Cristiano Ronaldo returns to Old Trafford
Manchester United have been drawn against Real Madrid in the stand-out tie of the Uefa Champions League last 16 round. It means Cristiano Ronaldo will return to Old Trafford for the first time since his 2009 move to Madrid in a meeting that also pits old foes Sir Alex Ferguson against Jose Mourinho against each other.
Ronaldo scored 118 goals in 292 appearances during his six years at United. his last match for the club was in the 2009 Champions League final defeat by Barcelona, after which he moved to Madrid for a world record £80 million transfer fee.
In other mouth-watering ties, Barcelona will come up against AC Milan while Arsenal will face last season’s beaten finalists Bayern Munich.
The other ties see Borussia Dortmund face Shakhtar Donetsk, Valencia play Paris Saint-Germain, Porto meet Malaga, Juventus take on Celtic and Galatasaray come up against Schalke. Funnily enough, the draw was an exact repeat of Wednesday’s rehearsal.
Speaking after the draw United’s club secretary John Alexander said he hoped there was a lucky omen for them.
“It’s the tie that everyone wanted to see – but that nobody wanted to see, they wanted to save it for later in the competition,” he said. “If history has anything in our favour our one (aggregate) victory over Real Madrid in this competition was in the year we won the final at Wembley (in 1968).”
The 2013 final also takes place at Wembley, on Saturday, May 25.
United have a slight advantage over Madrid in that as group winners they will get to play the second leg at home.
|Barcelona and AC Milan meet again|
Bayern will have the same advantage in their tie against Arsenal and their chairman, Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, was optimistic about his side’s chances.
“I think we enter this match as the slight favourites, but we can be making the mistake of underestimating them,” he said.
“Arsenal have struggled at times in the league over the last few months, but by no means will this be an easy game for us. I wouldn’t call this a lucky draw, but one that we can overcome. I look forward to seeing my old friend Arsene Wenger and I hope that we can reach the next round,” Rummenigge said.
Uefa Champions League Last 16 draw
Real Madrid v Manchester United
Arsenal v Bayern Munich
Celtic v Juventus
AC Milan v Barcelona
Shakhtar Donetsk v Borussia Dortmund
Valencia v Paris Saint-Germain
Galatasaray v Schalke
Porto v Malaga
First legs to be played February 12/13/19/20, 2013
Second legs to be played March 5/6/12/13, 2013