Ronaldo’s Return: United face Real in Last 16


By Lee Savery

Manchester United drew Real Madrid in the Last 16 draw of the UEFA Champions League.

It is the stand out tie of the second round and is probably one most United fans would not have wanted but, to the football world, it is a mouth-watering prospect as the nine time winners will play the three time winners.

The match will also be the first return to Old Trafford since Cristiano Ronaldo’s £80 million transfer to Real in June 2009. A special talent he still is and will, arguably, be Real’s biggest threat when the two sides meet. His time at United is still appreciated by the fans who still sing “Viva Ronaldo” at matches. For United, he scored 118 goals in 292 appearances. So far for Real, Ronaldo has scored 169 goals in 169 appearances. Simply, and still, one of the world’s best players.

The last time the two sides met was back in 2003, in the quarter-finals. The first leg was won 3-1 by Real in Madrid with two for Raul and one for Luis Figo. Ruud van Nistelrooy scored United’s away goal.

The second leg was a classic match. Ronaldo, the Brazilian one, scored a hat-trick in a virtuoso display that saw him applauded off by the Old Trafford crowd. The Red Devils won the second leg, however, with a brace from David Beckham, one for van Nistelrooy and an Ivan Helguera own goal. Real won 6-5 on aggregate.

The first leg will be played in Madrid in the spring on a date to be decided. As group winners, United have the advantage of playing the second leg at home, much like their previous meeting.

It will be an intriguing tie with the Red Devils currently sitting pretty at the top of the Premier League while Real have had their problems and currently trail Barcelona by 13 points in La Liga.

The Champions League last 16 round full draw is as follows:

Galatasaray v FC Schalke
Celtic v Juventus
Arsenal v Bayern Munich
Shakhtar Donetsk v Borussia Dortmund
AC Milan v Barcelona
Real Madrid v Manchester United
Valencia v Paris St Germain
FC Porto v Malaga

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