The UEFA Champions League Round of 16 draw was conducted earlier today with the eight group winners finding out which of the eight runners-up they would play in the upcoming two-legged tie.
Juventus ended up drawing Olympique Lyonnais, with the first leg to be played in France on Wednesday, Feb. 26, and the return leg in Turin on Tuesday, March 17. Lyon was one of five sides Juve could come up against, with the other possibilities being Real Madrid, Tottenham Hotspur, Borussia Dortmund or Chelsea.
After the draw was completed, Club Vice President Pavel Nedved spoke to the media in Nyon, Switzerland where the event was held.
“It could’ve been worse. We can’t complain about Lyon, we can be happy, even if you always have to be careful in the Champions League.
“It doesn’t matter who the opponents are, but rather the form we are in at that moment.
“It doesn’t have to be an obsession. For us, it’s a concrete objective, we feel at the same height of other teams who are aiming to win this cup.”
Sporting Director Fabio Paratici seemed to echo those sentiments.
“I have half a smile, because we know with the other potential opponents in pot two it could’ve been a lot worse. We know the Champions League is always challenging.”
His Lyon counterpart is Brazilian legend Juninho Pernambucano, who dubbed the Bianconeri as favorites to progress.
“Juve are a mix of hard work and quality. We are talking about a very strong squad, with Cristiano Ronaldo one of the best players in the history of football. Their defence is solid, the attack is deadly, and the midfield is creative.
“The Bianconeri are favourites, I don’t want to say that we have already lost, but to win we will need a perfect day, with our goalkeeper saving everything and exploiting any opportunities. Only this way can we have any hope of progressing.”
Lyon’s manager is the well-traveled Rudi Garcia, who the Juve fans will know well from his time between 2013-16 at AS Roma when they finished a distant second twice in a row. He welcomed the opposition despite seeing his side weakened by season-ending injuries to forward Memphis Depay, midfielder Jeff Reine-Adelaide and right-back Leo Dubois.
“It’s always good to play against the best players on the planet. Juventus have one of the best defences in Europe.
“We are happy to play against Cristiano Ronaldo. Miralem Pjanic is a player of great quality. He’s very strong technically and a big threat for Juventus. Maurizio Sarri is a good coach with a lot of experience.
”As for the injuries, we have to move on. We don’t have the time to lament them.”