Canada’s Atiba Hutchinson to face Bayern Munich in UEFA Champions League Round of 16 with club team Beşiktaş
Posted on 12 December 2017 in Around the Soccer World
Canada’s Atiba Hutchinson is headed to the Round of 16 in the UEFA Champions League with his professional club, Turkish Super Lig Champions Beşiktaş. Hutchinson’s team was drawn against Bayern Munich at the UEFA Champions League round of 16 draw early Monday morning at the UEFA headquarters in Nyon, France.
Beşiktaş have emerged as one of the best teams in the competitions, in large part through Hutchinson’s superb play at centre midfield. Hutchinson covered over 50 kilometres across his five games played in the group stage - the most distance for time played of any Beşiktaş player - and even more remarkably he posted a 95 percent pass completion, recovered 27 balls, and laid out seven tackles.
In progressing to the knock-out round of the Champions League, Hutchinson joins a very small group of Canadian Internationals who have risen to the top ranks of European club football, including Tomasz Radzinski in the 2000-01 season for Anderlecht and Paul Stalteri in the 2004-05 season for SV Werder Bremen. Should Hutchinson’s Beşiktaş progress to the Quarterfinals he will be the first Canadian to ascend to that level.
UEFA Champions League
Hutchinson’s Turkish side clinched group G in the first round of the competition with 14 points, going unbeaten across six matches. Beşiktaş defeated Porto 3-1 in Portugal to kick off its campaign, followed by a 2-0 win over LEIPZIG at home, and a 2-1 win over Ligue 1 Champions Monaco in Monaco. They also, posted two one-all draws against Porto and Monaco at home to clinch top spot in Group G before a final 2-1 win away against Leipzig to round out the group stage.
Beşiktaş will play Bayern Munich away in the round of 16 first leg on 20 February at 20:45 CET (14:45 ET), and then again at home in Beşiktaş Park in İstanbul, Turkey for the return matches on 14 March at 18:00 CET ( Noon ET). Each pairing in the knockout phase, apart from the final, is played over two legs, with each team playing one leg at home. The team that scores more goals on aggregate over the two legs advance to the next round.
Canada Soccer Men’s National Team
Hutchinson is a long-time leader of Canada Soccer’s Men’s National Team, having made 74 appearances with six of those wearing the captain’s armband, including Canada’s recent 2-0 win over Jamaica in front of a crowd of 21,724 at BMO Field in his hometown of Toronto in September.
Hutchinson has won Canada Soccer Player of the Year five times, in 2010, 2012, 2014, 2015 and 2016.
“In reaching the Champions League Round of 16, Atiba’s team Beşiktaş has proven to be one of the best club teams in the world, so it is an incredible achievement for him, as a Canadian, not only by playing but starting in key matches, and also captaining the team. Having taken a leadership position in an elite club in Europe, with the skills he has shown, and the statistics he has posted - it puts Atiba in the highest caliber ranking of any Canadian player, but also of any players globally. He has had an incredible season in 2017, playing in the world's most difficult sport competitively in terms of number of players, and doing it at the highest level possible. We think this is the opportunity to celebrate Atiba’s incredible achievements and give him the accolades he deserves, not only for 2017, but for his incredible career.”
- Steven Reed, Canada Soccer President
“To see Atiba make the Round of 16 as a Canadian and playing as a starter as well, that's the kind of difference maker that Atiba is. He's not just another Canadian player in a roster of 18 or in a squad of 30, he's actually one of the main guys that contributes to the team’s success - and there he is again now, not just winning domestic cups, but going into the best of Europe in the next round with Beşiktaş, so he's a proven Champion.”
“Atiba's the type of player who is very elegant on the ball, almost like he's wearing a tuxedo; very classy, calm, and efficient. Whenever you're in trouble he's the guy to look for, the go-to guy because he can get you out of danger and can solve problems for teammates under pressure. This is an example of what all Canadians can look up to when they strive to become something, not just good in their careers but great. If you could get fifty percent of the Canadian players thinking the way Atiba does, to play the way he does, I wouldn't be surprised if you would find us coming out of a group stage at a FIFA World Cup. That's the type of heart and passion that the country needs to continue to follow and those are the goals and heights Canadians who want to make a career out of this game need to reach for.”
- Julian De Guzman, former Captain of Canada Soccer’s Men’s National Team and long-time teammate of Hutchinson.
“Where I started out was not the highest league, but I took the right steps and every step that I took was a little bit bigger than the last and the point I’m at right now (in my career), it’s a good point. With Beşiktaş, we’re playing to win the championship every year. Last year we won it, and the year before, so we’ve gone back to back. I’ve been playing, more or less, every game in the last few years, so to help out the team as much as I could have has been great. I’ve seen the club grow from a club playing for second, third place, getting close to a championship but not getting it, and now becoming a powerhouse in Turkey, so it’s been very good for me and I’ve learned a lot there. I’ve continued to develop in my career and win championships, and of course we’ve been playing in UEFA Champions League the last two years, so it’s been great. I’ve had a lot of good experiences in Turkey, the fans have been amazing, showed nothing but love and support for me as a player and I’ve been very happy with it.”
- Atiba Hutchinson, Beşiktaş and Canada Soccer Men’s National Team Captain
“Atiba has been a fan favorite in the last couple of seasons for Beşiktaş, thanks to his consistency, reliability, passing accuracy and defensive ability. He has not missed a league game during the 2015-16 season, and was on the pitch every minute in 33 of the 34 games, and did not collect a single yellow card, earning a cult status among the fans. This season, he is in the top 10 among midfielders in the Champions League in both interceptions (11) and recoveries (48). For Beşiktaş, he had the highest passing accuracy and recoveries, and only Pepe has won more duels than him,”
- Cenk Tosun, Beşiktaş striker (via Goal.com)