United to lock horns with Real

Cristiano Ronaldo will return with nine-times winners Real Madrid to Manchester United, where he developed into one of the world's greatest forwards, and Lionel Messi's Barcelona take on AC Milan in the Champions League last 16.

Bayern Munich, last season's beaten finalists, play Arsenal and Juventus take on surprise qualifiers Celtic. Big-spending Paris St Germain face Valencia. But the fate of the two Spanish giants in Thursday’s draw at UEFA headquarters in Nyon, Switzerland, attracted most interest and both were pitted against clubs with decades of European experience.

Real, the Spanish champions, have been disappointing in La Liga this season and they finished second in their Champions League group behind Borussia Dortmund.

But Ronaldo, a United player from 2003 to 2009, will be desperate for Real to rise to the occasion against the club at which he won the European Cup in 2008. Real manager Jose Mourinho, once of Chelsea, will also come up against his old rival Alex Ferguson.

United, three-time European champions, have played Real eight times and won only twice. Real, who will host United in the first leg on February 13, last won the European Cup in 2002. Barcelona are now 2-1 favourites to win the Champions League although they could hardly have picked a club with more experience of success in Europe in seven-time winners AC Milan.

Juventus, who last won the European Cup in 1996, finished top of their group and will not be disappointed to have drawn Celtic who pulled off a major shock by beating Barcelona this season.

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