Juventus will face one of the runners-up in the Champions League round of 16 after snatching the lead from Chelsea at the last minute.
Although this would supposedly guarantee an easier way into the later stages, at this stage of the competition the Bianconeri were eliminated in the last two versions against Lyon and Porto.
So this time we will be much more careful before using the term “cheap train”.
That said, there’s no denying the huge level difference between the Old Lady’s six potential opponents, some of whom are European giants while others are up and coming teams trying to make their mark on the biggest continental game on stage.
So let’s rank Juve’s potential opponents in Round 16 based on their level, from likely weakest to strongest.
6- Red Bull Salzburg (Austria)
The Austrian Masters are owned by one of the richest companies in the world, but their main strategy is to buy young talent before they are sold for big profits (like Mané and Haaland).
This is a team that lacks experience at this level, but they used a relatively easy group to advance to this stage of the competition.
But that doesn’t mean they can’t come up with a big surprise and kick us out.
5- Benfica (Portugal)
Imagine being eliminated by another Portuguese team in the round of 16. Well, anything is possible.
The capital city team has a multitude of talented players and has moved into this round at the expense of disappointing Barcelona and would like to add another European giant to their résumé.
4- Sporting Lissabon (Portugal)
From one club in Lisbon to another. Sporting are the reigning champions of Portugal and are currently at the top of the league in a head-to-head duel against Porto.
The Red-Greens advanced at the expense of Borussia Dortmund and will certainly not be an easy nut to crack for Max Allegri’s men.
3- Villarreal (Spain)
As their last performance against Atalanta proves, the Yellow Submarines have all the tools they need to injure their opponents.
With Gerard Moreno and Arnaut Danjuma, the Europa League winner has a dangerous duo of strikers, supported by the underrated Daniel Parejo in midfield, and a chain of defense led by the experienced Raul Albiol and the reliable Pau Torres.
2- Atlético Madrid (Spanish)
It wouldn’t be the first time the two have met in the round of 16, but this time Juventus can’t count on Cristiano Ronaldo to turn the game against one of their favorite goals.
On the flip side, Diego Simeone now has a high profile squad led by two proven winners, Luis Suarez and Antoine Griezmann, as well as a host of talented players across the pitch.
Even if they haven’t been all that impressive in Europe so far, no one would enjoy a fight against the rojiblancos.
1- Paris Saint-Germain (France)
On Wednesday, Leonardo Bonucci led the wild festivities in Turin at the final whistle. But the defender could regret it until Monday if his team competes against Lionel Messi, Kylian Mbappé, Neymar and Co. in the draw.
Well, PSG are sure to take the world by storm since the start of the season, but with the incredible star power at their disposal, it could only be a matter of time.
In any case, that would not be a good draw for Juve under any circumstances.