NYON — Manchester United were yesterday drawn against Spanish champions Real Madrid in the last 16 of the Champions League.
The match will see Cristiano Ronaldo return to Old Trafford for the first time since his £80m move from United to Real in June 2009.
Report by BBC Sport
Celtic will play Italian side Juventus, while Arsenal take on last year’s beaten finalists Bayern Munich.
Four-times winners Barcelona take on seven-times champions AC Milan, while Valencia face Paris St Germain.
Borussia Dortmund have been drawn against Shakhtar Donetsk and Porto take on Malaga, while Galatasaray will play Schalke.
But the undoubted tie of the round sees nine-times winners Madrid take on United for the first time in nine years.
The sides last met in the 2002-2003 semi-final with the Spaniards triumphing 6-5 on aggregate.
Madrid won the first leg of that tie 3-1 and went through after a virtuoso second-leg performance from the Brazilian Ronaldo, who scored a hat-trick and was applauded off the Old Trafford pitch, as United won 4-3.
United club secretary John Alexander said: “Out of several stand-out ties, I think this is the one. If history has anything in our favour our one (aggregate) victory against Real Madrid in this competition was in the season when we won the final at Wembley (in 1968).”
As group winners, United will again play the second leg of the tie at home.
Celtic and Arsenal, as group runners-up, will play their first legs at home.
Hoops manager Neil Lennon is looking forward to a “beauty” of a tie against Italian champions Juventus.
“In terms of glamour it’s a beauty,” he said. “Juventus are one of the great traditional European teams. So in terms of glamour it’s great, in terms of qualification it is going to be very tough.”
Bayern chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge is optimistic his side will see off Arsenal.
“We enter this match as the slight favourites, but we can make the mistake of underestimating them,” said the German.
“Arsenal have struggled at times in the league over the last few months, which a look upon the standings in the Premier League will tell you.
“We want to set the foundations with a good performance in London that would make things easier for us in our home game.”
Barcelona are now 2-1 favourites to win the Champions League although they could hardly have picked a club with more experience of success in Europe in seven-times winners AC Milan when the competition resumes in mid-February.
Messi has scored 90 goals in 2012 and has fired Barcelona to a nine-point lead in La Liga while Milan are 14 points adrift of Juventus in Serie A and finished second behind Malaga in their group.
Barcelona vice-president Josep Maria Bartomeu told Spanish broadcaster Canal Plus: “Milan are one of Europe’s greats and a club that commands a huge amount of respect.
“They are not going well in their league right now, but they have some excellent players. They are not currently at their best, but football changes from one day to the next.”
The first legs will be played on February 12-13 or 19-20, with the return matches on March 5-6 or 12-13.
UEFA CHAMPIONS LEAGUE LAST 16
Galatasaray v Schalke, Celtic v Juventus, Arsenal v Bayern Munich, Shakhtar Donetsk v Borussia Dortmund , AC Milan v Barcelona, Real Madrid v Manchester United, Valencia v Paris St Germain, Porto v Malaga
EUROPA LEAGUE, LAST 32 AND LAST 16 DRAW:
Napoli or Viktoria Plzen v BATE Borisov or Fenerbahce
Leverkusen or Benfica v Dynamo Kiev or Bordeaux
Anzhi Makhachkala or Hannover v Newcastle or Metalist
Stuttgart or Genk v Monchengladbach or Lazio
Tottenham or Lyon v Inter Milan or Cluj
Levante or Olympiakos v Atletico Madrid or Rubin Kazan
Basel or Dnipro v Zenit St Petersburg or Liverpool
Ajax or Steaua Bucharest v Sparta Prague or Chelsea