Messi, Ronaldo face Madrid trips instead of each other in redone CL

Messi, Ronaldo face Madrid trips instead of each other in redone CL

Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo face trips to Madrid instead of playing each other in the Champions League last 16, after Monday’s draw had to be redone due to glitches in the initial proceedings.

Messi’s Paris Saint-Germain face record 13-time winners Real Madrid and Ronaldo’s Manchester United their crosstown rivals Atletico Madrid.

Both stars will know their opponents well with Ronaldo having played for almost a decade at Real and Messi spending his entire career at Barcelona until last summer.

Real won their last date in the same round in 2018 and the two sides also met in the 2019-20 group stage, with PSG winning 3-0 at home and drawing 2-2 at the Bernabeu.

The game also sees long-time Real captain Sergio Ramos playing against the club he left for PSG in summer, while PSG forward Kylian Mbappe has reportedly been a long-time Real target.

The original draw had pitted the two icons against each other but was declared void because teams were not correctly placed into pots as part as the complicated draw proceedings.

That showed early when United were originally drawn to face Villarreal which was not possible because they played in the same group, just as teams from the same domestic league couldn’t meet.

UEFA then nullified the vote, saying: “Following a technical problem with the software of an external service provider that instructs the officials as to which teams are eligible to play each other, a material error occurred in the draw for the UEFA Champions League round of 16.”

The new draw made no difference for title holders Chelsea because they were drawn again to face French side Lille who are considered the weakest team.

Six-time winners Bayern Munich will meanwhile be happy to have avoided an original date with Atletico and getting last 16 debutants Salzburg instead for a short trip to Austria.

Bayern beat Salzburg 6-2 and 3-1 in last season’s group stage and while naming the Austrians “a young and highly talented team” chairmann Oliver Kan said that “of course we are favourites in both games. We are looking forward to the duels.”

Salzburg were originally to play Liverpool who now face a tougher task in a duel of ex-winners against Italian champions Inter Milan, who they however beat at the same stage in 2008.

English champions Manchester City appear to have a kind draw by getting Portugal’s Sporting, Lisbon rivals Benfica face Ajax in another duel of former winners, and Villarreal play Juventus.

Benfica had originally drawn Real and the Spaniards will feel hard done now pitted against Messi’s PSG who like City are still waiting for their first title in the elite event.

First leg matches are set for February 15/16 and 22/23 with the second legs on March 8/9 and 15/16. The final is May 28 in St Petersburg.

From this season on the away goal rule no longer applies, meaning that all ties tied on aggregate after 90 minutes in the second leg go into extra time.