UEFA Champions League updates: 4-10 January

The latest from the round of 16 contenders

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04/01/2016
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Round of 16 starts 16 February: full schedule
Story so far: How the eight groups finished
Highlights: Watch every goal from the group stage

Here is our round up of all the knockout teams in weekend action, plus all the midweek fixtures involving the last 16 ...

Wednesday
Serie A – Juventus v Verona (15.00CET), Chievo v Roma (15.00)
Portuguese Liga – Benfica v Marítimo (19.00)
Copa del Rey last 16 first legBarcelona v Espanyol (20.30), Rayo Vallecano v Atlético Madrid (22.05)
English League Cup semi-final first leg – Everton v Manchester City (21.00)

©AFP/Getty Images

There's still a winter break in progress for several of the contenders, with the Bundesliga not back until 22 January ...

Paris Saint-Germain coach Laurent Blant was satisfied after his side needed a Zlatan Ibrahimović goal on the hour to beat fourth-tier Wasquehal in the French Cup round of 64. "Resuming competition is always the most difficult thing," Blanc said. "We would have preferred to play better and be more calm but we did not manage to do it. We worked a lot last week, this is why we were a bit tired."

Midfielder Adrien Rabiot added: "We know it is always difficult in the cup. The victory took a long time to take shape. We finally found the net and qualified, it is all that matters." The draw for the last 32 is at 19.30CET tonight with the games on 19 and 20 January.

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Luiz Beto da Silva has joined PSV on a two-and-a-half-year contract from Sporting Cristal in his native Peru. The forward hopes to emulate compatriot Jefferson Farfán, who became "a household name in Eindhoven" for his 57 league goals in four seasons at PSV before joining Schalke in summer 2008. "He is a role model to me," added the teenager.

Argentina midfielder Matías Kranevitter has arrived at Atlético Madrid having been at his previous club River Plate on loan since his August signing for the Spanish side.

Rafael Benítez has left his position as Real Madrid coach seven months after his appointment, with Zinédine Zidane taking charge having previously been at the reserve helm.


©AFP/Getty Images

Zinédine Zidane makes a brief statement as he is unveiled:


This is an important day for me. I'm more excited now than I was when I signed as a player. I am going to put my heart and soul into this job so that everything works out well.

We have the best club and fans in the world. Tomorrow I will be with the team and get to work. Thanks to everyone.

What we must do now, and what I will try to do, is all that is possible so that this team wins something at the end of the season.

He wasn't half bad as a player; how will Zizou fare as a first-team coach?

Gent on tour ... near Valencia

Paris Saint-Germain's pursuit of another domestic treble will continue with a home tie aginst struggling Toulouse in the French Cup round of 16 after the draw was made on Monday. The game will take place on 19 or 20 January.


©Getty Images

Spare a thought for poor Axel ...

PSV are in Malta preparing for their spring campaign, and coach Phillip Cocu spoke to UEFA.com about their round of 16 prospects against Atlético Madrid. "Good opponents," he said. "Top of the table in Spain so at this stage of of the UEFA Champions League you play against tough opposition, but we are going to fight for our chances in both games and in the end we will see if we can surprise everybody again."

©Domenic Aquilina

PSV's Luuk de Jong also reflected on the upcoming games against Atlético, telling UEFA.com: "Yes, they are going to be two tough matches, but that is what every Champions League match is. We have to watch out against Atlético Madrid as they have a very strong defence – they do not give a lot of goals away and they always score."

De Jong also had kind words for Malta, with his side set to take on domestic champions Hibernians in a friendly game this evening. "Nice pitch and good weather here in Malta - not like in Holland at this time of year," he said. "A really good place to prepare ourselves for this two-legged affair against Atlético."

©Domenic Aquilina

At a press conference today, Josep Guardiola revealed that a desire to coach in England was behind his decision not to renew his contract as Bayern coach beyond the summer. "I want to coach in the Premier League. This was the only reason for my decision," he explained. "Once I have agreed to something, the club will announce it. I have not signed anything yet."

Rafael Benítez has issued a statement on his official website after his departure from Real Madrid ...

"Now, at the end of my time as first team coach of Real Madrid, I would like to use this article to say goodbye to everyone at every level of the club. I want everyone at the club from the Board of directors, executives, workers and all of the fans, know that it has been an honour and privilege to be in charge at this club.were I grew up as a person, player and coach from the lowest categories through to the first team.

"As a madridista from Madrid, steeped in the traditions and values of this institution, which I learned in the old sports city of Castellana, it has been an honour to work for these colours. I would especially like to thank everyone at the new sports city and the Santiago Bernabéu who since my first steps through the door have supported me and made my work easier. Thanks to all for helping.

"With all that I have said still in mind, I would like to wish good luck to Zinédine Zidane ,my successor, and his staff. To all the players, coaches and staff in both Valdebebas and Bernabéu, I wish all the best and also good luck.

"With all my respect and thanks... HALA MADRID and NOTHING ELSE."

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Here is the lineup for PSV's friendly against Hibernians in Malta (19.30CET kick-off) ...

PSV Eindhoven started 2016 with a 2-1 friendly defeat by Hibernians in Paola on the Dutch champions' training camp in Malta. Phillip Cocu fielded an experimental side in the first half but regulars Jeroen Zoet, Hector Moreno, Stijn Schaars and Luuk de Jong all participated in the second period. PSV dominated the first half with Maxime Lestienne excelling on the left and Rai Vloet gave them a ninth-minute lead when he put his foot in the way of a back-pass to defect in. However, several chances then went begging with Luciano Narsingh hitting the crossbar just before the break.

Hibernians drew level on 63 minutes when substitute Jean Paul Farrugia shot neatly past Zoet from Jackson Lima’s perfect assist. Dutch goalkeeper Stan van Hoeven, who works for the company that organised PSV's tour and was on trail for Hibernians tonight, did well to deny Luuk de Jong and it was was the home team who struck the final blow when Jorge Santos Silva scored with a perfect effort from just outside the area in front of around 7,000 fans. PSV return to competitive action on 17 January with an Eredivisie trip to Feyenoord.

©Domenic Aquilina

Juventus have now won eight top-flight games on the trot, goals from Paulo Dybala, Leonardo Bonucci and Simone Zaza – his fourth in three games – earning them a 3-0 win against Verona to ensure they remain three points behind leaders Internazionale Milano. Dybala's free-kick took his personal tally to nine in the league this season.

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Eighteen-year-old Umar Sadiq, making his first ever senior start having struck as a substitute in Roma's last game, opened the scoring as the Giallorossi drew 3-3 with Chievo to stay fifth in Serie A.

Barcelona eased to a 4-1 victory against city rivals Espanyol in the first leg of their Copa del Rey last-16 tie. Though Felipe Caicedo gave the visitors a surprise lead early on, two Lionel Messi goals put the hosts in front at the interval. Gerard Piqué and Neymar – with a splendid volley – both got in on the act after the break, when Espanyol also had two men sent off. The second instalment takes place next Wednesday.

There were six round of 16 contenders in domestic action on Wednesday, with Barcelona, Juventus and Benfica recording victories.

Paris coach Laurent Blanc is delighted that his old France team-mate Zinédane Zidane has taken over at Real Madrid, saying: "I wish him the best as a coach. Zinédine was a huge player. What I like is that he wanted to become a coach. He does not do anything like the others and his first club will be Real Madrid."

He added of the Paris squad: "Yesterday was one of the first times when we have had the whole squad available, almost 25 players for the training session. Salvatore [Sirigu] has an adductor problem but this is not so bad. We will need the whole squad in order to meet our goals."

©AFP/Getty Images

Our Maltese correspondent sent us this photo of PSV coach Phillip Cocu directing training this afternoon. PSV are enjoying some warm-weather sessions on the Mediterranean island ahead of the resumption of the Eredivisie on 15 January.

©Domenic Aquilina©Domenic Aquilina

Revealed: the UEFA.com users' Team of the Year 2015 ...

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Francesco Totti could make his Roma comeback at home to AC Milan tomorrow having been out since 26 September with a thigh injury. Coach Rudi Garcia said: "Totti will be named in the squad." Mohamed Salah is alslo available to play with Daniele De Rossi facing a late fitness test. 

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Paris extended their lead at the Ligue 1 summit to 22 points ahead of the weekend fixtures with a 2-0 victory at home to Bastia. Defenders Thiago Silva and Maxwell were the unlikely goalscorers as the unbeaten leaders won their seventh consecutive match in all competitions. Thiago Silva (29) headed in the opener before Maxwell's stunning volley ten minutes later ensured a routine victory. Javier Pastore made his first appearance since the UEFA Champions League game against Real Madrid on 21 October.

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Arda Turan and Aleix Vidal made their club Liga debuts and had a great start as Barcelona were two up within 14 minutes against Granada. Arda set up Messi for the first and the most selected player in the UEFA.com users' Team of the Year 2015 had another soon after following a typical link-up with Neymar and Luis Suárez.

Messi had chances for more before half-time, and the hat-trick came when Arda dummied, Neymar hit the post and the Argentina forward pounced on the rebound. Neymar himself had the final word with a neat chip following a Suárez pass.

Arsène Wenger stretched his perfect record of FA Cup third-round progress with Arsenal to 20 years in a row as the holders moved into the last 32 despite falling behind to their Premier League rivals.

Joel Campbell half-volleyed in Theo Walcott's pass to equalise but although Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain hit the post, Arsenal – aiming for a competition record-equalling third straight trophy – had to wait until 18 minutes to go for substitute Aaron Ramsey to be set up by Héctor Bellerín, who soon after also laid on the third for Olivier Giroud.

Manchester City saw off Premier League opposition to begin their FA Cup campaign as Sergio Agüero stood out, his solo goal opening the scoring before he then set up teenager Kelechi Iheanacho for the second. If Norwcich were relieved when Agüero was replaced on 71 minutes by Gaël Clichy, another substitute Kevin De Bruyne still breached the home defence for the third time from a tight angle.

Zinédine Zidane oversaw a 5-0 win against Deportivo La Coruña in his first match as Real Madrid coach with Gareth Bale scoring a hat-trick, with two of them superb headers. Appropriately it was a Frenchman that scored first under the new boss as Karim Benzema back-heeled in Sergio Ramos's shot for his 150th goal for the club and 100th in both the Liga and at the Santiago Bernabéu, and he got another at the end. Madrid are two points behind leaders Barcelona and one adrift of Atlético, who play on Sunday.

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Roma were held 1-1 by AC Milan to miss the chance to join Juventus in fourth place in Serie A. On-loan Stuttgart defender Antonio Rüdiger got his first Roma goal when he volleyed in Miralem Pjanić's fourth-minute free-kick but Juraj Kucka rose to equalise by heading in Keisuke Honda's looping cross early in the second half.

Francesco Totti came off the bench with 20 minutes to go for his first appearance since injury in late September and his 592nd in Serie A, joining Gianluca Pagliuca in joint third place on the all-time league list.

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Aiming for a first FA Cup success since 2012, the Chelsea navigated their way past third-tier Scunthorpe thanks to goals from Diego Costa and Ruben Loftus-Cheek to make the fourth round with a 2-0 win. Blues coach Guus Hiddink is targeting a second triumph in the competition after leading the club to success in 2009 when he was also appointed midway through the season.

Bayern München are in Doha at the moment as they make the most of the winter break in Germany …

Atlético Madrid returned to the top in Spain by claiming a 2-0 victory at Celta to secure their third successive Liga win, despite finding the going tough during the first half in Galicia. Antoine Griezmann got the Colchoneros off the mark shortly after the restart after combining well with Luciano Vietto, and the visitors made sure of the points when Yannick Carrasco took possession and surged through the defence before finishing well. The result lifted Atlético back two points clear of Barcelona, who have a game in hand.

Resurgent Juventus posted their ninth straight victory in Serie A courtesy of a 2-1 success at Sampdoria, the champions moving up to second spot in the process. Paul Pogba got the show on the road after chesting down a pass from Leonardo Bonucci and volleying in, and Massimiliano Allegri's troops struck again just after the break when Sami Khedira made the most of a superb Paulo Dybala through ball.

Antonio Cassano halved the deficit midway through the second half, but Juve were not to be denied – and were aided by a late red card for Sampdoria defender Niklas Moisander. The win lifted La Vecchia Signora level on points with Internazionale, and just two behind new Serie A leaders Napoli.

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Benfica were unable to respond to a win for Portuguese pacesetters Sporting CP as fog forced their fixture away to Nacional to be abandoned. The match was originally stopped in the eighth minute but could not continue, meaning the two sides will have to complete their contest on Monday at 13.00CET. The Eagles lie seven points off the summit, with one game fewer than Sporting under their belts.

This blog is now closed, but join us again from tomorrow for more rolling coverage of the UEFA Champions League.

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