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Hello Serie A Weekly readers do you have your day planned around the Final 16 fixtures? Are you going try and catch all the action live at the pub between working hours? Of course all this will be played in the evening for our European brothers who can view all the excitement from home if they like but we mugs over the pond in America have to suffer or call in sick if we hope to see any of the action not on tape delay today.

Back in December I asked some other bloggers of the beautiful game several questions regarding this week's Champions League final 16.

1. Which final 16 pairing looks the most equally matched?

2. Three of the four English teams are paired with Italian clubs, do you see this as an advantage or disadvantage and to whom?

3. Who do you feel is the most influencial player absent from Champions League play because of injury, disqualification due to transfers or because of club elimination eg. (Gilardino)?

Two non-Champions League questions

4. and 5. Will Cristiano Ronaldo make the move to Real in the January window? and finally, will Beckham make his move permanent?

Marco Pantanella from

Which pairing looks the most equally matched Marco? "I'd say it's a tie between Inter vs. Man Utd and Real Madrid vs. Liverpool. For the first one, it's Serie A champions vs. EPL champions, although the Red Devils have a big experience advantage: Inter have always disappointed in Europe recently. For the second match, despite all of Real's problems, they're still the team with most UCLs in history. And Liverpool, well we know how good their form in Europe is..."

Any advantage in the English vs Italy challenge on match day come February 24th? "Recent history says English teams always beat Italian teams in Europe. So... not looking good for us. With that said, trends are meant to be broken."

Regarding missing players give us your opinion "Uhm, potentially Michael Essien? Dunno if he'll be back on time in February, but he's big piece of Chelsea's midfield."

Do you think Ronaldo will make the move come January and what about Beckham's loan transfer will it become permanent at Milano? "Nah Ronaldo won't. If Beckham does, that will put the final nail in the coffin of a much-publicized and very-unsuccesful move to the MLS. Plus I don't think there'd be any space for him in Milan (Victoria will definitely like it though... it's the European capital of fashion, with Paris)."

Any Final thoughts Marco? "I can't wait for Chelsea vs. Juventus. Time for Ranieri to get some closure on Abramovich and kick his team's ass!!!"

Lonnie from

Which pairing looks the most equally matched Lonnie, "Well I'd have to say Roma - Arsenal, Villarreal - Panathinaikos and I think the Real -Liverpool series might be tight as well."

Any advantage in the English vs Italy challenge on match day? "I don't think there's an advantage or disadvantage to having three English teams match up with three Italian teams. Both leagues are strong, the teams involved are very good and the matchups are quite balanced. Chelsea and Arsenal are at a slight disadvantage but only because they have to play their second legs away from home."

Regarding missing players give us your opinion, "I would want to wait and see what happens prior to kick-off. There could be very many changes both to injured players and transfers before the fixtures take place. Right now, Torres' injury for Liverpool could hamper their chances. Another example, Bayern Munich have just brought in Landon Donavon on a short-term deal...he could add depth and allow Toni and Klose to stay fresh."

Will Cristiano Ronaldo make the move to Real in the January window? "Shocked if he does make the move. Who's going to want him if he is cup-tied? Will Manchester want to deal with Real Madrid or was Ferguson's quote in Marca the other day just BS? Ronaldo is not going to go anywhere in the January window. He'll be a summer transfer when and if he moves from United."

Finally, will Beckham make his move permanent? "I don't think so. I think that AC Milan are just using this as a wayto make up the revenue lost by not being in the Champions League this season. I wouldn't make him a permanent signing at his age, not at that level."

Mando from
  • "At first glance I'd say that Arsenal and AS Roma have similar strengths and surprisingly similar weaknesses."

  • "Quite obviously it's an advantage for the Italian teams. Juventus/Chelsea is a push talent-wise but Ranieri has the edge at Stamford Bridge. Mourinho has a great record against Ferguson and Spalletti, well his teams play well on the counter-attack and Arsenal are vulnerable."

  • "Right now, I think a guy like Yoann Gourcuff at Bordeaux who was highly influential, or maybe it's just that I like players that play in that position and play it well. Could be just me."

  • Will Cristiano Ronaldo make the move to Real in the January window? "No, this is just Real Madrid trying to destabilize a rival through it's contacts in the Spanish media. It's nothing new, just that Ferguson keeps falling into the same trap and it becomes a pissing match. In the end, the player will move, but it'll more likely be next Summer.."

  • What about Becks? "The American adventure isn't really taking off for them personally (I'm sure MLS is better off but are the Beckhams?) and I'm sure he and Victoria would love the attention in Milano but he really doesn't fit what Milan need. They need pace and width and he isn't really the sort to bringthat. It's not what he needs either, other than the oft-injured Borriello, do they have a target man to take advantage of hispin-point crosses? He'd have been better served at Juve."

George D. Metellus from

"Inter vs. Man United because of the coaching matchup. Mourinho vs. Ferguson is more intriguing than any matchup on the pitch. Three of the four English teams are paired with Italian clubs but I see no advantage either way. The most influencial player(s) absent from Champions League play will be Diego from Werder Bremen, Fernando Cavenaghi at Bordeaux, and Andrei Arshavin playing for Zenit St. Petersburg. Ronaldo will not transfer in January but will make the move after the season. Cristiano wants to go to Real and he will before the beginning of the next La Liga season. Yes Beckham will make the move permanent, he misses Europe and his move to LA was about the money and trying to be a celebrity but to be relevant in sports you still have to perform on the field and he has not performed as the savior he was touted to be. Being a star on a soccer team in the U.S. is not nearly as glamorous as being 2nd string for AC Milan."

I'd like to thank the other bloggers for their opinions and I hope today's action is just what the doctor ordered enjoy everyone. - Special K


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