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

By Sports Desk March 15, 2019

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."

Related items

  • Rakitic would 'love' Griezmann at Barcelona Rakitic would 'love' Griezmann at Barcelona

    Barcelona midfielder Ivan Rakitic said he would "love" to play alongside Atletico Madrid star Antoine Griezmann at Camp Nou.

    Griezmann has announced his plan to leave Atletico after five years, with LaLiga champions Barca emerging as the favourites to sign the French World Cup-winning forward.

    The 28-year-old turned down a move to Barca last year but Rakitic would relish the opportunity to team up with Griezmann.

    "He is a top-level player, [among] the best in the world, and of course I would love to have Griezmann on my team," Rakitic told Mundo Deportivo.

    "He is a great professional who has won almost everything and that surely can add to any team."

    Rakitic's future is also uncertain amid links with Serie A side Inter and Premier League giants Manchester United.

    The 31-year-old has won four LaLiga titles – including back-to-back – and the Champions League since arriving from fellow Spanish side Sevilla in 2014.

    But, with Ajax midfielder Frenkie de Jong set to join in 2019-20, Barca are reportedly open to selling Croatia international Rakitic.

    Rakitic, however, dismissed the speculation by saying: "I cannot explain where this information comes from.

    "I have great respect for all the teams, and Inter is a very important club that I faced this year in the Champions League.

    "Some of my national team team-mates play for them, but I am right now where I want to be. If they are thinking of me, it is because my performances are positive, but I am happy at Barcelona. My family is also very well and I have no other thoughts."

  • Socceroos include six debutants for South Korea friendly Socceroos include six debutants for South Korea friendly

    Socceroos head coach Graham Arnold has included six debutants in his experimental Australia squad to face South Korea in next month's international friendly.

    A-League trio Andrew Redmayne, Brandon O'Neill and Lawrence Thomas, England-based pair Harry Souttar and Ryan Williams and Freiburg forward Brandon Borrello are in line to earn their first caps in Busan on June 7.

    Arnold has rested Australia's big names for the trip to South Korea, with the Socceroos set to play for the first time since their AFC Asian Cup quarter-final exit in January.

    The 24-man squad includes 11 A-League-based players, including Matthew Spiranovic, Craig Goodwin and Dimitri Petratos, while former Liverpool left-back Brad Smith – on loan at Seattle Sounders from Bournemouth – returns to the national fold for the first time since October 2017.

    Ryan Williams and brother Rhys are the first siblings to be named in the same Socceroos squad since Adam and Joel Griffiths in May 2008.

    "Our World Cup qualification campaign preparations start now," Arnold said. "The upcoming camp and friendly international in Korea Republic provides us the opportunity to expose more players to international football, which is vital as we prepare for a long qualification campaign.

    "We have seen how arduous the previous World Cup path was for our squad and it is imperative that we spend this valuable time together to have a close look and some of our next generation.

    "We have eleven players in this squad who have all had excellent seasons in the domestic competition and my message to those playing in the Hyundai A-League is that if you are playing regularly and consistently for your club, you will come into consideration for the next phase of World Cup qualifiers.

    "This international window also gives me the chance to spend an extended time with some of our more experienced players who have recently been missing from international football, but have been playing well for their respective clubs like Matthew Spiranovic, Rhys Williams, Adam Taggart, Bailey Wright, Josh Brillante and Brad Smith."

     

    Australia: Mitch Langerak (Nagoya Grampus), Andrew Redmayne (Sydney FC), Lawrence Thomas (Melbourne Victory); Thomas Deng (Melbourne Victory), Rhyan Grant (Sydney FC), Matthew Jurman (Al-Ittihad), Brad Smith (Seattle Sounders), Harry Souttar (Stoke City), Matthew Spiranovic (Perth Glory), Rhys Williams (Al-Qadsiah), Bailey Wright (Bristol City); Mustafa Amini (Aarhus), Terry Antonis (Melbourne Victory), Josh Brillante (Sydney FC), James Jeggo (Austria Vienna), Brandon O'Neill (Sydney FC), Ryan Williams (Rotherham United); Brandon Borrello (Freiburg), Craig Goodwin (Adelaide United), Chris Ikonomidis (Perth Glory), Awer Mabil (Midtjylland), Dimitri Petratos (Newcastle Jets), Adam Taggart (Suwon Bluewings).

  • Jorginho: I'd be surprised if Sarri left Chelsea Jorginho: I'd be surprised if Sarri left Chelsea

    Jorginho said he would be surprised if Chelsea head coach Maurizio Sarri left the Premier League club amid links to Juventus.

    Sarri led Chelsea to a third-place finish in the Premier League and the Europa League final in his first season in charge at Stamford Bridge.

    However, a return to Serie A has been mooted for the former Napoli boss – who has emerged as a possible replacement for Massimiliano Allegri at Serie A holders Juve.

    Jorginho – who followed Sarri to Chelsea from Napoli – was asked if he would continue his relationship with the 60-year-old if he departed London and the Italy midfielder told Sky Sport Italia: "I have four years on my contract with Chelsea.

    "I'd be surprised he did leave, because we are third in the Premier League behind Manchester City and Liverpool, we're in the Europa League Final and reached the Carabao Cup Final.

    "It has been a positive season. Sarri is relaxed, even more so now than in other stages of the campaign."

    Sarri's Chelsea are set to face London rivals Arsenal in the Europa League final in Baku on May 29.

    "It's an international final of a prestigious competition and we are working well to be ready for it," said Jorginho. "We must believe in our football and know that we can do it. There are great players here and we can bring the trophy home."

    Jorginho, who arrived in a reported £50million transfer at the start of the 2018-19 season, added: "It will be our 63rd competitive match of the season and obviously those start to weigh on you. I see this as a very positive campaign.

    "It's only natural that at a club like Chelsea, there is going to be all this pressure. There will always be criticism, but I remained calm and relaxed.

    "I'll always have something new to learn and I've seen consistent growth throughout the season."

© 2018 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.