Chelsea’s Champions League clash against Atletico Madrid set to be moved to Bucharest due to Spain's Covid travel ban

CHELSEA are set to play their Champions League last 16 first leg tie with Atletico Madrid in ROMANIA.

LaLiga leaders Atletico are desperate to play the February 23 game on home soil in the Wanda Metropolitano.

But Spanish government restrictions on travel from the UK have still to be lifted.

They are expected to be extended beyond the current deadline of February 16, meaning the Spanish side will have to find an alternative location.

And the preferred option is understood to be Bucharest’s Arena Nationala, the venue where Diego Simeone’s side beat Marcelo Bielsa’s Athletic Bilbao to win the Europa League in 2012.

It means that all three English sides are now likely to play their Champions League last 16 away ties on neutral soil while retaining home advantage for the second leg.

Uefa have already confirmed that Liverpool’s first leg against Leipzig will be played in Budapest next week.

And Manchester City are unlikely to be allowed to travel to Germany to face Borussia Monchengladbach eight days later.

The Covid restrictions will also impact on the Prem clubs in the Europa League, with the same Spanish border controls meaning Real Sociedad will have to find a new venue for their game with Manchester United.

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Arsenal and Benfica are almost certain to have to play both legs of their last 32 tie in third countries.

But Spurs are able to travel to Austria for their tie with Wolfsberger, while Leicester can fly to Prague for the clash with Slavia in the Czech capital.

Rangers, meanwhile, will face Belgian side Royal Antwerp.

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