Ronaldo going back to Old Trafford
Soccer:Cristiano Ronaldo will return to Old Trafford to face Manchester United after Real Madrid were drawn against his old side in the last 16 of the Champions League. It will also pit Jose Mourinho against Alex Ferguson in the most mouthwatering tie of the first knock-out round of Europe’s top club competition.The only other English side, Arsenal, will face last season’s beaten finalists Bayern Munich while Celtic will take on Italian champions Juventus as they look for a place in the quarter-finals.In the other matches, Barcelona will take on AC Milan, German champions Borussia Dortmund face Shakhtar Donetsk, Valencia play Paris St Germain, Porto encounter Spanish side Malaga and Galatasaray will come up against Schalke.
United’s club secretary John Alexander hoped there was a lucky omen in the draw. He told Sky Sports News: “Out of several standout ties, I think this is the one. “It’s the tie that everyone wanted to see but that nobody wanted to see; they wanted to save it for later in the competition.
“When you think about the traditions of these two clubs they have both been incredibly successful, but of course the past is history. One thing going in our favour is that our one victory over Real Madrid in
this competition was in the year we won the final at Wembley \[in 1968] so let’s hope that is a lucky omen.”
It was another Ronaldo — the Brazilian striker — who took the honours when the clubs last faced each other in 2003, scoring a hat-trick at Old Trafford as Real went through 6-5 on aggregate. The clubs first met in the European Cup in April 1957, when Real triumphed 5-3 in the semi-final.
Cristiano Ronaldo’s last match for United was in the Champions League final defeat by Barcelona, after which he moved to Madrid for a world record £80million transfer fee. United have a slight advantage over Real in that as group winners they will get to play the second leg at home.
Arsenal and Celtic, who were group runners-up, will both play their second legs away. Arsene Wenger’s Gunners last met Bayern Munich at the same stage in 2005, with the German side progressing 3-2 on aggregate.
Celtic boss Neil Lennon called his side’s draw against Juventus “a beauty” but very tough. Lennon admitted: “Well in terms of glamour it’s a beauty. Juventus are one of the great traditional European teams. They’re current Italian champions and finished the group stage very strongly.
“So in terms of glamour it’s great, in terms of qualification it is going to be very tough, but it could have been any of the other teams and it would have been just as tough. We will take it as it comes, we’re looking forward to the games now and I’m sure our supporters will be as well.