Barcelona still favored to win the European Champions League after quarterfinal draw
Barcelona, winner of the European Champions League in 2006 and 2009, remains the favorite to win the 2011 edition of international soccer's most prestigious club tournament after the draw for the quarterfinals was held Friday.
Barcelona was drawn to play Shakhtar Donetsk of Ukraine in the two-legged quarterfinals, with the winner set to play either Real Madrid or Tottenham Hotspur in the semifinals.
The other half of the quarterfinal draw will feature an all-English clash between reigning English champion Chelsea and current English Premier League leader Manchester United, as well as a series between defending European champion Inter Milan and Schalke '04 of Germany.
After the draw in Nyon, Switzerland, London bookmakers offered the following odds on the final eight teams:
Barcelona: 11-to-10 favorite.
Real Madrid: 7-2.
Manchester United and Chelsea: 7-1.
Inter Milan: 8-1.
Tottenham Hotspur: 20-1.
Shakhtar Donetsk: 33-1.
Schalke '04: 50-1.
Defending champion Inter Milan's odds might have been shorter but for the fact that no team has repeated as European champion since AC Milan did so in 1989 and 1990 when the competition was still known as the European Cup.
Similarly, Shakhtar Donetsk's odds might have been longer but for the fact that the Ukrainian club is laden with Brazilian talent and defeated Barcelona in Barcelona in an earlier round of the tournament two years ago.
Barcelona also won the tournament in 1992 when was still the European Cup.
The quarterfinals will be played April 5, 6 and 12, 13.
--Grahame L. Jones
Photo: Former England star Gary Lineker makes a selection during the Champions League draw on Friday. Credit: Martial Trezzini / Associated Press