Nyon - Cristiano
Ronaldo's Real Madrid will resume their bid for a first European Cup
treble in 42 years against Neymar's Paris Saint-Germain after the
big-spending duo were on Monday drawn together in a mouth-watering
Champions League last 16 clash.
No club has won the European title three years running since Bayern
Munich in the mid-1970s, underlining how big an achievement it would be
if Madrid - 12 times winners overall - won the trophy again in the
final in Kiev in May.
Challenging them for the title will be a record five English clubs
through to the last 16, with Chelsea facing the most challenging hurdle
in the shape of La Liga giants Barcelona.
Barca's Spanish rivals Real know exactly what it takes to be European
champions, and in Ronaldo have the most prolific goal-scorer in the
Emilio Butragueno, a Real director and former striker, regretted that
one of the favourites would be eliminated so soon in the competition.
"For the potential of the two teams, luck has worked out this way and
one of the two teams will be out at the last 16 stage, which we think
is a bit soon taking into account they are two of the contenders for the
title," Butragueno told BeIN Sports Spain.
PSG made waves in the transfer market in the close season when they
signed Brazilian star Neymar for a world-record €222 million, followed closely by great French hope Kylian Mbappe,
who will cost €180 million when his loan deal becomes permanent next
"Every summer they have signed great players, they get stronger all
the time and they have had a nearly impeccable group stage,"
"With Neymar and Mbappe they have improved a lot up front, they are a
very dangerous team who will demand the best of us. We need to face
both games like finals and for the fans it will be a thrilling tie."
Maxwell said the Real tie threw up the chance for the Parisian club to
atone for their 6-1 hammering by Barcelona that eliminated them in the
last 16 last season.
"It's a good draw, with two good games to play," Maxwell said. "Our
fans will like it after we were knocked out by Barcelona last season.
"It will be nice. It's a beautiful challenge for the club. I think we're ready for that."
Barcelona will be wary of Chelsea, the English club enjoying four
wins to three in their 12 previous Champions League meetings, their most
recent coming in the semi-finals in 2012 as the London side marched to
"It is a good tie, the factor of playing the first leg away can
always help you a little," said Barca director Guillermo Amor. "We are
very optimistic, we are confident and want to keep going in this
"We will see who arrives better for the dates of the game. We hope we
will be strong because we are facing a strong team, an English team
that runs and is very physical but also has very good players."
English Premier League
leaders Manchester City play Basel, who have had some fine results
against English sides in recent years, while five-time winners and
current Bundesliga table toppers Bayern Munich drew Turkish giants
Bayern's director of sport Hasan Salihamidzic said the Germans would
not be underestimating Besiktas, who should enjoy some raucous support
from the city's Turkish community.
"We know how strong they are after we followed their games against
Leipzig. It will be a difficult task, but we are looking forward to the
unusual atmosphere in their stadium," he said.
"One always says that it is a disadvantage to play at home in the
first-leg, which is right - it certainly won't be an advantage - but we
are strong enough to accept that and we will give our all."
England's three-time champions Manchester United face Sevilla,
Liverpool, five-time winners, will be up against two-time former
champions Porto, and Tottenham take on last year's beaten finalists
Juve vice-president Pavel Nedved dubbed Spurs a "very solid team".
"Juventus have been there (finals) twice in the last three years,
it's something that definitely does not happen to everyone, for now we
think of Tottenham and nothing else."
Unfancied Ukrainian club Shakhtar Donetsk will play Roma to round out
the eight ties, with first legs set for February 13/14 and 20/21 and
second legs March 6/7 and 13/14.
Champions League last 16 draw:
Juventus v Tottenham Hotspur
Basel v Manchester City
Porto v Liverpool
Sevilla v Manchester United
Real Madrid v Paris Saint-Germain
Shakhtar Donetsk v Roma
Chelsea v Barcelona
Bayern Munich v Besiktas