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Chelsea and Atletico Madrid face each other on Tuesday night at the National Arena Stadium in Bucharest, Romania, for the first leg of their round of 16 tie.
It’s been over two months since the Champions League went on break, after the conclusion of the group stage matches. However, Chelsea now have a tough hurdle to cross, as the Blues must beat Atletico Madrid over two legs to reach the quarterfinal of the competition.
Atletico Madrid skipper, Koke, is pleased to see the competition return and has called it a matter of life or death in the knockout stage.
“I can’t wait to start playing in this competition again because we have not played since December and I really want to return well,” Koke told the club’s official website.
“We know that it is going to be a very difficult tie because it is practically life or death.”
Atletico Madrid are currently top of the La Liga table and seem destined to win the league, but Koke also has his eyes on the Champions League.
The Atleti and Spain midfielder added: “You always want to win but it’s true that the Champions League is special because of the atmosphere and because of how it is played.
“You play against other rivals that you hardly know so the perspective changes a lot when it comes to playing.
“You always have the same ambition and the same desire to win but it’s true that you have extra motivation for this competition.”