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Your soccer week ahead: Yay, Champions League!

Feb 11, 2013, 7:23 AM EDT

Real Madrid's coach Jose Mourinho (C) wa

If you cannot find something to like in soccer this week, you really aren’t trying very hard.

England’s FA Cup reaches its fifth round, with several compelling stories spicing the stew; most matches are Saturday and Sunday.

Major League Soccer teams are into the back half of their preseason training; first kick is now less than 20 days away.

The week’s headlining act is Champions League, which spills gloriously into its elimination phase. Sixteen teams remain alive in the world’s most premier club competition.

On Tuesday, one of the old giants of Europe gets a taste of past glory when Celtic meets Juventus in the first leg of their home-and-away series. This is Celtic’s first reach into the Round-of-16 since the 2007-08 season.

The same day, Paris Saint-Germain travels to Spain to meet Valencia, where one David Robert Joseph Beckham could make his debut for PSG. Given the Beckham effect, what looked like a pretty interesting match just became a potentially fascinating one. (You may believe Beckham is overrated as a player, and you surely would not be alone – but it’s a talker either way, eh?)

A day later, Ukranian club Shakhtar Donetsk, known recently for punching above its weight class in Champions League, takes on Dortmund, which navigated group stage without a loss. That’s not such a surprise given the talent around Jürgen Klopp’s stylish side.

And then the biggie … Real Madrid vs. Manchester United. We’ll let Real’s humble manager Jose Mourinho (pictured) sketch out the bottom line on Wednesday’s contest: “This is the match the world wants to see. The only shame is that it is not the final.”

More, obviously, on this one is coming here at ProSoccerTalk.

  1. jstreatf - Feb 11, 2013 at 7:56 AM

    I am looking forward to Man U v Real Madrid – perhaps for a different reason than most – it is another test of two revenue models that are under the spot light these days, between Spain and England.

    We all know that RM and Barca dominate the tv rights in their league (if you have not seen the numbers – http://tinyurl.com/bgeeosx) and that the EPL is relatively more democratic (here is a table of EPL tv rights if you need a reminder http://tinyurl.com/a5yq3ka).

    This game’s another chance to see if this sort of revenue distribution increases competitiveness across leagues (say Spain’s more money at the top can buy better players v more money across the board buys better and consistent competition).

    Just something to think about when you sit down to the game!

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