• Champions League

Man Utd face Real Madrid, Arsenal get Bayern

ESPN staff
December 20, 2012

Manchester United face a daunting two-legged contest against Real Madrid in the last-16 of the Champions League, after the draw was made on Thursday.

Arsenal, meanwhile, will face last year's runners-up Bayern Munich for a place in the quarter-finals of the competition - while Celtic will meet Italian champions Juventus, who helped knock holders Chelsea out of the competition at the group stage.

United's draw will see Cristiano Ronaldo return to Old Trafford, with Real boss Jose Mourinho - strongly linked to succeed Sir Alex Ferguson as United manager - prowling the touchline once again after masterminding Porto's memorable victory over the English side at the same stage of the competition in 2004.

"Oh yes, Madrid!" Rio Ferdinand said on Twitter. "What a great couple of games that'll be! Cristiano [Ronaldo] see you soon bro!"

"It's the game everybody wanted to see, but nobody wanted to see," United club secretary John Alexander added. "Of several standout ties, this is the one.

"If history has anything in our favour, our one victory in this competition against Real Madrid came in the year [1968] we won the final at Wembley."

Madrid director Emilio Butragueno noted: "It's very, very attractive - it will be a thrilling experience for everybody. We are very happy with that, but we know it is going to be a very difficult, very tight. They have a very strong team and great leadership.

"But we are Real Madrid, and we try to do our best. I think we will rise to the occasion."

After asking Santa to be kind to Celtic prior to the draw, manager Neil Lennon admitted that Juventus would pose a real test to the SPL champions.

"In terms of glamour it's a beauty," Lennon told Sky Sports. "In terms of qualification, it's going to be very, very tough. We will take it as it comes, we are looking forward to the games now."

Elsewhere in the draw, a glamour tie sees two European heavyweights, AC Milan and Barcelona, go head-to-head for the right to reach the quarter-finals.

"Milan is one of Europe's greats, and we have so much respect for them," Barcelona vice-president Josep Maria Bartomeu said. "They are maybe not doing well in their league at the moment, but they have impressive players. They have players and coaches to turn things around. We must respect them and try to arrive in good condition for the games. We will face them with high hopes."

In a remarkable coincidence, all eight ties exactly matched those drawn out during Wednesday's technical rehearsal - with Malaga facing Porto and Shakhtar Donetsk going up against Borussia Dortmund. The two remaining matches see Galatasaray facing Schalke, while Paris St Germain will be hopeful of progression against Spanish side Valencia.

The first legs will take place on February 12/13 and 19/20, while the second legs will take place on March 5/6 and 12/13. Group winners will play the away leg first.

Champions League last-16 draw

FC Schalke 04
Bayern Munich
Shakhtar Donetsk
Borussia Dortmund
AC Milan
Real Madrid
Manchester United
Paris St Germain
FC Porto
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