Jose Mourinho-led Chelsea were drawn against PSG or Paris Saint-Germain on Monday in the Champions League last 16 draw. Officials from either side reacted to this announcement.
In the draw, Spanish heavyweights and reigning European champions Real Madrid will meet with Schalke 04 from Germany while Manchester City face off with Barcelona in a rematch of last year’s championships.
In the same stage of the competition last year, Barcelona thrashed Manchester city 4-1 on aggregate with Real Madrid thumping Schalke 9-2 over the two legs of matches. Chelsea edged out PSG on away goals rule in the quarter final stages.
Last week, Jose Mourinho, the Chelsea manager, said that he would welcome being paired with PSG as it would be easier for Chelsea fans to travel to the French capital to watch the game. He got his wish when the pair was drawn together by Karl-Heinz Riedle on Monday.
As fate would have it Riedle, performing the draw in his capacity as Berlin ambassador, the venue for the June 6 finals for this year’s competition, and who scored twice in 1997 finals when Dortmund ran out 3-1 winners over Juventus, also drew the 1997 finalists together.
The other Spain-Germany matchup sees Atletico Madrid, beaten finalists last year, square it off with Bayer Leverkusen.
Arsene Wenger, the Arsenal manager, will for the first time face his former employers AS Monaco in a competitive game while Bayern Munich, winners of European elite competition on five occasions, face off with Ukraine’s Shakhtar Donetsk. FC Basel, the surprise package from Switzerland, play FC Porto.
Real Madrid annihilated Schalke 04 in the same stage of the competition last year and Emilio Butragueno, speaking to Canal Plus, the Spanish TV broadcaster, said:
“Let’s say we are rather optimistic.”
He added that they have lots of experience from last year when they essentially won the game in the first round.
In the first leg of last year’s competition, Real Madrid drubbed Schalke 6-1 in their first meeting and finished off with a 3-1 win in the second leg, which set them on the road for a record 10th Champions League trophy.
After being drawn with Manchester City for the second year running, Andoni Zubizarreta, the sporting director for Barcelona, told Canal Plus:
“This is a great match against a great team, one that we know very well. There is still some time before February so we’ll just wait and see how the teams shape up by the time the match comes around. But without a doubt, we have some two great matches to look forward to.”
Former Barcelona player, now a director of football with Manchester City, Txiki Begiristain, while speaking to Sky Sports News, said:
“The draw has same ties, and it’s fantastic. We are looking forward to the match.”
He added that City has improved their squad from last season and that they now have genuine quality up front.
First leg matches are slated for February 17-18 and February 24-25 and the return fixtures set for March 10-11 and 17-18 of March next year. The finals are set to be held on June 6 in Berlin. Until then, grab your tickets to the champions league finals.