Lazio boss Maurizio Sarri wants to face Barcelona in the Champions League round of 16: “It’d be a wonderful experience”

Lazio’s explosive Serie A run continues in the Champions League as Coach Sarri still buzzing from their second-place finish. He is aiming for a heavyweight showdown in the round of 16, practically begging for Barcelona in Monday’s draw for some reason.

Barca might be licking their wounds after back-to-back losses, but Sarri knows they’re more than just a wounded lion. He’s wary of the upset potential hiding in every Champions League tie, like a sneaky nutmeg. The knockout draw will surely be exciting, as Lazio is ready to deliver the heat, whether they face Barcelona or another European heavyweight.

Maurizio Sarri wants Barcelona in the Champions League round of 16

Maurizio Sarri, the Italian manager who previously held positions at Juventus, Napoli, and Chelsea, was appointed as the head coach of the Rome-based club SS Lazio two seasons ago in 2021. He has successfully led his side to finish second on the league points table, earning qualification for this edition of the Champions League.

Maurizio Sarri wants Barcelona in the Champions League round of 16
Via-Football Italia

Under the guidance of Sarri, Lazio thrived and secured their place in the Round of 16 by finishing second in Group E. In the group stage, his side earned 10 points with three wins, a draw, and two defeats in the six matches of the campaign.

Despite experiencing a 2-0 loss in their last Champions League group stage clash against Atletico Madrid, Lazio successfully advanced to the knockout stage. Following their qualification, the 64-year-old boss wants to play Xavi-led Barcelona in the last 16, as revealed during the press conference.

He said, “I’d like to face Barcelona at UCL round of 16, honestly. It’d be my pick as I’ve never faced Barça as a coach and it’d be a wonderful experience.”

It is worth noting that Maurizio has yet to face Barcelona in his managerial career. There is a possibility that Lazio and Barcelona may face each other in the Round of 16, playing two matches against each other in February.

When does the round of sixteen Champions League draw take place?

The UEFA Champions League Round of 16 draw is set to take place at 6 a.m. ET on Monday, December 18, 2023. The draw ceremony will be hosted at the House of European Football in Nyon, Switzerland. 

All 16 qualified teams will be randomly paired up in the draw. However, it is important to note that teams from the same country, national federation, leagues, and groups in the group stages are not allowed to face each other in the last 16 fixtures. The teams will be divided into two groups, Pot 1 and Pot 2, respectively.

In Pot 1, we have the following group winners: Bayern Munich, Arsenal, Real Madrid, Real Sociedad, Manchester City, Barcelona, Dortmund, and Atlético.

On the other hand, Pot 2 consists of the following runners-up: Copenhagen, PSV, Napoli, Inter, Leipzig, Porto, PSG, and Lazio.

When does the round of sixteen Champions League draw take place?
Via-Independent UK

The Round of 16 will be played in a two-legged format, with the first set of fixtures scheduled for February and the second for March 2024. Notably, this marks the last edition of this format, as the European competition will adopt a new structure with extended participation from 36 clubs starting in the next season.


Leave a Comment