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UEFA Champions League live: 20 February

UEFA.com's team of reporters and correspondents from across Europe bring you all the latest news, views and interviews ahead of this week's round of 16 first legs.
 
 
Published: Monday 20 February 2012, 6.00CET

UEFA Champions League live: 20 February

UEFA.com's team of reporters and correspondents from across Europe bring you all the latest news, views and interviews ahead of this week's round of 16 first legs.

The 2011/12 UEFA Champions League round of 16 continues with four more first legs this week. UEFA.com's team of reporters and correspondents from across Europe will bring you all the build-up as we count down to kick-off on Tuesday.

All times CET.

Monday 19.55, Marco Ghighi at the Stadio San Paolo
Villas-Boas was joined on stage an hour or so ago by Ivory Coast striker Didier Drogba, who has scored three goals in just two UEFA Champions League appearances this term. "Tomorrow will be special," he said. "We will play in a good atmosphere and I think we can enjoy the game and play fantastic football. I remember when I was younger, I liked watching Diego Maradona in the Napoli shirt.

"I think it's an important game like all the UEFA Champions League games: one more game we have to win, even if it has been a tough situation in the past two months. We want to win and qualify. We need a good result to secure qualification at Stamford Bridge, in front of our supporters."

Monday 19.45, Marco Ghighi at the Stadio San Paolo
After four games without a win in all competitions, Chelsea manager André Villas-Boas feels the round of 16 tie against Napoli could be the perfect opportunity for his team to reignite their season. "This is the first leg and, in any case, we have to play the second, so tomorrow will not be decisive," he said at Monday evening's press conference. "We finished first in the group stage and we deserve the chance to play the return match in London. Stamford Bridge has a really strong atmosphere for these kind of matches."

Villas-Boas would not be drawn on whether he would have defenders John Terry and Ashley Cole available. "I will wait for training," he said. "John is a big doubt unfortunately but I'm more confident about Ashley, who has more chance of playing."

Monday 19.25, Matthew Spiro in Paris
French youth international Saphir Taïder has offered Marseille some tips on how to beat Inter after playing a part in Bologna FC's impressive 3-0 triumph at San Siro on Friday. "Marseille are playing Inter at the right time," the 19-year-old midfielder told L'Equipe. "They seemed vulnerable when we played them and they lost confidence quickly. They have trouble defending when you make runs in behind the defence."

Monday 19.05, Paul Bryan in Madrid
Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo has developed into a prolific penalty taker for the side he joined from Manchester United FC in 2009 and last missed a spot kick for Madrid against UD ALmería on 5 December that same year. He has since converted 23 times in a row from the spot, but should Tuesday's visitors to Moscow find themselves awarded another, the Portuguese international would be forgiven for feeling a few nerves if he steps forward.

On 21 May 2008 Ronaldo did just that in a penalty shoot-out as his former side faced Chelsea FC in the UEFA Champions League final at the Stadion Luzhniki. With the shoot-out score at 2-2, the 27-year-old was left distraught when his effort was saved by Petr Čech. His anguish was only brief, however, as the Red Devils went on to salvage the situation and lift their third European Champion Clubs' Cup.

Monday 18.45, Paolo Menicucci in Milan
Walter Samuel, who has missed Inter's last two games with a left thigh strain, Diego Milito and Dejan Stanković (both flu) have all been named in Inter's squad for Wednesday's game in Marseille. "[Didier] Deschamps knows me well and I learnt many things from him about European football," said Maicon, who played under the OM coach at AS Monaco FC. "I don't think he will have a special tactic just for me, he knows he has to be careful with all the Inter players. We want to play a great match."

Monday 18.30, UEFA.com newsdesk
The final press conference of the day is about to begin in Naples, with Chelsea manager André Villas-Boas and one of his players taking to the stage to address the throng of assembled media. It could be a testing session for the Portuguese, who has found himself under increasing scrutiny following a recent poor run of form during which his side have dropped to fifth in the Premier League. UEFA.com will bring you all the news from the Stadio San Paolo in due course.

Monday 18.10, UEFA.com newsdesk
UEFA.com has been looking ahead to this week's outstanding round of 16 first legs as well as picking out key statistics from those already played in our UEFA Champions League round of 16 by numbers feature.

Monday 17.45, Axel Ruppert in Munich
Thorsten Fink, former Bayern player and coach of Basel until last year, feels that all the pressure will be on the Bundesliga side on Wednesday. "Bayern have a lot to lose, Basel can only win," he said. The man who replaced Fink at the Basel helm, Heigo Vogel, spoke to German newspaper Welt am Sonntag and appeared in relaxed mood.

"We are the first Swiss team in the last 16 of the Champions League and now we are playing against my former side," he said. "Of course this is a very special encounter. I think humility and calmness are very important right now. We shouldn't go crazy. We can't make the mistake of taking their recent results as a guide to their capability."

Monday 17.15, Tom Kell in London
Goalkeeper Hilário did not travel with the Chelsea squad that took off for Naples this morning, with 18-year-old Jamal Blackman, who has never appeared for the Blues first team, taking his place in the squad. Frank Lampard, by contrast, is looking to make his 100th UEFA club appearance. Gary Cahill and Ryan Bertrand have also made the trip having been added to Chelsea's UEFA Champions League squad in place of Alex and Nicolas Anelka.

Monday 16.45, Matthew Spiro in Paris
In-form midfielder Morgan Amalfitano is hoping to catch the eye of France coach Laurent Blanc when Marseille host Inter on Wednesday. Blanc names his squad for the friendly against Germany the following day and Amalfitano believes he is close to a first inclusion. "I'll pay more attention to the list than I usually do," the 26-year-old told L'Equipe. "When you play for OM, and you are consistent, you have a chance of being picked."

Monday 16.35, Axel Ruppert in Munich
Many of Bayern's players have first-hand experience of the qualities of Basel coach Heiko Vogel, who worked in the youth department of the Munich club between 1997 and 2007. "He has something extra," said defender Holger Badstuber. Thomas Müller added: "He is a relaxed guy and always up for a joke. We had a lot of fun with him, but he always had great authority." Captain Philipp Lahm said with a smile: "I know him very well, because after the training sessions he used to kick about with us. There he learned how to play!"

Monday 16.20, Alexandr Ustinov at the Stadion Luzhniki
Portuguese international full-back Fábio Coentrão joined his compatriot and club coach for Monday afternoon's press conference here in Moscow, where is it now early evening. "We have to go out there and play, forget about the cold temperatures and get a victory," he said. I'm sure the cold won't be the only thing that will make life difficult for us. I'm more concerned about the quality of CSKA.

"We are a team with a lot of quality and some of the best players in the world. When this stage of the tournament comes around, every team is considered to be favourites, us included. With the talent there is in our side, no matter who plays they will do well."

Monday 16.00, Matthew Spiro in Paris
Marseille have been handed a boost with news that Alou Diarra should be fit to face Inter. The midfielder was replaced at half-time against Valenciennes FC on Saturday with a toe injury, but the pain has eased up in the last 24 hours and he is expected to train as usual with the rest of the squad on Tuesday.

Monday 15.40, Alexandr Ustinov at the Stadion Luzhniki
José Mourinho is calling on his Real Madrid team to relish the opportunity that awaits them in this season's competition. "I like games when there is a lot at stake," he said. "That is why I like this stage of tournament. The composition of CSKA has not changed. All the teams that have a stable composition improve their game and CSKA move in this direction. They are very good in defence; both physically and tactically the players are well prepared."

Monday 15.20, Paolo Menicucci in Milan
Back from his second injury of a frustrating season, Inter striker Diego Forlán has been added to the Nerazzurri's UEFA Champions League squad for the knockout phase. The Uruguayan international is determined to help his team arrest a slump in form which has left them with only one victory in their last six matches in all competitions.

"This competition is the most important in the world and I'm looking forward to playing in it again," said Forlán. "Now I can and we are already in the last 16. There are a lot of strong teams with outstanding players. You just need to take it match by match and avoid setting expectations too high. We have to focus on the tie with Marseille, get past them, and then we will see."

Monday 15.00, Tom Kell in London
Chelsea forward Daniel Sturridge was disappointed with the Blues' 1-1 draw with second-tier Birmingham City FC in the FA Cup fifth round on Saturday but is adamant they can bounce back in Naples. "They have some great individuals as well as a good team but we have the same and we are not going to worry about what they have got," he said.

"We have to go out there with the attitude that they have got to worry about what we have got. We are going out there with the state of mind that we can win the game and play some good football, maybe get some more opportunities and put them away."

Monday 14.50, Oleg Sokol in Moscow
CSKA centre-back Sergei Ignashevich is hoping the sub-zero temperatures of Moscow – where it is expected to be a maximum of -6C to -7C tomorrow evening – could prove to be a great leveller against Madrid, who are more used to the sunnier climes of the Spanish capital.

"You have to put your thermal underwear on and rub warming creams on," the 32-year-old explained. "But when it's freezing, when you step out in the freezing cold, your mind gets foggy and you can't concentrate on anything, like you are falling asleep. And something similar happens when you are running in the freezing cold – you dream about it being over so you can go inside and warm up. That's when it's really cold."

Monday, 14.35, Axel Ruppert in Munich
Former Bayern playmaker Ciriaco Sforza, now coach of Swiss Super League side Grasshopper-Club, thinks Basel could spring a surprise this week. "I think now is the right time for Basel to play against Bayern," he told Basel-based newspaper Basler Zeitung. "Bayern's nervousness is Basel's great chance. I think it is a big advantage for Basel to play the first match in front of their own fans. Should Bayern lose this match, which I think is absolutely possible considering their recent performances, then anything could happen in the second leg."

Monday 14.20, Marco Ghighi in Naples
Napoli forward Ezequiel Lavezzi has also been speaking to the press this lunchtime and made no bones about his desire for a goal. On the mark in Friday's 3-0 Serie A defeat of ACF Fiorentina, the Argentina forward has never found the net in the UEFA Champions League despite starting all six of his team's group stage games.

"It would be pretty nice to score my first goal in the Champions League against a team like Chelsea," said Lavezzi. "I really hope so. I know that in general I could score more goals, but I'm happy at the end of the game if I have helped the rest of the team to achieve a good result. This is the most important match of the season and we can't make mistakes."

Monday 13.50, Marco Ghighi in Naples
Coach Walter Mazzarri, banned from carrying out his duties on Tuesday because of improper conduct on matchday six, has been speaking in front of the assembled media at Napoli's training ground, the Centro Sportivo Castel Volturno. "The San Paolo Stadium will be amazing," said Mazzarri. "When we play a match like this, we have the best supporters in Europe.

"We are happy to play in the round of 16, but tomorrow we face a team who have played more than 100 matches in the UEFA Champions League. So, we are proud to play this match but I don't want to hear anyone saying we are the favourites for this game. We can get a result; the whole team has to play not just a special game, but the perfect game."

Monday 13.40, Axel Ruppert, Munich
Bayern chief executive Karl-Heinz Rummenigge has declared ahead of Wednesday's game against Basel that the Bundesliga giants are keen to extend the contracts of a host of their most influential players, including Arjen Robben, Mario Gomez, Daniel Van Buyten and Ivica Olić. "For Robben we will find a solution," Rummenigge told German sports magazine kicker. "I am cautiously optimistic Mario will play for Bayern for a very long time. I also think [Olić and Van Buyten] will stay here. Both have shown interest in extending their contract."

Monday 13.15, Christian Châtelet, UEFA.com French office
Marseille coach Didier Deschamps has been quick to warn his players that they should not expect an easy ride against Inter, who have lost five of their last six fixtures, most recently suffering a 3-0 defeat by Bologna FC on Friday evening. "I know who we will meet even though Friday night was difficult for them," he said. "I know that, on Wednesday, it won't be the same team. They won't banish their day-to-day struggles but the league is over for them – the true target is Wednesday."

Monday 13.00, Tom Kell in London
Chelsea manager André Villas-Boas has made plain his desire to give captain John Terry every opportunity to prove his fitness for Tuesday's game in Naples. The England defender has been out of action since 28 January with a knee injury. "He is a player of great importance," said the Portuguese. "I will leave it as late as possible and make a decision on him after the training of the team in Naples. If he misses out, then we will miss a top, top player who gives us great defensive stability. It would be a massive loss for us."

One reason for Villas-Boas's determination to have Terry at his disposal is the threat posed by Partenopei striker Edinson Cavani, a player English newspaper The Times feels could have a similar impact as AC Milan's Zlatan Ibrahimović had against Arsenal FC last week. "If anyone can inflict such a humbling, it is Cavani, even in a side who have struggled to reproduce their European form in domestic combat in recent weeks," said the publication.

Monday 12.50, Alexandr Ustinov at the Stadion Luzhniki
CSKA coach Leonid Slutski has already addressed the media today and was keen to stress that his side will be clear underdogs against Real Madrid. "We have a specific game plan," he said. "When we are up against a team we are superior to, the implementation of the plan guarantees a result. But in games like these we need favourable circumstances; we need Real to be under par and then capitalise. Every team makes errors; we must be ready for them."

Monday 12.30, Fabio Balaudo in Turin
On the eve of the visit of Chelsea, Napoli president Aurelio de Laurentiis spoke with Corriere dello Sport and urged the hosts to make history against the Premier League outfit. He said: "We would like to reach the quarter-finals to keep climbing in Europe and make one further step towards the greatest Napoli ever: the one of [Diego] Maradona, Careca and [Bruno] Giordano. Obviously we can't compare ourselves with them, but they made history and are a source of inspiration. We have grown because of their legacy."

De Laurentiis knows beating Chelsea represents a huge task but trusts in the squad, in the fans, and in divine assistance. "At the San Paolo we'll count on our 12th man, the push of the supporters," he said. "Moreover, we also have a 13th one, San Gennaro, and we all have faith in him."

Monday 12.00, Paul Bryan in Madrid
Madrid's five-hour flight from the Spanish capital to Moscow – where they landed at just before midnight on Sunday – was reported to have been a comfortable one, with applause all around greeting the announcement that the club's basketball team had lifted the Copa del Rey for the first time in 19 years. Madrid's opponents in the final? Regal Barcelona.

Following a press conference at 13.15CET – where he will be joined by full-back Fábio Coentrão – José Mourinho will put his side through their paces at the Stadion Luzhniki ahead of tomorrow's first leg against CSKA.

Monday 11.33, Aleksandr Ustinov in Moscow
CSKA defender Aleksei Berezutski is gearing up to take on Europe's most dangerous marksman this season in the form of Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo, but the Russian international is putting on a brave face. "I think I'm ready, but not everybody can stop him," he said. "Will we be man-marking him? Nowadays, no team in the world can man-mark [Lionel] Messi or Ronaldo."

The Army Men are playing their first competitive game of 2012, with Berezutski feeling positive following a good winter training camp. "You can't be 100% ready until you play your first official game," he explained. "I think we are 80-90% ready. We have worked towards playing on 21 February, and that is why we are in a good physical state."

Ángel Di María will not travel to Moscow, but Berezutski took little comfort from the winger's injury-enforced absence. "The absence of Di María will not affect their game. In that team, at least five players of a similar standard can replace him. Any other team would miss a player like that."

Monday 11.10, Axel Ruppert in Munich
As Bayern ready themselves to take on Basel, the German press are having their doubts about Jupp Heynckes' side, who were held to a 0-0 draw at rock-bottom SC Freiburg at the weekend. Süddeutsche Zeitung grumbled: "It is hard to avoid the impression that Bayern are playing without mutch of a match-plan and strategy at the moment."

Munich-based Abendzeitung added: "Bayern have won only two of their last eight matches away from home and in Freiburg it was apparent once again that Bayern cannot break down defensive, well-organised, clever teams." Skipper Philipp Lahm was certainly not happy, concluding: "If we play in Basel like we did in Freiburg, we won't have a chance."

Sporting director Christian Nerlinger said: "Alarm bells are ringing. All the basic elements were missing at Freiburg: passion, the right attitude, aggression, and also the necessary wherewithal to beat the bottom team in the table. We have to get into a higher gear right away, or it will be a very disappointing and depressing season for us."

Monday 11.00, UEFA.com newsdesk
Before the day's business gets under way, starting with press conferences at Napoli and CSKA within the hour, a gentle reminder that there are a number of ways to win great prizes with UEFA.com, including Predictor, Player Rater, and Classics.

Tuesday's matches
PFC CSKA Moskva v Real Madrid CF
SSC Napoli v Chelsea FC

Wednesday's matches
Olympique de Marseille v FC Internazionale Milano
FC Basel 1893 v FC Bayern München

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Last updated: 20/02/12 23.00CET
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