Liverpool are reportedly the favourites to land prized Borussia Dortmund midfielder Jude Bellingham after rumours that Real Madrid are not willing to meet the €150million asking price.

Bellingham, 19, has emerged as one of the top prospects in world football, scoring in four consecutive games to begin his side's Champions League campaign this season, including one against Manchester City.

Already with 17 caps for England, Bellingham is expected to play a major role at the World Cup and a virtuoso performance could sway some of the world's biggest clubs into bidding what would be a world-record fee for an Englishman.

TOP STORY – REAL MADRID SCOFF AT BELLINGHAM ASKING PRICE, LEAVING DOOR AJAR FOR LIVERPOOL

According to a report from Sport, Bellingham is Real Madrid's priority signing at the end of the season, but they have no intention of meeting Dortmund's initial valuation.

Madrid are said to be Bellingham's preference as well, and the club will try to negotiate the final price down to what they deem a more acceptable figure.

Liverpool have no qualms with what would be a club-record signing, and previous reports claim Manchester United also feel they are in with a chance once they get Cristiano Ronaldo's contract off their books.

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- According to Mundo Deportivo, Paris Saint-Germain have been in communication with Milan's Rafael Leao, although they have not been able to agree on personal terms yet.

- Calciomercato is reporting Leicester City have joined Wolfsburg and Bayer Leverkusen in the chase for 28-year-old Inter left-back Robin Gosens.

- MLS teams may be able to afford Cristiano Ronaldo after the league agreed to a $250m television rights deal with Apple TV, per iNews.

- Mundo Deportivo is reporting Atletico Madrid have strong interest in Braga forward Abel Ruiz, and wish to bring him to the club in a loan deal in January that includes a compulsory buy-clause.

- According to El Observador, 20-year-old Uruguayan talent Facundo Pellistri could leave Manchester United in January in search of first-team football.

Olivier Giroud highlighted the importance of replacing Paul Pogba's influence on the France squad ahead of their bid to defend the World Cup.

Having lifted their second World Cup in 2018, France are considered one of the main contenders to emerge victorious in Qatar, though injuries to Pogba and other key players could harm their chances.

Pogba has not made a single competitive appearance since returning to Juventus in July, and was ruled out of the tournament after undergoing delayed surgery on a knee injury.

The midfielder, who scored in the World Cup final against Croatia four years ago, will be joined on the sidelines by N'Golo Kante, Presnel Kimpembe and Christopher Nkunku, and Giroud believes it is time for other players to assume senior roles.

"We will miss Paul Pogba a lot, like Kante and Kimpembe," Giroud said on Thursday. 

"Paul takes up a lot of space in this France team with his personality, but I am convinced that there are other young leaders who can emerge.

"I too will play my role of big brother for the youngest, be available for them, and speak up when necessary."

With 49 goals in 114 international appearances, Giroud is second in France's all-time goalscoring charts behind Thierry Henry (51), and is also his country's fifth-most capped player.

Giroud arrives at his third World Cup in fine form after scoring nine times for Milan this season, and will delay any decision regarding his international future until after the tournament.

"I feel good physically, in my game, in my club and in the France team. It's a period of splendour for me. It's a gift to feel like this at 36," Giroud said.

"I don't set myself any limits, it could be my last competition, but I don't want to announce anything. We'll see after the World Cup. My motivation to stay at the highest level is intact."

France fell short of expectations when they suffered a last-16 exit at Euro 2020 last year, and Giroud believes it would be wrong to consider them favourites to triumph in Qatar. 

"It's a childhood dream, when you have the chance to participate, you want to go to the end. I was lucky that it came true in 2018," Giroud added.

"Having the opportunity to play a third World Cup with this young, talented group gives us a lot of hope. We have a lot of hope but also humility, we do not make ourselves favourites. 

"We know that there are very big teams in this World Cup. I have a lot of confidence in this group."

Manchester United are reportedly setting their sights as high as possible for their Cristiano Ronaldo replacement, planning a massive bid for Paris Saint-Germain superstar Kylian Mbappe.

According to The Mirror, the 37-year-old Ronaldo has played his last game for the Red Devils after burning bridges with his explosive interview during the week.

Meanwhile, Mbappe is considered arguably the most valuable player in world football, racking up 169 goals in 193 games across his past five seasons with the French giants.

While there has been no indication the 23-year-old would consider United as a potential landing spot for the next stage of his career, the report claims he is their number one target.

 

TOP STORY – UNITED PLAN SHOCK BID FOR PARIS SAINT-GERMAIN'S MBAPPE

The Mirror claims that if United can get Ronaldo's contract off their books, they will be one of the only clubs in Europe who can afford the eye-watering contract demands of France's top star.

Sure to demand a fee north of £150million, and a contract exceeding £500,000 per week, it is a financial proposition that has caused even heavyweights such as Liverpool to declare him too expensive.

The report also states United will push forward their plans to invest at striker to January, further harming their chances of securing Mbappe as Paris Saint-Germain seek their first Champions League title.

However, it also mentions 23-year-old Napoli striker Victor Osimhen as their back-up plan, as the Nigeria international is expected to be available in the range of £60m.

 

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- Football Italia is reporting Bayern Munich right-back Benjamin Pavard would be open to joining Milan, despite the 26-year-old being heavily linked with Manchester United.

- According to 90min, Liverpool, Arsenal, Manchester City, Chelsea, Tottenham and Manchester United are all showing interest in 27-year-old Inter centre-back Milan Skriniar, who is yet to renew his contract beyond this season.

- Leicester City, Everton and Brighton and Hove Albion have Lens goalkeeper Brice Samba on their radars, per 90min.

- According to Sport, Manchester City are monitoring 33-year-old Real Madrid midfielder Toni Kroos with the hope that he does not renew his contract.

- Calciomercato is reporting Tottenham target Weston McKennie could leave Juventus in January.

Manchester United are reportedly setting their sights as high as possible for their Cristiano Ronaldo replacement, planning a massive bid for Paris Saint-Germain superstar Kylian Mbappe.

According to The Mirror, the 37-year-old Ronaldo has played his last game for the Red Devils after burning bridges with his explosive interview during the week.

Meanwhile, Mbappe is considered arguably the most valuable player in world football, racking up 169 goals in 193 games across his past five seasons with the French giants.

While there has been no indication the 23-year-old would consider United as a potential landing spot for the next stage of his career, the report claims he is their number one target.

 

TOP STORY – UNITED PLAN SHOCK BID FOR PARIS SAINT-GERMAIN'S MBAPPE

The Mirror claims that if United can get Ronaldo's contract off their books, they will be one of the only clubs in Europe who can afford the eye-watering contract demands of France's top star.

Sure to demand a fee north of £150million, and a contract exceeding £500,000 per week, it is a financial proposition that has caused even heavyweights such as Liverpool to declare him too expensive.

The report also states United will push forward their plans to invest at striker to January, further harming their chances of securing Mbappe as Paris Saint-Germain seek their first Champions League title.

However, it also mentions 23-year-old Napoli striker Victor Osimhen as their back-up plan, as the Nigeria international is expected to be available in the range of £60m.

 

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- Football Italia is reporting Bayern Munich right-back Benjamin Pavard would be open to joining Milan, despite the 26-year-old being heavily linked with Manchester United.

- According to 90min, Liverpool, Arsenal, Manchester City, Chelsea, Tottenham and Manchester United are all showing interest in 27-year-old Inter centre-back Milan Skriniar, who is yet to renew his contract beyond this season.

- Leicester City, Everton and Brighton and Hove Albion have Lens goalkeeper Brice Samba on their radars, per 90min.

- According to Sport, Manchester City are monitoring 33-year-old Real Madrid midfielder Toni Kroos with the hope that he does not renew his contract.

- Calciomercato is reporting Tottenham target Weston McKennie could leave Juventus in January.

Rafael Leao is very happy in Italy, according to his father, though he also credited Barcelona, Real Madrid and Chelsea with an interest in his son.

The Milan forward was named the best player in Serie A last season after his 11 goals in 34 games helped the Rossoneri win their first Scudetto since 2010-11.

Leao's contract at San Siro expires in 2024, with a number of Europe's top clubs consistently being credited with an interest in him, and his father has named three of them but also did not rule out an extension at Milan.

In an interview with Record, Antonio Leao said: "He feels very comfortable in Milan because the cultures are similar. The Italian club has done a lot for him, but he has become the best player in that league. He is simply the best.

 

"There is time until the date of 2024 and we will take care of everything, without necessarily Chelsea, Barcelona or Real Madrid.

"He loves being in Italy. He has a predilection for Italians, the one the Portuguese do not have for him.

"He won the award for best player in Serie A not because he was beautiful, but simply… because he is the best."

Leao has scored six in 14 Serie A games for Milan this season, with a further one in six Champions League outings.

He has been named among the 26-man Portugal squad for the World Cup in Qatar, and could feature in their opening game against Ghana on November 24.

Some of the Premier League's top clubs are reportedly keeping a close eye on Borussia Monchengladbach striker Marcus Thuram – including Liverpool, Arsenal and Tottenham.

Thuram, 25, is a towering presence up front, standing at six-foot-four and, after arriving at Gladbach from Ligue 1's Guingamp in 2019 for a fee of €12million, he has continued to grow as a goalscorer.

Through just 15 Bundesliga games this season, Thuram has matched his career-high tally of 10 league goals, including strikes against both Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund.

His recent run of form has seen him earn a late inclusion into France's World Cup squad as they look to defend their title, and although he may not receive a start, he was worked his way onto the radar of some of the world's elite clubs.

 

TOP STORY – 25-YEAR-OLD FRANCE INTERNATIONAL LIKELY AVAILABLE ON FREE TRANSFER

Thuram has spent four seasons with Gladbach, and this is looking like his last as he is yet to renew his contract ahead of its expiry date at the end of this campaign.

With a transfer value likely north of €40m, the ability to land a powerful striker entering his prime as a free agent is a deal too good to pass up for forward-hungry Premier League sides.

90min is reporting Tottenham sent scouts over to Germany recently to watch him play, while Liverpool and Arsenal are also mentioned as interested parties.

 

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– According to Express, Cristiano Ronaldo could move to Chelsea after the departure of Thomas Tuchel, who was said to be the one blocking the idea.

– Express is also reporting Liverpool, Barcelona and Manchester City have identified 19-year-old Las Palmas midfielder Alberto Moleiro as a target. 

– Sky Sports Germany is reporting 22-year-old Salzburg striker Noah Okafor is available for a January transfer, with City, Liverpool and Milan named as suitors for the €40m-rated Switzerland international.

Chelsea are confident they have done enough to secure 25-year-old RB Leipzig striker Christopher Nkunku in the January window, per 90min.

– According to Relevo, Barcelona are willing to let Memphis Depay leave on a free transfer in January.

Barcelona are expected to be major players in the January transfer market after a busy pre-season.

The 26-time Spanish champions are top of LaLiga at the World Cup break but crashed out of the Champions League.

The Blaugrana are still battling financial challenges, while they also have some unsettled players on their books.

TOP STORY – BARCELONA PLOTTING JANUARY GUNDOGAN MOVE

Mundo Deportivo reports that Barcelona are planning to move for Manchester City midfielder Ilkay Gundogan in January, with fears Franck Kessie may exit soon.

The Blaugrana are eager to bolster their midfield options and a move for Bernardo Silva appears difficult despite their ongoing interest.

As a result, Barca have turned to the Germany international, whose contract with City ends in mid-2023. The report also claims the Catalans could move for Leicester City's Youri Tielemans.

Kessie has been linked with Premier League clubs Aston Villa and Fulham by Spanish media outlet Sport. The Ivorian only joined in July, but the club's financial position means they are open to letting players go.

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– Despite being linked with a long list of names, Sport claims Barcelona will only make one signing in the January transfer window, with a right-back seen as a priority. Manchester United's Diogo Dalot, Bayern Munich's Benjamin Pavard and Villarreal's Juan Foyth are among their options.

– New Aston Villa heard coach Unai Emery wants to bring in Real Madrid's Eden Hazard and Nacho Fernandez, according to El Nacional. Spanish boss Emery left Villarreal for the Villans last month.

Juventus are ready to offer a new contract to French midfielder Adrien Rabiot, claims Tuttosport. Rabiot had been linked with an off-season move, with Manchester United mentioned as a possible destination, but has impressed this term.

– La Gazzetta dello Sport claims Milan are putting together a bid for Chelsea's Hakim Ziyech in January. The Moroccan winger is expected to cost less than €20million (£17.5m).

Inter are keen on Valencia left-back Jesus Vazquez in January and a mid-2023 move for Borussia Monchengladbach forward Marcus Thuram, reports La Gazetta dello Sport.

Milan technical director Paolo Maldini is still confident his side can mount a challenge for the Serie A title after cutting Napoli's lead at the summit.

A last-gasp own goal from Nikola Milenkovic handed Milan a 2-1 victory against Fiorentina at San Siro on Sunday in the final game before the World Cup, reducing Napoli's advantage to eight points.

While that tally is still significant, victory against La Viola was a crucial one as a draw would have seen the deficit in double figures.

With 11 consecutive wins, dethroning an in-form Napoli side when the season resumes in January is a stern test but Maldini feels the race is far from over.

"Absolutely, we believe in it. Last year in the derby we were seven points from Inter, then we won," he told DAZN.

"It is not easy to keep this pace until the end, we have to grow. Maybe at this moment we are a little empty of energy.

"The standings speak for themselves; we have two points fewer than last year. Napoli have done incredible things.

"We are in line with last year. For the rest, nothing can be said. We are through in the Champions League with players still to recover.

"We must keep the spirit and enthusiasm that made us win last year."

Maldini also continued to back Charles De Ketelaere, who is yet to impress with Milan after his arrival from Club Brugge.

"He's suffering. It's a different environment with different pressures and demands. It is the difficulty of having so many emotions," he added.

"We have a five-year contract with Charles, not five months. We are waiting for it. Judgements must be partial. Time will tell if he can fit in well."

A last-gasp Nikola Milenkovic own goal handed Milan a 2-1 victory over Fiorentina at San Siro on Sunday to cut Napoli's lead at the top of Serie A.

Rafael Leao opened the scoring after just two minutes, but Fiorentina responded fiercely, finding an equaliser before the half-hour mark through Antonin Barak's deflected effort.

It appeared Milan would have to settle for a share of the points, which would have seen them sit 10 behind Napoli, but a remarkable end saved the hosts.

Milenkovic diverted the ball into his own net to deny Fiorentina in cruel fashion, with their appeals for VAR to intervene being waved away.

The hosts came out of the blocks flying, Olivier Giroud flicking a pass for Leao to charge into the box and slot home into the bottom-right corner with just two minutes on the clock.

Fiorentina had a swift chance to equalise, Riccardo Saponara smashing an effort against the frame of the goal, before pulling level minutes before the half-hour mark as Barak's drive took a wicked deflection off Malick Thiaw to beat Ciprian Tatarusanu.

Milan were back on the front foot at the start of the second period, Giroud forcing a close-range save from Pietro Terracciano and Leao thumping an attempt wide of the post.

At the other end, a superb last-ditch tackle from Fikayo Tomori on Jonathan Ikone kept Fiorentina at bay, with a VAR check confirming no infringement from the England international.

Tomori was again on hand to prevent Ikone, clearing off the line, which proved to be decisive when Milenkovic sent the ball into his own net after Terracciano failed to punch the ball away.

Pierre Kalulu is set to stay at Milan until 2027 after the defender signed a two-year extension to his previous deal at San Siro.

The 22-year-old, who arrived just over two years ago from Lyon's reserve team, has emerged as a regular fixture in the Rossoneri's back-line and has been rewarded for his fine form.

Kalulu was originally contracted to Milan until 2025, but he has become the latest key man to commit his long-term future to the Serie A champions.

"Milan is pleased to announce the extension of Pierre Kalulu's contract until 30 June 2027," read a brief club statement.

"Pierre joined AC Milan in the summer of 2020 and has since made 75 appearances, carving out an important space in the Rossoneri defence."

Fikayo Tomori, Kalulu's defensive partner, and Sandro Tonali have also both signed new deals since the start of the season, as has coach Stefano Pioli. Theo Hernandez agreed an extension back in February.

Kalulu played 28 games and scored one goal in Serie A last season. He has featured 14 times in the league this term, as well as starting all six of Milan's Champions League matches.

Ivan Gazidis will step down as CEO of Milan when his contract expires next month, the reigning Serie A champions have announced.

The 58-year-old had held the position at San Siro since December 2018 following a decade as part of Arsenal's boardroom.

During Gazidis' four years at Milan, the club ended an 11-season wait for the Scudetto, returned to the Champions League and improved their financial figures.

Amid recent speculation regarding his future beyond this year, the Rossoneri confirmed on their official website on Wednesday that Gazidis will depart on December 5.

Commenting on the announcement, Milan chairman Paolo Scaroni said: "On behalf of everyone associated with AC Milan, I would like to say a heartfelt thank you to Ivan for his passion and dedication, as well as the significant contribution he has made to the health and success of this football club, representing and enhancing the core values for which it stands. 

"As I said during our recent shareholders' meeting, it is very easy to be the chairman of an organisation which has a CEO of the quality of Ivan Gazidis.

"I would also like to personally wish him some peaceful and well-deserved time with his family and every success in his next professional chapter."

Gazidis was diagnosed with throat cancer in July 2021 but returned to his daily duties with Milan following a short period away.

And the South African has credited the Italian giants for helping him to cope during a hugely challenging period on a personal level.

"After four wonderful, challenging years I will be leaving Milan," he said in a statement. "I owe so much to this club, its people, its fans and to this city, that literally saved my life. 

"If the club is in a better position now than when I arrived, it is entirely due to the work of those I have been surrounded with, from our ownership, to our chairman, our head coaches, their coaching staffs, our sporting directors, our players and every young boy or girl with dreams in our academies, our scouts, analysts, medical and support staff, our senior management team and all of the extraordinary people who live for and give everything they have for this club.

"I have been privileged to work with them all. I have no doubt that this foundation and the people we have in place in every position will take the club to new levels in the years ahead.

"Finally, I want say a personal thank you to our fans. Our fans have carried their club (and me) through some difficult times through their belief and their strength. 

"I will hold in my heart forever the way they showed their support to me when I was not well. They deserve every good thing. I may leave the club, but the club will never leave me."

Milan, who trail Serie A leaders Napoli by eight points with one game to go before the World Cup break, intend to announce Gazidis' successor "in due course".

Real Madrid are looking to Serie A for their next striker, with Napoli's Victor Osimhen and Milan's Rafael Leao interesting the Spanish giants.

Osimhen, 23, arrived at Napoli after a club-record €70million transfer from Lille in 2020 and quickly adapted to life in Italy.

Leao, who is the same age, was Osimhen's team-mate at Lille back in 2019 before being pried away to Milan. He was spectacular last campaign in helping Milan to their first Serie A title since the 2010-11 season, scoring a career-high 11 league goals, and has hit form this term, too.

 

TOP STORY – REAL MADRID IDENTIFY OSIMHEN AND LEAO AS KEY FORWARD TARGETS

According to Calciomercato, the only thing standing between Madrid and "another nine-figure investment" in one of Serie A's leading lights is the contract of 31-year-old winger Eden Hazard.

Forbes reports Hazard is making approximately €500,000 per week, and if Madrid can find a taker for him in January, or at the end of the season, their financial flexibility will vastly improve.

Come January, Leao will have 18 months remaining on his contract, and with numerous reports that negotiations for an extension have made little progress, Milan will eventually have to entertain the likelihood of a sale.

Osimhen has an extra year on top of that, tying him to Napoli until 2025 and giving the club plenty of leverage in any potential sale.

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– The Evening Standard is reporting Chelsea have held multiple meetings with 16-year-old Palmeiras prospect Endrick, who is also a target for Madrid and Paris Saint-Germain. He will not be allowed to leave for Europe until he turns 18 in 2024.

– According to TeamTalk, Tottenham are looking to replace goalkeeper and club captain Hugo Lloris.

West Ham and Leicester City are interested in 28-year-old Inter left-back Robin Gosens, per Gazzetta dello Sport. 

– Sport is reporting Juventus are willing to meet the contract demands of Chelsea midfielder Jorginho, with the Italy international demanding €13.6m per year.

Barcelona are considering a move for Crystal Palace winger Wilfried Zaha, who they view as a potential replacement for Memphis Depay, according to Sport.

Stefano Pioli was left frustrated as his Milan side were held to a 0-0 draw by winless Cremonese in Serie A on Tuesday.

An impressive performance from Cremonese goalkeeper Marco Carnesecchi saw him deny the likes of Divock Origi and Junior Messias as Milan dominated the first half.

Origi thought he had broken the deadlock soon after the break, but a VAR check ruled him offside before Cremonese saw out the remaining minutes to pick up a valuable point and prevent Milan from keeping pace with leaders Napoli, who beat Empoli 2-0 earlier on Tuesday.

Attempting to win their second straight league title, Pioli's men now sit eight points Napoli, and the Milan head coach was disappointed in their display as they failed to pick up all three points on the road for the fourth game in seven to start this season, having only dropped points away from San Siro five times last campaign.

"We could have done more tonight," Pioli told DAZN. "We played a decent first half, but the second was not up to par.

"We did not create enough to be really dangerous. With our quality we could do more, despite the few spaces granted by Cremonese.

"In the second half there was little fluidity and clarity. We won a few offensive duels and so it is difficult to score."

Pioli acknowledged the lead that Napoli now hold over his side, and spoke of his desire to see an improved display at the weekend as they look to bounce back against Fiorentina.

"Eight points are a lot," Pioli added. "We don't like this result, but on Sunday we have the opportunity to redeem ourselves.

"We didn't want this gap. Congratulations to Napoli but we could have done more."

Milan drew a blank despite Pioli introducing Rafael Leao with half an hour to play, but the head coach refused to criticise the substitute for the little impact he had.

Pioli explained: "I think it's wrong to point the finger only at a single player [Leao]. If you don't work well as a team, the results won't come. The overall performance was not up to par.

"We expected this attitude from Cremonese. We had some opportunities to score goals, but if you don't unlock them immediately then everything becomes more complicated."

Milan were held to a goalless draw after a wasteful display meant the champions picked up just a point away at winless Cremonese in Serie A on Tuesday.

Stefano Pioli's side dominated the first half, though a magnificent performance from Cremonese goalkeeper Marco Carnesecchi kept out efforts from Divock Origi and Junior Messias.

Origi saw a goal disallowed in the second half and despite some late pressure, the hosts clung on to pick up just their seventh point of the season.

Milan cut Napoli's lead at the top to eight points, but just a draw against such a lowly side will be frustrating for Pioli's men as they lose pace on the table-toppers.

The Rossoneri controlled possession early on, but struggled to create anything clear-cut until Brahim Diaz poked Messias' cross wide after 23 minutes.

They had an even better chance soon after when Origi was slipped through on goal by Ante Rebic, though the former Liverpool striker's low shot was saved by Carnesecchi.

More impressive work from Carnesecchi was required soon after, first diving to his right to palm away Malick Thiaw's header from a corner, before a smart stop to deny Messias ensured Cremonese made it to the break level.

Origi thought he had broken the Cremonese resistance 11 minutes into the second half, but his sliding finish was ruled out by VAR after he was adjudged to be offside.

Rafael Leao was then thwarted by Carnesecchi as Milan pressed for a winner, but they could not find one as they were forced to settle for a point.

Real Madrid and Liverpool will contest a repeat of last season's Champions League final during the round of 16 following Monday's draw.

Madrid reached the knockout stages as Group F winners, an outcome they will have been hoping would secure them a favourable tie.

But by being paired with Liverpool, Carlo Ancelotti's men were given arguably the hardest draw possible in what will be a repeat of the 2021-22 and 2017-18 finals.

There will also be a replay of the 2019-20 showpiece between Bayern Munich and Paris Saint-Germain.

Die Roten prevented PSG from winning their first continental crown that year, with revenge on the cards for the Parisians early next year.

Chelsea, winners most recently in 2021, will go up against the youthful Borussia Dortmund, while Manchester City – beaten finalists last year – are also due to tussle with Bundesliga opposition in RB Leipzig.

Antonio Conte faces a return to his homeland and San Siro as Tottenham prepare to duel with Italian champions Milan, while Serie A leaders Napoli – who won their group ahead of Liverpool – will fancy their chances against Europa League holders Eintracht Frankfurt.

Last-16 draw in full:

RB Leipzig v Manchester City
Club Brugge v Benfica
Liverpool v Real Madrid
Milan v Tottenham
Eintracht Frankfurt v Napoli
Borussia Dortmund v Chelsea
Inter v Porto
Paris Saint-Germain v Bayern Munich

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