Barcelona reclaim favourites tag after AC Milan demolition
Tasked with overcoming a 2-0 aggregate scoreline, Barcelona emphatically disposed of AC Milan to reach the quarter-final stage of the Champions League for the sixth season in succession.
And in the aftermath of their 4-0 Nou Camp victory, Ladbrokes have re-installed the Catalans as 7/4 favourites to be crowned European champions for a fifth time.
Punters should not sniff at that price either, especially given the mesmerising nature of Barca’s display to see them into the last eight.
Lionel Messi was at his brilliant best, scoring twice to take him to seven seasonal Champions League strikes, whilst the hosts’ pressing made it almost impossible for Milan to retain possession for any significant length of time.
Any club would hope to avoid the La Liga giants in the draw for the next stage, and they look well worthy of investment at 7/4 to justify their tournament favouritism.
Meanwhile, in other European action, Galatasaray sealed a last-eight berth for the first time in 12 years, producing a monumental effort to overcome Schalke in Germany.
With the tie poised at 1-1 following the first leg in Turkey, the Germans were heavily fancied to go on to wrap up progression back on their own turf.
But a stoppage-time winner from substitute Umut Bulut put the exclamation point on a superb 4-3 aggregate success for the visitors, who are now 40/1 shots to be crowned European champions.
They join the likes of Real Madrid and Juventus in the last eight, whilst Bayern Munich are expected to advance to the same stage, along with one of Porto and Malaga.
And after Barca’s exploits in achieving a quarter-final spot, an all-Spanish final could very well be in prospect.
Real Madrid come closest to their La Liga rivals in the betting for the Champions League as 3/1 hopes, and they may prove the biggest obstacle in the way of Tito Vilanova’s side claiming a fourth European title in the last eight years.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.