After what was a really controversial sequence of events, the UCL Round of 16 Draw is finally official. The first attempt of having the draw was unsuccessful as there were some issues with Manchester United not being included as potential opponents to Atletico Madrid. In the end, after a brief investigation the draw has been declared void. Hence, UEFA needed to entirely redo it later that day. Their first attempt put up Messi versus Ronaldo for yet another time in their career. It also provided us with a classic derby between offense and defence as Bayern Munich were drawn against Atletico Madrid. The question was whether the new draw will disappoint us or make us even more enthusiastic.
Some teams had quite a bit of luck in the second and final draw as they escaped from a better team to play a far more surmountable opponent. This was the case with Bayern Munich and Ajax. They were first drawn to play Atletico Madrid and PSG respectively. However, after the redraw Lewandowski and his Bayern will face RB Salzburg, while Ajax will travel to Portugal where they will go head-to-head with Benfica.
Other teams were quite misfortunate as they missed on playing against a much weaker opponent after being redrawn against a top-tier team. The biggest loser of these circumstances was Real Madrid who went from Benfica to Paris-Saint Germain. Kylian Mbappe will have to go up against his dream team from Spain. Messi and Neymar will team up yet another time against a well-known opponent. Sergio Ramos is also expected to make a comeback to Santiago Bernabeu, this time wearing a different jersey. Atletico Madrid were drawn against Manchester United which is probably the second most anticipated game for the Round of 16. The third big rivalry in that stage of the tournament will be between Inter and Liverpool.
The top-favourites to lift the UCL trophy in the summer, Manchester City, will have an easy task facing off Sporting Lisbon. The reigning champions from Chelsea shouldn’t face much trouble in their matchup against Lille. Benfica and Ajax will be a really captivating derby as both teams are looking really good this season. In the last match, Juventus who are struggling a lot in their campaign will have to play against Villareal.
The full draw for UCL Round of 16:
Benfica – Ajax
Atletico Madrid – Manchester United
Villareal – Juventus
Chelsea – Lille
RB Salzburg – Bayern Munich
Inter – Liverpool
Sporting Lisbon – Manchester City
Real Madrid – Paris-Saint Germain