Michael Laudrup believes his former clubs Barcelona and Real Madrid deserve to be considered as favourites for the Champions League.
The LaLiga giants face tough tasks in the last 16, with Barca taking on Chelsea and double defending champions Madrid meeting Paris Saint-Germain.
While Laudrup was most impressed by PSG and Manchester City in the group stage, the Dane said Madrid and Barca’s experience gave them a huge advantage.
“With my experience, I will still put my money on the people who are used to getting there,” the Al-Rayyan coach told Omnisport.
“That means my two ex-clubs from Spain, Real Madrid and Barcelona, and then my outsider would be Manchester City.
“They [City] can almost make two teams. I think it’s one of the few clubs in football nowadays [that] can change nine players and you still see the starting XI and you say, ‘wow, this is a good team’.”
Laudrup spent five seasons at Barca before making the switch to Madrid, winning the European Cup with the former in 1992.
While Ernesto Valverde’s men are without Philippe Coutinho in the Champions League, Laudrup said superstar Lionel Messi could still make the difference.
“It’s true that Coutinho cannot play so they will not have that effect in the Champions League right now but in the future, next season, I think we’re back to the same,” he said.
“But I will say that Barcelona, as long as they have Messi in this form, it’s incredible that, year after year after year, he’s continued to maintain a fantastic, high level.
“Goalscoring but also with assists, with his way of playing, and I think it’s incredible.”