NYON, Dec 19 – Holders Manchester United and fellow 2008 finalists Chelsea will have to battle their way to potential Champions League glory after being paired with Inter Milan and Juventus respectively on Friday.
But in a draw for the first knockout round that produced some mouth-watering fixtures between European football’s big guns United and Premier League rivals Chelsea were not alone in facing tough opposition.
Liverpool, winners in 2005, are also assured a tough passage to the quarter-finals of the competition after being drawn with nine-times champions Real Madrid.
Arsenal will look favourably on the task that awaits them after being drawn with Roma, whose Olympic stadium will host the final in May 2009.
However seven-times French champions Lyon face a tough task overcoming an on-form Barcelona, European champions in 2006, over two legs.
Elsewhere Spanish side Villarreal drew Panathinaikos of Greece in what must be regarded as a good outcome for both clubs, while Bayern Munich will surely be happy having drawn Portuguese side Sporting Lisbon.
On-form Atletico Madrid meanwhile drew 2004 champions FC Porto.
The outcome of the draw means two former Chelsea coaches will find themselves back in England.
United will welcome back to Old Trafford former Chelsea coach Jose Mourinho, while Juventus coach Claudio Ranieri will return to Stamford Bridge for the first time since 2004.
Draw for the last 16, knockout round of the Champions League:
Chelsea (ENG) v Juventus (ITA)
Villarreal (ESP) v Panathinaikos (GRE)
Sporting Lisbon (POR) v Bayern Munich (GER)
Atletico Madrid (ESP) v FC Porto (POR)
Lyon (FRA) v Barcelona (ESP)
Real Madrid (ESP) v Liverpool (ENG)
Arsenal (ENG) v Roma (ITA)
Inter Milan (ITA) v Manchester United (ENG)