UEFA’s Champions League has redeemed itself after a group draw that put too many of the top teams together, leaving groups of lesser for us all to bemoan.
Not so, however, with today’s draw for the Round of 16, which includes several tantalizing matchups.
None are better than Real Madrid-Manchester United. Feel free to get a little dizzy at the prospects.
What could possibly be better? Old rivals Jose Mourinho and Sir Alex Ferguson, managers of the respective clubs. And there’s Wayne Rooney vs. old teammate Cristiano Ronaldo. Said Ferguson: “Well, it’s the tie of the round. It’s a great opportunity for our fans to see Cristiano again and also for me to meet up with José again – I’ll need to order some good wine!”
Other delicious matchups include Arsenal-Bayern Munich, and Barcelona-A.C. Milan.
Gunner boss Arsene Wenger could potentially save his job by beating the current Bundesliga leaders and gaining a quarterfinal spot in club soccer’s grandest competition.
Dortmund, so brilliant in continental play but a little less so in league action, gets an interesting matchup against Ukrainian Champions League darlings Shakhtar Donetsk.
Barcelona may be tempered in their enthusiasm for it all, given the medical crisis for manager Tito Vilanova.
The first legs are set for Feb. 12, 13, 19 or 20; the return legs are scheduled for March 5, 6, 19 or 20.
The complete draw is here:
- Galatasaray AŞ (TUR) v FC Schalke 04 (GER)
- Celtic FC (SCO) v Juventus (ITA)
- Arsenal FC (ENG) v FC Bayern München (GER)
- FC Shakhtar Donetsk (UKR) v Borussia Dortmund (GER)
- AC Milan (ITA) v FC Barcelona (ESP)
- Real Madrid CF (ESP) v Manchester United FC (ENG)
- Valencia CF (ESP) v Paris Saint-Germain FC (FRA)
- FC Porto (POR) v Málaga CF (ESP)