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Cristiano to return to Old T- CL draw

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NYON, Switzerland, December 20 – AC Milan versus Barcelona and Real Madrid versus Manchester United are the top ties of the last 16 of the Champions League, after the draw was made at UEFA headquarters in Nyon, Switzerland, on Thursday.

Sir Alex Ferguson will face Jose Mourinho in the Champions League last 16 after United were drawn against nine-time winners Madrid.

Elsewhere, Arsenal won’t be too disappointed with their lot – dodging Barcelona – after they were picked out with last season’s runners up Bayern Munich.

And Scottish champions Celtic, who beat Barca earlier the competition, were drawn against Italian side Juventus, who topped Chelsea’s group.

Meanwhile, Turkish side Galatasary were drawn against Arsenal’s group winners, Schalke, while German champions, who topped City’s group, will face Shakhtar.

The draw contained nine former champions of Europe, including United and Celtic, though not last year’s winners Chelsea.

Proceedings began with a tribute to Barcelona coach Tito Vilanova, who is having an emergency operation today after suffering a relapse of a cancerous tumour in his salivary gland.

As with all UEFA draws, there was plenty to get through before we got down to the real action, namely the explanation of rules.

Essentially, all group winners were drawn against the runners-up with the caveats that teams from the same country or same qualifying group could face each other.

The first leg ties will be played on February 12th or 20th with second legs on either March 5th or 12th.

Earlier draw master Steve McManaman and Patrick Kluivert rehearsed the process and pulled out Manchester United v Real Madrid, Arsenal v Bayern Munich, and Celtic v Juventus.

FULL DRAW

Galatasaray (TUR) v Schalke 04 (GER)

Celtic (SCO) v Juventus (ITA)

Arsenal (ENG) v Bayern Munich (GER)

Shakhtar Donetsk (UKR) v Borussia Dortmund (GER)

AC Milan (ITA) v Barcelona (ESP)

Real Madrid (ESP) v Manchester United (ENG)

Valencia (ESP) v Paris Saint-Germain (FRA)

FC Porto (POR) v Malaga (ESP)

FACTFILES

GALATASARAY

Coach: Fatih Terim (TUR)

Champions League/European Cup best: semi-finalists (1989)

– Crept into second place in Group H after winning 2-1 at Braga on matchday six. Burak Yilmaz’s six goals make him the competition’s joint-top scorer alongside Cristiano Ronaldo of Real Madrid, while Galatasaray’s Turk Telekom Arena in Istanbul is one of the most intimidating venues in world sport.

SCHALKE 04

Coach: Jens Keller (GER)

Champions League/European Cup best: semi-finalists (2011)

– Schalke finished top of a group that also contained Arsenal and French champions Montpellier, but Dutchman Huub Stevens was sacked as coach at the weekend after picking up just two points from a possible 18 in the Bundesliga. Former Stuttgart coach Jens Keller was promoted from within to succeed him until the end of the season.

Celtic (SCO) v Juventus (ITA)

CELTIC

Coach: Neil Lennon (NIR)

Champions League/European Cup best: winners (1967)

– Produced one of the sensations of the group phase by pipping Benfica to second place behind Barcelona in Group G following a memorable 2-1 win over the Catalans at a delirious Celtic Park last month. Appearing in the knockout rounds for the first time since 2008.

JUVENTUS

Coach: Antonio Conte (ITA)

Champions League/European Cup best: winners (1985, 1996)

– Back among the European elite after two seasons in the wilderness, Juventus emerged from a difficult group at the expense of defending champions Chelsea. Their 49-game unbeaten run in Serie A may have been ended by Inter Milan last month, but they went into the draw with an imposing seven-point lead in the Italian top flight.

Arsenal (ENG) v Bayern Munich (GER)

ARSENAL

Coach: Arsene Wenger (FRA)

Champions League/European Cup best: runners-up (2006)

– Arsenal have reached the knockout stages for 13 consecutive seasons, but they came second in Group B after losing to Schalke and Olympiakos. Arsene Wenger is enduring one of his most testing seasons at the club, having seen his side fall off the pace in the Premier League and lose to fourth-tier Bradford City in the League Cup.

BAYERN MUNICH

Coach: Jupp Heynckes (GER)

Champions League/European Cup best: winners (1974, 1975, 1976, 2001)

– Last season’s penalty shoot-out loss to Chelsea in the final at their own Allianz Arena home was one of the most painful moments in the club’s history, but they appear determined to make amends this season. They recovered from a shock defeat by Belarusian side BATE Borisov to finish top of Group F and they are nine points clear of Bayer Leverkusen ahead of the Bundesliga’s winter break.

Shakhtar Donetsk (UKR) v Borussia Dortmund (GER)

SHAKHTAR DONETSK

Coach: Mircea Lucescu (ROM)

Champions League/European Cup best: quarter-finalists (2011)

– One of the most impressive sides in the group stage, Shakhtar caught the eye in a 2-1 win over Chelsea in October and boast a squad packed with Brazilian flair. They have won 17 of their 18 matches to date in this season’s Ukrainian Premier League.

BORUSSIA DORTMUND

Coach: Juergen Klopp (GER)

Champions League/European Cup best: winners (1997)

– Back-to-back German champions in 2011 and 2012, Dortmund have finally translated their high-octane style to the European area and finished ahead of Real Madrid and Manchester City in Group D. Juergen Klopp’s side have fallen behind Bayern in the Bundesliga, but their attacking football won plenty of admirers during the group stage.

AC Milan (ITA) v Barcelona (ESP)

AC MILAN

Coach: Massimiliano Allegri (ITA)

Champions League/European Cup best: winners (1963, 1969, 1989, 1990, 1994, 2003, 2007)

– After a glut of important players left the club in the close season, Milan have struggled, falling 14 points off the pace in the league and losing to Malaga and Zenit Saint Petersburg in the Champions League group phase. Still, they boast an impressive European pedigree, and in Serie A top scorer Stephan El Shaarawy they possess one of the most exciting young talents in Europe.

BARCELONA

Coach: Tito Vilanova (ESP)

Champions League/European Cup best: winners (1992, 2006, 2009, 2011)

– Despite being eliminated by Chelsea in the semi-finals last season, Barcelona remain the team to beat, having won the competition twice in the last four years. Tito Vilanova had made an assured start to life at Camp Nou since succeeding Pep Guardiola, thanks in no small part to the continued brilliance of Lionel Messi, but now faces a six-week lay-off after cancer surgery.

Real Madrid (ESP) v Manchester United (ENG)

REAL MADRID

Coach: Jose Mourinho (POR)

Champions League/European Cup best: winners (1956, 1957, 1958, 1959, 1960, 1966, 1998, 2000, 2002)

– Despite breaking Barcelona’s stranglehold in La Liga last season, all is not well at Real Madrid, who were eclipsed by Borussia Dortmund in Group D and have been left for dead by Barca in the league. Jose Mourinho’s days at the club appear numbered, but his record in this competition is unparalleled.

MANCHESTER UNITED

Coach: Alex Ferguson (SCO)

Champions League/European Cup best: winners (1968, 1999, 2008)

– Knocked out in the group phase last season, United finished top of Group H despite two defeats and several wobbly defensive performances. Former Arsenal striker Robin van Persie has taken to life at Old Trafford like a duck to water and United’s recent 3-2 win at Manchester City gave them a six-point lead at the top of the Premier League.

Valencia (ESP) v Paris Saint-Germain (FRA)

VALENCIA

Coach: Ernesto Valverde (ESP)

Champions League/European Cup best: runners-up (2000, 2001)

– Solid in the group phase, with back-to-backs wins over BATE Borisov and Lille leaving them level on points with Bayern Munich in Group F. Struggling domestically, however, having slumped to 11th in La Liga after losing seven of their first 16 matches.

PARIS SAINT-GERMAIN

Coach: Carlo Ancelotti (ITA)

Champions League/European Cup best: semi-finalists (1995)

– Pipped to the Ligue 1 title by Montpellier last season, mega-rich Paris Saint-Germain are desperate to make a mark in the Champions League this term. With close-season signing Zlatan Ibrahimovic to the fore, they won five of their six group games to finish above Porto in Group A and boast the competition’s meanest defence with just three goals conceded.

Porto (POR) v Malaga (ESP)

PORTO

Coach: Vitor Pereira (POR)

Champions League/European Cup best: winners (1987, 2004)

– Seasoned Champions League campaigners, Porto have gone beyond the quarter-finals only once since their shock triumph under Jose Mourinho in 2004. Vitor Pereira led Porto to the Portuguese title in his first season in charge following the departure of Andre Villas-Boas.

MALAGA

Coach: Manuel Pellegrini (CHI)

Champions League/European Cup best: last 16 (2013)

– Despite making their maiden appearance in the competition, Malaga finished above AC Milan in Group C after taking four points from the Italian giants as they finished the group phase unbeaten. Chilean coach Manuel Pellegrini previously led modest Villarreal to the semi-finals in 2006.

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