The much awaited draw is finally over and Manchester United have been drawn against Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions League round of 16 with Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi set for another showdown clash,
Two all-time greats, with 12 Ballons d’Or between them will get the chance to rekindle their old rivalry. Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi last faced each other in the Champions’ League group stage back in December 2020, when they were on the books of Juventus and Barcelona respectively. That match ended with the Portugal international scoring twice as Juventus secured a 3-0 win at Barcelona.
Any meeting between the pair is sure to generate plenty of attention, with both as ambitious as ever to collect major silverware with their current employers.
Elsewhere, Chelsea were only able to finish as runners-up in their group, but Thomas Tuchel’s side given a fancy pair. Chelsea FC will feel that a clash with Ligue 1 title holders Lille presents them with a decent shot at reaching the quarter-finals.
Liverpool FC were also able to avoid any big-hitters in the last 16, as they prepare to face Austrian opponent, Salzsburg, and will be looking to the likes of Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane to provide inspiration on a continental stage.
When Defensive Minded and Free Flowing Attacking Teams Meet
Manchester City fell at the final hurdle last season, as Pep Guardiola’s long wait for another Champions League crown continues, but they will be heavy favourites to overcome Villarreal- the winners of the 2020-21 Europa League.
There promises to be plenty of goals in Inter’s meeting with Ajax, with both teams boasting attacking options aplenty, while Juventus will be eager to find a spark in Europe that has deserted them domestically in Serie A.
The other standout tie in the last 16 will see Bayern Munich, led by prolific Polish striker Robert Lewandowski, endeavour to break down the tight defensive unit that Diego Simeone always has in place at Atletico Madrid.
Date for the Fixtures
Group winners will be away in the first leg, with ties to be played on 15th, 16th and 22nd, 23rd of February, 2022. The return legs will also be played on 8th, 9th and 15th, and 16th of March, 2022.
The notable changes to the tie is that the away goals rule has been abolished in European tournament knockout ties this season.
The rule, which has been in place since 1965, was used to determine a winner when teams were level on aggregate after a two-legged match. The team that had scored more goals as the away side were awarded the victory. But from now, this will be replaced by extra time and penalties.
UEFA will draw the quarterfinal and semifinal ties on the same day for this season, scheduled for March 18, 2022, after the round of 16 games are played.
The final will take place on Saturday, May 28 at Krestovsky Stadium in Saint Petersburg, Russia.
However, picking the reactions from the microblogging site, Twitter, football fans are concerned about some irregularities spotted during the draw. Fans are of the view that the Manchester United and PSG draw was rigged by the European Football governing body to make more money from Cristiano and Messi rivalry.