Manchester United are up against AC Milan while Chelsea meet Inter Milan in two top English-Italian clashes in the last 16 of the Champions League.

Meanwhile holders Barcelona face Germans VfB Stuttgart after the draw made in Nyon, Switzerland on Friday.

The pairings bring Inter Milan coach Jose Mourinho together with his old club Chelsea in one of the pick of the ties, while United have a tough proposition against AC Milan in a meeting of the 2008 and 2007 winners respectively.

Former England captain David Beckham, who won the Champions League with Manchester United in 1998 and who joins Milan on a six-month loan deal in January, will now come up against his old club.

“Since I left (United) in 2003, I have not returned to play at Old Trafford. Seven years have gone by and I would like for that to happen,” Beckham had said before the draw.

Milan director Umberto Gandini said: “It’s an exciting tie — one of the historical ties. It is a great occasion for David Beckham to go back to Old Trafford and play United. The last time we played them we beat them and qualified for the final.” United, last season’s losing finalists, were dumped out of the Champions League by AC Milan in the 2007 semifinal.

Milan outclassed United in a 3-0 second leg win in the San Siro for a 5-3 aggregate on their way to the title with a victory in the final in Athens against Liverpool.

Mourinho will meanwhile relish a return to Stamford Bridge to face his old club, although it won’t be his first game with Inter against the Blues. The two sides met in a pre-season game in July in America at the Rose Bowl, Pasadena with Chelsea winning 2-0.

Chelsea manager Carlo Ancelotti will also fancy the trip to Inter, having won the European title four times, twice as a player and twice in charge of AC Milan.

Germany’s Bayern Munich meanwhile meet Italy’s third representative Fiorentina in a pairing, which kept the Bundesliga side, who won the Champions League in 2001, happy.

“We had them last year and our experience with them has been good,” Bayern chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge said, recalling last season’s group stage when Bayern beat the Italians 3-0 at home and drew 1-1 away.

“It’s a team that went through the group stage very positively and we should definitely not make the mistake in believing we are the favourites.

“There are more difficult opponents for sure. Barcelona, Chelsea would have been awkward. It’s a draw we can manage but we need two good games.” Olympique Lyon are up against nine-time champions Real Madrid, who are keen to go all the way to the final in their own stadium.

“It’s a tough draw for us,” Lyon chairman Jean-Michel Aulas said.

“We know the quality of their squad and how strong they are and they know that they will play at home if they go to the final. It will be a motivating factor for them.” Two-time European champions Porto face last season’s semifinalists Arsenal, Olympiakos meet Girondins Bordeaux, and CSKA Moscow take on Sevilla in the other last 16 ties.

The first knockout round first leg ties will be played on February 16/17 and February 23/24 with the second legs scheduled for March 9/10 and March 16/17.


Real Madrid now just two points behind BarcelonaDecember 20, 2009

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