Rio Ferdinand and Joe Cole rank the Champions League contenders ahead of quarter-final draw

    Rio Ferdinand and Joe Cole agree on the four Champions League favourites
    Rio Ferdinand and Joe Cole have ranked the Champions League contenders (Pictures: Getty/BT Sport)

    Rio Ferdinand and Joe Cole have ranked the Champions League contenders ahead of the quarter-final draw on Friday morning and agree on the four favourites to lift the trophy.

    Holders Chelsea secured their place in the draw with a 2-1 victory over French side Lille last night.

    Thomas Tuchel’s side will be joined in the hat by Premier League rivals Manchester City and Liverpool, German champions Bayern Munich, La Liga champions Atletico Madrid, Spanish sides Real Madrid and Villarreal and Portuguese club Benfica.

    Premier League leaders Man City thumped Sporting Lisbon 5-0 in the previous round, while Liverpool knocked out Serie A side Inter Milan.

    Real Madrid stunned Paris Saint-Germain to continue their bid to win a record-extending 14th Champions League title and Atletico Madrid progressed at the expense of Manchester United.

    Bayern Munich thrashed RB Salzburg 8-2 on aggregate in their last-16 tie, while Villarreal and Benfica defeated Juventus and Ajax respectively.

    After European champions Chelsea progressed to the quarter-finals, Cole told BT Sport: ‘I think they’re fourth favourites to win it.

    ‘The other English teams, Man City and Liverpool, are favourites for me and it’s a flip of a coin between them on the day. And then I put Bayern just above Chelsea.’

    Asked to rank the remaining Champions League contenders, Cole added: ‘Right now I would go Liverpool, Man City, Chelsea, Bayern Munich, Atletico Madrid, Real Madrid, Villarreal, Benfica.’

    Former Manchester United and England defender Ferdinand, meanwhile, said: ‘I’d go Man City, then Liverpool, Bayern Munich, Chelsea, Atletico Madrid, Real Madrid, Villarreal, Benfica.’

    Chelsea put the crisis at Stamford Bridge to one side with an assured performance against Lille on Wednesday night.

    Under Tuchel, the Blues have not only won the Champions League but also the Super Cup and Club World Cup.

    ‘I want us to be the team nobody wants to play,’ Tuchel said ahead of the quarter-final draw. ‘That’s the role we see ourselves in this last round of eight.

    ‘It’s a big step to do it again and again and that is why we fight for top-four places in maybe the toughest league in the world and we fight now again in the top eight teams.

    ‘This brings out the very best in us and we want to be the team nobody wants to play against… Let’s see what happens.’

    Champions League favourites

    Man City: 11/5
    Liverpool: 3/1
    Bayern Munich: 7/2
    Chelsea: 15/2
    Real Madrid: 8/1
    Atletico Madrid: 16/1
    Villarreal: 40/1
    Benfica: 66/1

    (Odds courtesy of Betfair)

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