Chambers, Arthur, Calvin Ramsey

Jurgen Klopp’s time at Anfield might be coming to an end if the veteran manager does not deliver a quick turnaround for the Reds. The club’s management is under immense pressure after a 3-0 loss to the Wolves last week, with the UEFA Champions League tournament remaining their only hope to bag a trophy this season.

The Reds have inducted three players into their 25-man squad for the Champions League, with Naby Keita, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Cody Gakpo joining the dressing room. Naby Keita and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain missed out on the group stages due to their injuries and made their way back into the squad. Cody Gakpo is the only player to join the Reds during the January transfer window, and the 23-year-old is expected to take part in Liverpool’s game against Real Madrid.

Stefan Bajcetic, Kaide Gordon, and Kaide Gordon also join the squad as List B players, but they are unlikely to be a major part of Jurgen Klopp’s plans for the tournament. Luis Diaz’s retention in the squad has been the biggest surprise of the announcement, with the Colombian unlikely to recover before the end of this season.




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