Real Madrid will face Manchester United in the knockout stages of UEFA Champions League after the draw was made earlier today in Nyon (UEFA’s headquarters).
Steve McManaman was representing London as the venue for the final and was part of the drawing process.
Interestingly, (or controversially!) the draw is the same as the rehearsal draw yesterday which means UEFA would have some explaining to do. Either way, it’s a brilliant draw and has thrown in some mouth-watering games.
Manchester United club secretary, John Alexander, spoke with Sky Sports News and said:
Everyone wanted to keep this for later in the competition but, out of several stand-out ties, I think this is the one. If history has anything in our favour our one victory against Real Madrid in this competition was in the season when we won the final at Wembley
Emilio Butragueno said:
Fans will be very happy with this tie, Manchester United is not just good a great team but a fantastic organisation. We have a great relationship with them. It will be difficult, a very even tie, they have a strong team and great leadership. Ferguson knows how to get the best out of his team. But we are Real Madrid, we will try to do our best and I think we will rise to the occasion.
I’m sure it’s going to be a special game for Ronaldo. He’s a great professional so I’m sure he’s going to do his best to help Real Madrid qualify for the next round but going back there will be special for him.
Alex Ferguson and Jose Mourinho have a very good relationship. Jose is a great manager, he is under contract so we are happy with him. He will lead the team to make our fans feel proud of the team, that’s the main objective.
This tie is going to be difficult. The Champions League is the most prestigious club competition in the world. Playing against Manchester United is going to be another factor for our players. They will think “I want to show what I’m made of”[against such lauded opponents]. It’s very important for us to get our injured players back but the first leg is two months away so I hope we will be at our best and I hope we will be on form. It’s unpredictable.
The game will see Cristiano returning to Old Trafford and Mourinho going against Sir Alex yet again!
The dates for the ties are not out yet but they will be played on 12, 13, 19 and 20 February (first leg) and 5, 6, 12, 13 March (second leg). First leg would be at Bernabeu and second leg at Old Trafford.
Galatasaray v Schalke
Celtic v Juventus
Arsenal v Bayern Munich
Shakhtar Donetsk v Borussia Dortmund
AC Milan v FC Barcelona
Real Madrid v Manchester United
Valencia v Paris Saint-Germain
Malaga v Porto