Football always have winners and losers and is no different in the Champion League. From unexpected triumphs to heart-breaking losses. Champions League football once again proved why it's the ultimate stage for European football. With the quarterfinalists now set, it's time to take stock of the winners and losers of this season's competition. Join us as we break down the biggest moments, goals and performances that defined the Champions League round of 16 in 2022/23.
Whether you're a die-hard fan or a casual spectator, our comprehensive analysis of the tournament's top teams and underdogs will give you a fresh perspective on the beautiful game.
Before we begin check out all the 8 teams quality of the quarter-finals in the Champion League.
Champions League Quarter Finals
Teams in the Champions League Quarter Finals
Can we appreciate the fact on how Serie A teams are coming back to the Champion League again. It is good to see the old powerhouse such as AC Milan back in the tournament. The atmosphere between Milan and Real Madrid would be spectacular.
Winners of Champion League Round of 16
Joško Gvardiol: The Rising Star
RB Leipzig's Joško Gvardiol was a standout performer in the Round of 16 of the Champions League. The young defender made a significant impact in the second leg tie against Manchester City. Rising high in the air to connect on a powerful header that sailed past Ederson to leveled the scoreline. His goal gave Leipzig a much-needed lifeline in the match and helped to secure their spot in the quarter-finals.
Gvardiol's impressive performance didn't go unnoticed, particularly among football fans who remember him from the 2022 FIFA World Cup where he was one of the best young players for Croatia. The 21-year-old defender proved to be a crucial player for Leipzig, helping to keep City's star striker, Erling Haaland, quiet throughout the match.
In the second half of the match, Leipzig began to take control and create more chances. This was due to Gvardiol's commanding presence in defense and his ability to read the game well. As a result, Haaland became more anonymous and failed to register a single shot on target. Haaland finish the match with the lowest total touches of any City player. We will continue on Haaland in a few minutes.
Despite the positive result for Leipzig, the job is not yet done, and they will face a tough challenge in the quarter-finals. Yet, Gvardiol's performance in the Round of 16 will remembered as a key factor in their success and a sign of the young defender's potential to become a star player in the future.
Lukaku Comeback Year?
Romelu Lukaku showed once again why he is one of the most feared strikers in European football. The Belgian goal against FC Porto gave Inter Milan a vital win in the first leg of the round of 16. Lukaku goal could prove to be the turning point for a team that has struggled with inconsistency in Seria A.
Lukaku's goal was a testament to his resilience and determination. After seeing his initial shot saved, the 28-year-old pounced on the rebound and slotted the ball home to send the home crowd into raptures. It was a moment of individual brilliance that showcased Lukaku's ability to make a difference when it matters most. And when he is smiling and in form.
His move back to Inter Milan should be a happy one. Yet it has been a frustrating one for Lukaku. Who has been hampered by injuries and inconsistency. However, his recent form suggests that he is finally finding his rhythm again. He scored a crucial goal in Serie A last weekend and his winner against FC Porto was his second in as many games.
If Lukaku can stay fit and firing on all cylinders, Inter Milan has a real chance of making a deep run in the Champions League. The team has struggled to replicate last season's title-winning form, but Lukaku's presence gives them a genuine threat up front that few teams can match.
With the likes of Lautaro Martinez and Edin Dzeko alongside him. Lukaku forms part of one of the most dangerous attacking trios in European football. The trio has the potential to terrorize any defense and could be the key to Inter's success in the Champions League.
Ultimate Winner: Victor Osimhen - Napoli's €70 Million Man
Napoli's Victor Osimhen is making headlines as the leading scorer in Serie A and the star of the team's historic Champions League quarterfinals berth. The Nigerian forward has been worth every penny of the €70 million fee paid to secure his services in July 31. His stunning header in the second minute of first-half stoppage time and close-range finish in the 53rd minute secured his team's victory in the second leg.
Osimhen's form this season in Serie A has been nothing short of scintillating, with 18 goals in the past 19 matches for Napoli. He has steadily improved over time, showcasing his scoring abilities with tap-ins, headers, and strikes from a distance. Not only that, but he also possesses pace and presses defenders to make mistakes, making him every manager's dream.
His amazing hold-up play and ability to contribute to slick team moves like the one in the second leg's second goal add to his impressive abilities. Many of the usual suspects are still hanging around in the tournament, but Napoli might be the one side you don't want to be drawn against right now. If you have a plan to actually slow down Osimhen and Khvicha Kvaratskhelia, you'll be the first.
Can Napoli win the Serie A and the Champion Leagues in 2022/23 seasons?
Real Madrid: The Champion League Team
Hold onto your hats, folks, because it looks like Real Madrid is on track for another Champions League title! After Wednesday's match, it's hard to imagine any other outcome. The reigning champions were on fire, and even though the final score doesn't quite reflect it, they absolutely dominated the game. Alisson Becker in the Liverpool goal was the only thing standing between Real Madrid and another blowout victory.
The club's star striker, Karim Benzema, was once again the hero of the night, scoring an easy goal that illustrated just how inevitable Real Madrid's success in this competition seems to be. And with Vinícius Júnior pulling off some incredible moves on the pitch, it's clear that the team is simply destined for greatness.
Sure, they might be struggling a bit in La Liga, but who cares? When it comes to the Champions League, Real Madrid is in a league of their own. And if you're thinking about the upcoming quarterfinal draw or Sunday's El Clásico match, don't bother. Just go ahead and mark Real Madrid down for at least the semifinals. They're that good.
Well then that was the full list of top winners of Champion League football round of 16 which ended. When there are winners. As law of nature, there are losers. Down below are losers of round of 16 in the Champion League this season.
Losers of Champion Leagues Round of 16
Where was Haaland?
Erling Haaland, Manchester City forward, failed to live up to the high expectations he set for himself in 2022/2023 season. In fact, Haaland did not have a single shot on target for the fourth time in just five games. His lack of precision is a significant concern for City, especially since Haaland has only scored five goals since the beginning of 2023.
Even more troubling, Haaland's lack of shots on target has been an ongoing problem. He failed to hit the target against Tottenham Hotspur and Aston Villa in league play earlier this month. With the second leg of the Champions League on the horizon, City needs Haaland to regain his form quickly.
While the Premier League fixture against Bournemouth could be the perfect opportunity for Haaland to regain his confidence, his recent struggles have raised doubts about City's Champions League chances. Despite winning multiple Premier League titles, League Cups and an FA Cup, City has yet to win the Champions League crown.
Is the reason to pay a high fee to bring Haaland to Manchester is to win the Champion Leagues?
Loser: Porto Attack
Well, well, well… It seems like FC Porto's attack couldn't find their shooting boots at the San Siro. Edin Džeko and Lautaro Martínez just couldn't deliver when it mattered most, and as a result, Inter Milan's hopes in the Champions League hang in the balance. Sure, the duo has been productive so far this season, with 27 goals between them, but they need to step up their game if they want to progress in the tournament.
But all is not lost for Inter, for they have their very own superhero in the form of Romelu Lukaku. The big Belgian has had a tough season with injuries, but he seems to be finding his groove at just the right time. Lukaku scored the winner against FC Porto in the last minute of the game, and also netted against Udinese in Serie A last weekend. He's the key for Inter's success in the Champions League.
Unfortunately for Liverpool, their hopes of qualifying for the Champions League this season have taken a hit. The team has been struggling in many areas, particularly in the final third where they have been unable to convert many promising situations into goals. Despite their past success in European comebacks, Liverpool failed to make a mark in their recent match.
With their Champions League journey now officially over, the team's hopes of playing in next year's competition rest solely on securing a top-four finish in the Premier League. Unfortunately, Liverpool currently finds themselves in sixth place, trailing fourth-place Tottenham Hotspur by six points.
The team's season has been quite the rollercoaster ride, with a 7-0 demolition of Manchester United followed by a 1-0 defeat to Bournemouth. While Liverpool can now focus their efforts on the Premier League, their next three fixtures against Manchester City, Chelsea, and Arsenal will be a true test of their ability to turn their season around.
That's a wrap on winners and losers in Champions League Round of 16! The teams have given it their all, but only a few have made it through to the next round. From the inevitable powerhouse of Real Madrid to the surprise of Napoli. The competition has been fierce. Keep up with the latest football news and click the button below for more insights and updates on the beautiful game.
The House of European Football in Nyon, Switzerland, will host the draw for the Champions League quarter-finals and semi-finals on Friday, March 17 at 11am (GMT).
The quarter-final matches of the Champions League will have their first legs played on April 11 and 12, followed by the reverse fixtures on April 18 and 19.