UEFA Champions League 2018/19 - Ranking the last 8 clubs
We have entered the crunch stage of the 2018/2019 UEFA Champions League season, as what started with 32 teams in September of last year has been reduced to just the final eight clubs.
While pre-tournament favourites like Barcelona, Juventus and Manchester City have expectedly made it to the latter stages, there are quite a few surprises left in the hat.
The aforementioned trio alongside Manchester United, Ajax, Porto, Liverpool and Tottenham would battle it out for a spot in the semi-finals, with all clubs knowing their opponents in the next round when the draws are made on Friday.
Even though it might be tempting to say that all clubs have equal chances of progression, as football is a game of surprises played by 11 men apiece (nowhere was this more evident than in the last round), the truth is that the teams left are not on equal standing, with some having more chances of progression than others by virtue of their superior firepower.
In this piece - starting from the lowest, we shall be ranking the final eight clubs based on their chances of lifting the UCL come May.
Player to watch - Hakim Ziyech
Perhaps the revelation of the season thus far, Ajax pulled off one of the biggest shocks in Champions League history when they overturned a 2-1 first leg home deficit by winning the second leg 4-1 at none other than the home of three times consecutive defending champions Real Madrid.
Once an indisputable superpower, the glory days of Cruyff in the early 1970's and Van Gaal in the mid 1990's are long gone and Ajax have fallen on hard times in recent years (at least on the continent).
The Amsterdam outfit had overachieved in itself by getting that far, as this was the first season that they made it out of the group stage since 2005, while their elimination of Real Madrid meant they qualified for the quarter-finals for the first time since 1996 (where they made it all the way to the final).
Led by an impressive array of young talented players including Golden Boy winner Mattijs de Ligt, the Barcelona bound Frenkie de Jong and the highly rated Hakim Ziyech among others, Ajax fans are daring to dream and there is no limit to where they have set their sights.
Even though suggesting that Ajax could make it past this stage could seem a tad wishful thinking, naysayers would do well to remember that the four-time winners of this competition have held their own this season against two heavyweights in Bayern Munich and Real Madrid, hence it would be foolhardy to write them off.