Soccer Power Rankings: Real Madrid storms into top 10 ahead of Champions League showdown with Ajax
Los Blancos had an impressive run last week
The Champions League round of 16 kicks off this week with a quartet first-leg battles, and half of the remaining teams will be in action. Two Premier League teams will play, as will reigning champs Real Madrid and mighty PSG. With two games on Tuesday and two more on Wednesday, here's how they rank when it comes to overall quality of the tie:
Here's how we would rank the ties due to watch-ability:
1) Manchester United vs. PSG (Tuesday at 3 p.m. ET on fuboTV -- Try for free): This is something else, even with Neymar and Edinson Cavani out with injuries. Every year feels like it could be PSG's time, but the injury bug struck again and now they are no longer the strong favorites in the tie. Manchester United is much improved and hasn't lost in 2019. This is must-see TV, even without Neymar. One of the best remaining ties in the cup.
2) Real Madrid vs. Ajax (Wednesday at 3 p.m. ET on fuboTV): This tie would have been third for me behind Dortmund and Tottenham, but the recent improvement of Los Blancos makes this much more exciting. While it seemed like Ajax had a strong chance of moving on, this now looks to lean heavily toward Real. In the last week, Real has shown it can compete with the big boys in Barcelona and Atletico Madrid in Spain, and with a more talented and in-form squad than Ajax, a fourth straight title is still a possibility.
3) Dortmund vs. Tottenham (Wednesday at 3 p.m. ET on fuboTV): No Harry Kane and maybe no Dele Alli takes a lot away from this game, but it should still be super fun. Both clubs have a ton of speed in the final third and we should really witness quite the attacking display. It's going to be physical, emotional and potentially chaotic.
4) Roma vs. Porto (Tuesday at 3 p.m. ET on fuboTV): By far the least intriguing, but Roma did make the semifinals last season. The Italian club hasn't been super sharp this season, and Porto has done well in Portugal, but isn't the team of over a decade ago that was actually a threat to win it all. This feels like a battle between two teams that will almost likely see the winner crash out in the next round.
Now to the rankings...
How the rankings work
We list the top 25 teams in the world based on recent form. The teams playing the best soccer -- in their respective leagues and in international competitions -- will be considered. Quality of the opponents will also be taken into an account, but above all, the most important factors are recent results and overall standings in competitions.
World Club Soccer Power Rankings
Previous rankings: Jan. 28 | Jan. 21 | Jan. 14 | Jan. 7 | Jan. 1 | Dec. 24 | Dec. 18 | Dec 10 | Dec 3 | Nov. 26 | Nov. 12 | Nov. 5 | Oct. 30 | Oct. 23 | Oct. 10 | Oct. 3 | Sept. 26 | Sept. 17 | Sept. 4 | Aug. 28 | Aug. 23 | Aug. 15 | Preseason rankings|
|A draw against both Barcelona and Athletic Bilbao, but still looking good in every competition. Lionel Messi looks a bit off though as if his injury is still bothering him.|
Manchester City (ENG)
|+1||What else is there to say to about a team that crushes Chelsea 6-0? Oh yeah, this team may just be the Premier League favorite over Liverpool now.|
|-1||Needed to beat Bournemouth and did, and the defense managed to finally get a clean sheet after three straight games. Still in fine shape in the league.|
|--||Cristiano Ronaldo has 18 goals and the team should run away with Serie A. But can CR7 guide them to UCL glory?|
|--||Add Cavani to the injury list, which, with Neymar out, could mean bad news against Manchester United.|
Manchester United (ENG)
|Still undefeated under Ole Gunnar Solksjaer. It makes one wonder is Ole that good or was Jose Mourinho just that bad?|
Bayern Munich (GER)
|Don't look now but Bayern is just five points back of Borussia Dortmund. Finding its groove and some consistency at the back could be enough to win the league.|
Real Madrid (ESP)
|Well, Los Blancos are now only six points back of first-place Barcelona and are the favorite against Ajax in UCL. Vinicius Junior is a huge problem down the left for any opponent.|
Borussia Dortmund (GER)
|Blowing a 3-0 lead late in the second half was just horrific. If they end up losing the Bundesliga, you'll be able to point to last weekend's game.|
Atletico Madrid (ESP)
|Consecutive losses and their first loss at home has Los Colchoneros reeling. The attack has looked unorganized and tired. Alvaro Morata isn't helping.|
|Maybe Tottenham doesn't need Harry Kane. Kidding, but Heung-min Son continues to show he is class, reaching double-digit goals on the season.|
|Might end up being a two-horse race for fourth place with Manchester United. The Gunners defense has conceded in four straight though.|
|Another win and pulling away in second in Ligue 1. The surprise of the season in Europe and the team has a bright future with a load of young talent.|
|That loss to Manchester City was just ugly. The team looks like night and day from the beginning of the season. Maurizio Sarri needs to get it fixed ASAP.|
|In 23 Serie A games this season, Napoli has conceded just 18 goals. Keep that up, and second place will be there, no problem.|
|This weekend's 0-0 draw at Moreirense opened the door for Benfica to get right back into the title fight. Blown chance.|
|A 10-0 win over Nacional in which eight different players scored. It's the biggest win in the league in more than 60 years.|
|Started poorly but came from 2-0 down to earn a draw at Utrecht. Still leading Eredivisie by six points.|
|Pushing for the top four in Serie A and undefeated in its last eight in all competitions. Duvan Zapata already has 21 goals this season.|
|Wolves came away with an improbable 1-1 draw against Newcastle in the final seconds. They're unbeaten in their last four Premier League games.|
|Watford needs just four more points to match last season's win total. Last season the club finished in 14th. Right now they sit in eighth.|
|They blew a huge chance against Heracles to inch closer to PSV atop the table. And it wasn't because of resting guys with Real Madrid next. Zero goals on 22 shots.|
|After 13 goals allowed in the last four, Roma finally got a clean sheet this weekend. But the defense wasn't much improved, allowing 16 shots and five on frame. Doesn't bode well for UCL.|
| 24. |
Borussia Monchengladbach (GER)
|A 3-0 loss at home against Hertha raises questions. Has this team been for real, was this result a sign of things to come or was it just an off day -- a really off day?|
RB Leipzig (GER)
|Deserved more than a draw against Eintracht but in the end it still keeps their cushion in fourth place. American Tyler Adams already looks comfortable, as he came on as a sub.|
Biggest movers: Real Madrid, Borussia Monchengladbach
Out of top 25: Strasbourg (FRA)
Honorable mentions: Istanbul Basaksehir (TUR), Celtic (SCO)
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