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Fabio Cannavaro agrees with Rio Ferdinand’s Champions League predictions

Fabio Cannavaro tips an English side to win this year’s Champions League after all four Premier League teams progressed to the last 16 of the prestigious competition

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In pictures: Zenit v Chelsea

Legendary World Cup winner Fabio Cannavaro believes Chelsea can retain the Champions League trophy.

Thomas Tuchel’s side are through to the last 16 of this season’s tournament after finishing second in Group H behind Juventus.

Fellow English clubs Manchester United, Manchester City and Liverpool have also progressed to the knockout stages.

Despite failing to win their group, Chelsea are one of the favourites to take home the prize for a third time.

If they do so, they will become the first English side to retain the famous trophy since Nottingham Forest achieved the feat in 1980.

Speaking after Tuesday’s fixtures, Premier League winners Michael Owen and Rio Ferdinand backed an English side to be victorious.

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Chelsea are the reigning European champions
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“I don’t see past the three English teams to be fair,” claimed Ferdinand. “I think the three English teams [Chelsea, Man City and Liverpool] will win it this year.

“Bayern might stake a claim but the English teams just look so powerful, tactically they’re on it, the individuals, they’ve got three of the best managers as well.

“When you get to the latter stages where you need people to organise your team well, the experienced teams all know how to win this tournament.”

Owen added: “The Spanish teams aren’t the force of old. I’ve said lots of times I can’t have Paris Saint-Germain go and win. For me, it’s Bayern Munich or an English team.

“That was supposed to be the group of death for Liverpool and they’ve just brushed everyone aside with weakened teams at the end as well.

“They’re miles too good for the rest of the teams. If they had played their strongest team for every game it would’ve been embarrassing really, that’s how much they’re clear.

“It’s phenomenal. 18 points out of 18 in that group with those pedigrees of names.”

Although Ferdinand and Owen have made a bold call, Cannavaro has gone one step further by throwing his support behind Chelsea.

“I think Chelsea can do it,” he told Walfoot. “They have a great manager in Thomas Tuchel, and a very good team.

Real Madrid did it three years in a row, which was a historical accomplishment for the club and [then manager Zinedine] Zidane.

“But to win the Champions League, you need a lot of things to go your way. For me, English clubs are better prepared.”

Although Chelsea are one of the favourites to retain their European crown, manager Tuchel will be concerned about Wednesday’s result.

Thomas Tuchel was frustrated with Chelsea’s draw against Zenit St Petersburg
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The Blues conceded a last-minute equaliser to Russian outfit Zenit St Petersburg, allowing Juventus to top their group.

“We had a very good first 15 minutes and then we stopped doing the things we did in the first 15 minutes,” said Tuchel.

“We were forgetting why we were the better team. Our behaviour changed when we had the lead and this is something we never did and we should never do.

“We do the things that we want to do on the highest level and we push ourselves and it hurts and it has to hurt.

“You have to play through pain – physical pain – and you have to raise your level of concentration and you have to overcome adversity.

“If you change your behaviour because of the score, you allow the possibility to get punished. It’s as easy as the basics.”

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