UEFA Champions League updates: 25-31 January

The latest from the round of 16 contenders

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Good morning. Let's get down to business with an update on the ESM Golden Shoe rankings, where Benfica forward Jonas, Karim Benzema and Robert Lewandowski made gains this weekend. Lewandowski was the biggest mover inside the top ten thanks to his two goals in Bayern München's 2-1 victory at Hamburg on Friday. 

1. Gonzalo Higuaín (Napoli) 21 goals x 2 = 42
2. Jonas (Benfica) 19 x 2 = 38
3. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (Borussia Dortmund) 18 x 2 = 36
Luis Suárez (Barcelona) 18 x 2 = 36
5. Karim Benzema (Real Madrid) 17 x 2 = 34
Robert Lewandowski (Bayern München) 17 x 2 = 34
7. Nemanja Nikolić (Legia Warszawa) 22 x 1.5 = 33
Alex Teixeira (Shakhtar Donetsk) 22 x 1.5 = 33
Eran Zahavi (Maccabi Tel-Aviv) 22 x 1.5 = 33
10. Islam Slimani (Sporting CP) 16 x 2 = 32
Neymar (Barcelona) 16 x 2 = 32
Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid) 16 x 2 = 32
Jamie Vardy (Leicester City) 16 x 2 = 32

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Who will be in the Paris forward line when they host Chelsea on 16 February? At the moment, Lucas seems to be a serious option. The Brazilian international has started all three of the capital club's Ligue 1 matches in 2016 and on Saturday, for the visit of Angers, lined up on the left of a front three that featured Ángel Di Maria on the right and Zlatan Ibrahimović through the middle. Lucas enhanced his claims with the second goal in a 5-1 win.

Edinson Cavani was a substitute again, like he was the previous weekend in Toulouse. "Edinson is not at his top [level] at the moment," said Laurent Blanc. Cavani will likely get a chance to impress from the off when Paris host Toulouse, their third meeting in less than two weeks, in the French League Cup on Wednesday.

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Read how the round of 16 contenders fared over the weekend.

Italy forward Stephan El Shaarawy is expected to sign for Roma on Tuesday after returning to AC Milan from a six-month loan spell at Monaco. "Roma is a great opportunity for me," the 23-year-old known as 'Little Pharaoh' said after landing in the Italian capital.

He is expected to join on loan subject to a medical on Tuesday. "I look forward to starting work and trying to help the team as quickly as possible. It's really exciting to be back in Italy."

El Shaarawy, capped 17 times by Italy, failed to score in 15 Ligue 1 games with Monaco.

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The day after Juventus sealed an 11th consecutive Serie A win, beating Roma 1-0, captain Gianluigi Buffon is urging his team-mates to keep up their impressive form.

"You don't win 11 matches if you're not at the top of your game. We need to make sure that we extend this run for as long as possible. It is a great spell but we can't stop yet."

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Gent have signed 21-year-old midfielder Rob Schoofs from Sint-Truiden on a three-and-a-half-year deal. "When a club like Gent come knocking on your door and they give you the feeling they really want you, then that is a chance you can't pass on," said Schoofs, a physically strong and skilful player with an excellent left foot.

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Paris Saint-Germain striker Zlatan Ibrahimović last night took part in an exhibition boxing match with former French rugby international Sébastien Chabal at a charity concert in the French capital ...

Bayern München defender Jérôme Boateng has been ruled out of action for up to three months with an adductor injury. UEFA.com's Philip Röber assesses Josep Guardiola's defensive options in his absence ...

Zenit have reached an agreement to sign Russia winger Yuri Zhirkov from Dinamo Moskva when his contract expires in the summer.

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Manchester City take on Everton in the second leg of the League Cup semi-finals this evening. City, looking to lift the trophy for the second time in three seasons, lost 2-1 at Goodison Park in the opening instalment of the tie earlier this month.

Moreirense 1-6 Benfica (Talisca 12pen 14 82, Gaitán 20 90, Raul Jiménez 30; Medeiros 25)
Talisca doubled his goal tally for the season with a hat-trick as Benfica emphatically qualified for the Portuguese League Cup semi-finals. The Eagles – who progress from the group stage with a perfect record of three wins – are away to Moreirense again on Sunday, this time in the Liga.

A new forward for Roma.

Manchester City have received a major boost with news that Vincent Kompany could be back within a fortnight.

Manuel Pellegrini previously indicated Kompany may not recover from a long-standing calf problem until the "last part of the season", but now says: “I don't think Vincent will be out for six weeks – he will return in a couple of weeks. We are doing all we can to review Vincent in different places with different doctors."

City conceded just once in Kompany's nine Premier League appearances this term, and could now be in line to face Dynamo Kyiv in the round of 16.

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Paris host Toulouse in a French League Cup semi-final tonight, with coach Laurent Blanc on target to lead his side to a second successive domestic quadruple - league, French Cup, League Cup and Super Cup. "This match will be complicated, but we're ready to win it, to get to the final at the Stade de France," the coach said. "At Paris, we want to win it all. We are one match away from the final - we want to be there!"

Thiago Silva (knee) will miss the match and Marquinhos (groin) is doubtful though Blanc said both "are close to coming back", along with midfielder Marco Verratti (hip) and goalkeeper Salvatore Sirigu (groin). Defender Gregory van der Wiel (appendicitis) and forward Javier Pastore (calf) remain on the injured list.

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On a busy night of cup action, Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain reached the League Cup finals in England and France respectively while Juventus closed in on the Coppa Italia final and Barcelona reached the Copa del Rey semi-finals, although Atlético Madrid went out.

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There was one concern for Manchester City, however, as Kevin De Bruyne – who came on to score the second goal and create the third in the win against Everton – was carried off late on after falling awkwardly.

"It is difficult to know," said City manager Manuel Pellegrini. "He is with the doctor, it could be the medial ligament. Tomorrow we will have more news but it is not a nice injury."

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Paris Saint-Germain's victory over Toulouse on Wednesday was their 12th successive win, breaking a club record set in 2013/14.


Manchester City will be without Belgian international Kevin De Bruyne for around ten weeks, the midfielder having suffered a right-knee injury in the League Cup semi-final success against Everton on Wednesday.

Mykola Morozyuk will miss Dynamo Kyiv's tie against Manchester City after tearing knee ligaments during the club's training camp in Marbella. The 28-year-old midfielder has been ruled out for two months and will have a scan in Madrid before returning to Ukraine to recuperate.

Morozyuk has made ten appearances since joining from Metalurh Donetsk during the summer.

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Gent forward Moses Simon (Daddy is his middle name!), the 20-year-old star of Gent's crucial matchday six victory over Zenit, has signed a new deal ...

Josep Guardiola has given some updates on Bayern's injuries. Juan Bernat is back in full training while Franck Ribéry and Mario Götze are in the "final phase" of their recoveries.

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Juventus striker Mario Mandžukić is expected to miss the Bianconeri's round of 16 first leg against Bayern Munchen, which takes place on Tuesday 23 February. Medical tests revealed a torn muscle in the Croatia striker's left leg which is set to keep him out of action for a month. Kwadwo Asamoa, meanwhile, has suffered a thigh injury and will be sidelined for two to three weeks.

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Roma have confirmed the signing of Bosnia and Herzegovnian international Ervin Zukanović on loan from Sampdoria for the rest of the season. The Giallorossi paid €1.2m to acquire the defender and have an option to make the deal permanent before the start of the 2016/17 season for €2.8m, depending on the fulfilment of certain conditions.

"Everyone dreams of playing for a big club like Roma and I have managed to achieve that," the 28-year-old, who has scored three times in 16 Serie A matches this term, told Roma TV. "This is a big milestone in my career and I'm very happy."

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Wolfsburg have acquired the services of forward Bruno Henrique from Brazilian side Goias. The 25-year-old signed a contract until summer 2019 after passing his medical.

"With this signing we have more flexibility in attack," said coach Dieter Hecking, who was searching for a striker after Bas Dost suffered a broken foot in training earlier this month. Henrique scored seven goals and provided ten assists last season but could not prevent his side from relegation.


Roma will be without Vasilis Torosidis and Lucas Digne for tomorrow's Serie A game against Frosinone after the pair suffered injuries in training.

Right-back Torosidis could not complete the session after a problem with his left calf flared up and medical examinations subsequently showed a grade one muscle tear. Meanwhile, left-back Digne will be monitored over the next 48 hours after feeling some pain in his left thigh following an awkward movement.

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Chelsea have increased their striking options with the signing of forward Alexandre Pato on a six-month loan from Corinthians. "Today I'm really happy to become a player of this huge and special club," said the 26-year-old. "I never gave up on my dream of coming back to play in Europe and now Chelsea is helping me to make this dream come true."

Barcelona 2-1 Atlético (Messi 30, Suárez 38; Koke10) 
Barcelona survived an early scare as they came from behind to see off their nearest rivals to take control of the Liga title race. Koke's controlled finish put the visitors into a tenth-minute lead, but Lionel Messi and Luis Suárez struck before half-time. The Rojiblancos' hopes ended as Filipe Luis and Diego Godín both received red cards, leaving Luis Enrique's side three points clear with a game in hand.

Arsenal 2-1 Burnley (Chambers 19, Sánchez 53; Vokes 30)  
Alexis Sánchez scored the winner on his first start since November as the Gunners battled past second-tier Burnley in the FA Cup fourth round to maintain hopes of a third-successive competition triumph. Calum Chambers' excellent outside-of-the-foot finish opened the scoring and Sánchez clinical second put the hosts through after Sam Vokes powered in a headed equaliser before the interval as the Clarets refused to go quietly.

Aston Villa 0-4 Manchester City (Iheanacho 4 24 74pen, Sterling 76)
Kelechi Iheanacho's impressive rise to prominence this season continued as the 19-year-old Nigerian forward struck a hat-trick to see the Premier League's second-placed side past bottom club Villa to book a place in the FA Cup fifth round. The youngster – starting in place of Sergio Agüero – scrambled in from close to open the scoring before calmly slotting home a penalty and then completing the treble by streaking clear from halfway to finish. Raheem Sterling tapped in a fourth.

PSV 4-2 De Graafschap (De Jong 17, Pröpper 31, Narsingh 44 Pereiro 84; Van De Pavert 68, Bart Straalman 80)
A point behind Ajax at the start of the weekend – with the Amsterdam side at Roda on Sunday – PSV kept up the pace with a fifth successive Eredivisie win. The hosts were cruising when 3-0 up at the interval, but nerves set in as the visitors closed to within one goal. However Uruguayan substitute Gastón Pereiro wrapped things up with six minutes to go to seal the points for Phillip Cocu's men.

Chievo 0-4 Juventus (Morata 6 40, Alex Sandro 61, Pogba 67)
Juventus remain two points behind leaders Napoli at the top after recording their 12th successive Serie A victory in style at mid-table Chievo. Álvaro Morata struck twice in the first half - to take his tally to four in five days - before Alex Sandro and Paul Pogba added two more to seal an emphatic away success.

Paris will be aiming to extend their unbeaten run in Ligue 1 to 32 games and equal Nantes' milestone in the process when they travel to St-Étienne this evening. Laurent Blanc's in-form side stretched their run of victories to 12 matches in all competitions on Wednesday, surpassing a club record set in 2013/14.

In 1994/95, Nantes' undefeated run was halted by Strasbourg on 15 April, their lone defeat that term. PSG, meanwhile, are unchallenged since a 3-2 loss against Bordeaux last season on 15 March 2015 in the league.

Despite a 21-point lead at the Ligue 1 summit, Blanc has warned his side against complacency ahead of the round of 16 tie against Chelsea on 16 February. "It would be a mistake not to give our all in any other game to focus on Champions League preparations. The best way to prepare for that game is to continue to win in the other competitions."

The Parisians will be missing Thiago Silva, David Luiz, Javier Pastore, Ezequiel Lavezzi, Gregory van der Wiel, Layvin Kurzawa and Salvatore Sirigu for the trip to St-Étienne. Marco Verratti and Marquinhos return from injury.

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Wolfsburg 1-1 Köln (Draxler 67; Modeste 75)
The Wolves' domestic woes continued on Sunday as Köln forward Anthony Modeste cancelled out Julian Draxler's second-half opener with his fifth goal in six games against Wolfsburg. The 1-1 draw leaves Dieter Hecking's men without a victory in their last six Bundesliga outings.

MK Dons 1-5 Chelsea (Potter 22; Oscar 16 32 44, Hazard 55pen, Traore 62)
Oscar notched a first-half treble as Chelsea emphatically reached the FA Cup fifth round. Eden Hazard, who had not scored in his previous 28 Chelsea outings this term, added a fourth via a spot kick after the break before 20-year-old substitute Bertrand Traoré claimed his first senior goal for the Blues with a side-foot finish.

Bayern 2-0 Hoffenheim (Lewandowski 32 64)
Robert Lewandowski notched a brace for the fifth time this season as Bayern marked the 500th match at Fußball Arena München with their tenth home success in ten Bundesliga outings. Lewandowski took his league tally to 19 this term, converting Douglas Costa's low cross in the first half before slotting in a second against Hoffenheim after being sent clear by Philipp Lahm. The German champions remain eight points clear of nearest challengers Dortmund.

Chelsea captain John Terry has confirmed he is to leave Stamford Bridge at the end of the season when his current one-year deal expires.

The former England defender, who joined the club at the age of 14, has won four Premier League titles, five FA Cups and the UEFA Champions League with the Blues during a trophy-laden 18-year professional career at the Premier League champions.

"Ideally I would have loved to stay, but the club's moving in a different direction," he said. "The club will move on. No player is ever bigger than the club. No doubt they'll sign one or two great centre-backs."

Gent 2-1 Waasland-Beveren (Depoitre 18, Dejaegere 70; Buatu-Mananga 16)
Hein Vanhaezebrouck's charges kept themselves on top in Belgium with a third consecutive league win, but they had to come from behind to do it. Laurent Depoitre hit a quick equaliser for his fourth strike in three First League outings, and Brecht Dejaegere maintained the Buffalos' three-point cushion with 20 minutes to go.

Moreirense 1-4 Benfica (Iuri Medeiros 90+2; Jonas 16 67, Mitroglou 43, Gaitán 75)
The Eagles stayed within two points of Portuguese pacesetters Sporting CP courtesy of a comfortable triumph – their seventh straight league success. Jonas (pictured) opened the scoring and later added his second to take his Liga haul this term to 21 goals from 20 matches, with Kostas Mitroglou and Nicolás Gaitán also getting in on the action.

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Real Madrid 6-0 Espanyol (Benzema 7, Ronaldo 12pen 45 82, James Rodríguez 16, Duarte 86og)
Zinédine Zidane's side returned to winning ways in emphatic fashion thanks in part to a Cristiano Ronaldo hat-trick – the Portugal forward moving on to eight league strikes against Espanyol this season. It was Karim Benzema who got the show on the road, however, while James Rodríguez added the third and Oscar Duarte scored an own goal to leave Madrid four points behind Liga frontrunners Barcelona.

St-Étienne 0-2 Paris (Ibrahimović 61 90+2)
Zlatan Ibrahimović starred for the French champions as they equalled the record for the longest sequence of games unbeaten in Ligue 1 – 32. The Sweden striker finished off a Serge Aurier cross for his first just after the half-hour and also had the final word, taking his personal haul in the league to 19 this term and lifting Paris 24 points clear of Monaco.

This blog is now closed, but our rolling coverage of the UEFA Champions League and the 16 remaining sides will resume in the morning.

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