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Champions League Player Rankings: Round of 16

Andrew M. Laird

Andrew M. Laird

Andrew M. Laird is the Senior Soccer Editor for RotoWire, as well as a fantasy football and college basketball contributor.

Nick Pitner

Nick Pitner

Nick Pitner writes about fantasy sports for RotoWire. He supports Arsenal FC, the Green Bay Packers, and the New York Knicks, while specializing in those respective sports in his coverage for the site.

With Champions League play picking up again, we will finally get to see some of the matchups that make this tournament so great. Here are the fixtures for the round of 16:

Tuesday, February 18
Bayer Leverkusen (Bundesliga) vs. Paris Saint-Germain (Ligue 1)
Manchester City (English Premier League) vs. Barcelona (La Liga)

Wednesday, February 19
AC Milan (Serie A) vs. Atletico Madrid (La Liga)
Arsenal (English Premier League) vs. Bayern Munich (Bundesliga)

Tuesday, February 25
Zenit St. Petersburg (Russian Premier League) vs. Borussia Dortmund (Bundesliga)
Olympiakos (Superleague Greece) vs. Manchester United (English Premier League)

Wednesday, February 26
Galatasaray (Super Lig) vs. Chelsea (English Premier League)
Schalke 04 (Bundesliga) vs. Real Madrid (La Liga)

Tuesday, March 11
Atletico Madrid vs. AC Milan
Bayern Munich vs. Arsenal

Wednesday, March 12
Barcelona vs. Manchester City
Paris Saint-Germain vs. Bayer Leverkusen

Tuesday, March 18
Chelsea vs. Galatasaray
Real Madrid vs. Schalke 04

Wednesday, March 19
Borussia Dortmund vs. Zenit St. Petersburg
Manchester United vs. Olympiakos

Below are our full player rankings for both legs of the round of 16 Champions League ties. To produce the rankings, Nick and I drafted against each other, filling a starting XI, plus seven bench spots (two strikers, two midfielders, two defenders, one goalkeeper). Nick had the first pick, I had two and three, he took four, and then we alternated after that. The overall rankings below will show how the draft played out, and then we break down each positions, in case you're looking for that too.

We also both stayed away from currently injured players, which is why guys like Franck Ribery, Sergio Aguero, and Edinson Cavani are not listed. Also to note, Juan Mata is cup-tied to Chelsea, which is why he cannot play for Manchester United.

If you have any feedback, such as where certain players are ranked, or if you think we left someone out, please feel free to post that in the comments section below.

Overall Rankings for Champions League Round of 16
1. Cristiano Ronaldo vs. Schalke
2. Zlatan Ibrahimovic vs. Bayer Leverkusen
3. Lionel Messi vs. Manchester City
4. Robert Lewandowski vs. Zenit St. Petersburg
5. Diego Costa vs. AC Milan
6. Robin van Persie vs. Olympiakos
7. Gareth Bale vs. Schalke
8. Eden Hazard vs. Galatasaray
9. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang vs. Zenit St. Petersburg
10. Alexis Sanchez vs. Manchester City
11. Cesc Fabregas vs. Manchester City
12. Thomas Muller vs. Arsenal
13. Neymar vs. Manchester City
14. Marco Reus vs. Zenit St. Petersburg
15. Arjen Robben vs. Arsenal
16. Thiago Silva vs. Bayer Leverkusen
17. Mario Gotze vs. Arsenal
18. Philipp Lahm vs. Arsenal
19. Pepe vs. Schalke
20. Yaya Toure vs. Barcelona
21. Dante vs. Arsenal
22. Mario Mandzukic vs. Arsenal
23. Wesley Sneijder vs. Chelsea
24. Branislav Ivanovic vs. Galatasaray
25. Didier Drogba vs. Chelsea
26. Angel Di Maria vs. Schalke
27. David Luiz vs. Galatasaray
28. Dani Alves vs. Manchester City
29. Thibaut Courtois vs. AC Milan
30. Roman Weidenfeller vs. Zenit St. Petersburg
31. Patrice Evra vs. Olympiakos
32. Mesut Ozil vs. Bayern Munich
33. Salvatore Sirigu vs. Bayer Leverkusen
34. Marcelo vs. Schalke
35. Soktratis vs. Zenit St. Petersburg
36. Petr Cech vs. Galatasaray

I asked Nick after the draft who he thought the five best players were that didn't make the cut. He answered with the exact same five that I had: Alvaro Negredo, Wayne Rooney, David Silva, Mario Balotelli, and Karim Benzema. Others we considered were Pedro, Oscar, Isco, and Santi Cazorla.

Negredo is the biggest one missing for me, and I debated taking him instead of Didier Drogba. But Drogba against Chelsea? The man loves big games and playing against his old club in the Champions League seems pretty big to me.

Strikers
1. Cristiano Ronaldo vs. Schalke
2. Zlatan Ibrahimovic vs. Bayer Leverkusen
3. Lionel Messi vs. Manchester City
4. Robert Lewandowski vs. Zenit St. Petersburg
5. Diego Costa vs. AC Milan
6. Robin van Persie vs. Olympiakos
7. Alexis Sanchez vs. Manchester City
8. Neymar vs. Manchester City
9. Mario Mandzukic vs. Arsenal
10. Didier Drogba vs. Chelsea

Midfielders
1.Gareth Bale vs. Schalke
2. Eden Hazard vs. Galatasaray
3. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang vs. Zenit St. Petersburg
4. Cesc Fabregas vs. Manchester City
5. Thomas Muller vs. Arsenal
6. Marco Reus vs. Zenit St. Petersburg
7. Arjen Robben vs. Arsenal
8. Mario Gotze vs. Arsenal
9. Yaya Toure vs. Barcelona
10. Wesley Sneijder vs. Chelsea
11. Angel Di Maria vs. Schalke
12. Mesut Ozil vs. Bayern Munich

Defenders
1. Thiago Silva vs. Bayer Leverkusen
2. Philipp Lahm vs. Arsenal
3. Pepe vs. Schalke
4. Dante vs. Arsenal
5. Branislav Ivanovic vs. Galatasaray
6. David Luiz vs. Galatasaray
7. Dani Alves vs. Manchester City
8. Patrice Evra vs. Olympiakos
9. Marcelo vs. Schalke
10. Soktratis vs. Zenit St. Petersburg

Goalkeepers
1. Thibaut Courtois vs. AC Milan
2. Roman Weidenfeller vs. Zenit St. Petersburg
3. Salvatore Sirigu vs. Bayer Leverkusen
4. Petr Cech vs. Galatasaray

And here's how the teams stack up against each other:

POS Pitner Laird
GK Roman Weidenfeller Thibault Courtois
D Thiago Silva Pepe
D Philipp Lahm Dante
D Branislav Ivanovic David Luiz
M Eden Hazard Gareth Bale
M Thomas Muller Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang
M Marco Reus Cesc Fabregas
M Yaya Toure Arjen Robben
F Cristiano Ronaldo Zlatan Ibramhimovic
F Robert Lewandowski Lionel Messi
F Robin van Persie Diego Costa
BG Petr Cech Salvatore Sirigu
BD Dani Alves Patrice Evra
BD Marcelo Sokratis
BM Angel Di Maria Mario Gotze
BM Mesut Ozil Wesley Sneijder
BF Alexis Sanchez Neymar
BF Mario Mandzukic Didier Drogba