European champions Real Madrid face Schalke 04, Barcelona play Manchester City and Chelsea take on Paris Saint-Germain in three ties repeated from last season following the draw for the Champions league round-of-16 yesterday.
Real Madrid knocked Schalke out of the round-of-16 last season 9-2 on aggregate, Barcelona beat Manchester City 4-1, while Chelsea beat PSG on away goals in the quarter-finals.
Last week, Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho said he would welcome being drawn against PSG “because it will be easy for our fans to travel to Paris” and he got his wish when Karl-Heinz Riedle drew the pair together.
Riedle, who performed the draw in his role as ambassador for Berlin, the venue for this season’s final on June 6, and who scored twice when Borussia Dortmund beat Juventus 3-1 in the 1996-1997 final, also drew those two clubs together.
Last season’s beaten finalists Atletico Madrid face Bayer 04 Leverkusen in another Spain-Germany matchup.
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger will face his old club AS Monaco in a competitive match for the first time, while five-time winners Bayern Munich take on Shakhtar Donetsk. Swiss club Basel play Porto.
Real Madrid crushed Schalke in last season’s round-of-16 and club director Emilio Butragueno told Spanish TV broadcaster Canal Plus: “Let’s say that we are rather optimistic.”
“We have the experience from last season, a very, very good experience when we essentially won the tie in the first leg,” he said.
Real beat Schalke 6-1 in the first leg and 3-1 in the second last season en route to their 10th European Cup success.
After drawing English champions Manchester City, Barca sporting director Andoni Zubizarreta told Canal Plus: “It’s a great tie against a great rival, a team we know extremely well.”
“There is still a long way to go until February and let’s see what shape each team is in when the tie comes around, but for sure it’s going to be a great tie with two great matches,” he said.
The first legs are to be played on Feb. 17, Feb. 18, Feb. 24 and Feb. 25, with the second legs on March 10, March 11, March 17 and March 18 next year.
The final is to be held in Berlin on June 6.
Japanese couple Rikiya and Ayumi Kataoka had their honeymoon wrecked by the COVID-19 pandemic, but their resourcefulness in enforced exile in Cape Verde has won them appointments as ambassadors for its Olympic team. The Kataokas had completed a third of their round-the-world trip when a suspension in long-haul flights stranded them for five months in the archipelago of 10 tiny islands off the coast of West Africa. Unable to resume their journey to Europe and then home to Japan, and unwilling to head to the African mainland, where virus cases are spiking, they had to trade their skills with domestic businesses to
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