Champions League: Key players in the quarter-finals

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The Champions League returns next week as the quarter-finals get underway, but who will are the players that the eight competing teams will be looking to for inspiration?

Galatasaray: Burak Yilmaz

With the signings of Didier Drogba and Wesley Sneijder in the January transfer window, Galatasaray have assembled the best team they could, especially given their mammoth task of upstaging Real Madrid in the quarter -finals of the Champions League.

Although highly unfenced, Gala will believe that their prolific striker Burak Yilmaz could provide the spark they need against the star-studded Blancos.

Level at the top of the goalscoring charts with Cristiano Ronaldo, Yilmaz has scored eight goals in the competition and almost all of them have come at crucial times. Galatasaray would hence hope that the guile of the Netherlands international, Sneijder, would provide enough chances for Yilmaz to convert and help them register what would be one of the biggest shocks in recent footballing history.

Paris-Saint Germain: Zlatan Ibrahimovic

The team from the capital of France has so far been a great investment for their exorbitantly rich owners. But their adventure in the Champions League might have come under serious threat, now that they are up against the almighty Barcelona.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic was initially banned from the first-leg initially, but that was recently overturned and he is now eligible to play in both legs against his former employers. Zlatan will be raring to go and prove a point against his former club, especially given the well-documented history between him and Barcelona.

PSG would desperately be hoping for another no show from the Catalans and would expect their talisman to lead them to arguably the biggest triumph in the club's history.

Malaga: Isco

The young lad originally from Valencia has set the La Rosaleda on fire ever since he has made his move to Malaga.

A potential world beater, Isco has been extremely prolific in both creating and scoring for Los Boquerones. His strike against Porto was nothing short of sublime and it propelled the Spanish side into the quarters. Now that Malaga are up against a rampant and inspired Borussia Dortmund, the midfielder will need to be at the top of his game to give Malaga any chance in the tie.

Borussia Dortmund: Mario Gotze

Dortmund are such an exciting prospect at the moment. They have truck loads of young talent who have already become household names in the footballing world and it is just a matter of holding on to their future superstars when the bigger European names come calling.

At the age of 21, Mario Gotze is already being compared to people like Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, clearly showing the kind of talent running through Dortmund ranks. One could only imagine what him and Marco Reus will be capable of in three or four years from now as a strike-force.

Dortmund are fancied to beat Malaga in their quarter-final tie with the youth they have, and one can almost become sure of them challenging the world on every front possible in the coming years. Gotze will hold the key to unlocking a resilient Malaga defence in their Champions League quarter-final clash.

Bayern Munich: Arjen Robben

Ever since Arjen Robben lost out the Champions League final last season and was then knocked out of Euro 2012 in the group stage with the Netherlands, the Dutch winger hasn't been the same.

Plagued with injury, he has rarely been a part of the unstoppable Bavarians this season.

It was only recently that he was back to the side and returned to form both in the Champions League and the Bundesliga. Against Juventus, Bayern's attack would be put to probably the sternest test of the season so far and hence the wings would be pivotal to mount attacks on the Bianconeri.

Robben will always be key to any side he plays for but. in this tie, he'll especially need to be at the top of his game for Bayern to continue their concerted efforts towards a treble with two of the three titles almost wrapped up.

Juventus: Andrea Pirlo

Andrea Pirlo has been reborn in the past year or so. The maestro has reaffirmed himself as one of the best orchestrators of the game.

Averaging an astounding 3.2 key passes per game, Pirlo has been selfless and astonishingly prolific in recent times. When your midfielder creates three chances for you every game, your team doesn't do that bad.

Juventus face Bayern in what promises to be an epic tie in the quarters, and the Italian side will be hoping that Pirlo continues to do what he has been doing so well for them over the past year-and-a-half.

Many experts have tipped Juve to lift the trophy at Wembley in two months' time and it will be not much surprise if they really do go on to win it.

Pirlo, will play a huge role in that, rest assured.

Barcelona: Xavi

Xavi's injury proved one thing for sure, Barcelona need him more than Lionel Messi.

While Messi is great at finishing, he relies on the chances his team-mates create for him. Xavi, with his staggering 98.9 passes per game, is playing a role in almost all those chances.

In the second leg against Milan, Xavi showed what his worth is to the Catalans. Xavi is tailor-made for the tiki-taka they play, and without him Barcelona would not be as good as they are. He is arguably the best midfielder in the world, and his form will determine how Barcelona perform against PSG in their quarter-final.

Real Madrid: Cristiano Ronaldo

Do I need to even say who Real Madrid's key player will be, not only against Galatasaray but for the rest of the tournament if they progress?

Cristiano Ronaldo has been unstoppable in the Champions League and is the joint-top scorer with eight goals to his name. He also scored the winner against his former club, Manchester United.

The Portuguese forward is Mourinho's ace and, rest assured, he'll be a key cog in the Madrid wheel against the Turkish giants.

Real Madrid will hope their superstar does what he does best, propel teams almost single-handedly to greater heights.


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This article has been written by a member of the GiveMeSport Writing Academy and does not represent the views of or SportsNewMedia. The views and opinions expressed are solely that of the author credited at the top of this article. and SportsNewMedia do not take any responsibility for the content of its contributors.

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