Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo meet again when their clubs Paris Saint-Germain and Manchester United FC were on Monday pitted against each other in a Champions League last 16 draws.
United was initially drawn against Villarreal by former Russian great Andrey Arshavin but that was a technical mistake because the two already played in the same group.
It then appeared that United’s name was not added to those from the other teams who could face Atletico Madrid, and there were reported calls for the draw to be repeated.
Messi and Ronaldo are at new clubs this season with Ronaldo back at United after a term at Juventus while Messi moved to PSG because Barcelona FC could no longer afford him.
The two clubs last met in the same round in 2019 with United reversing a 2-0 home defeat with a last-minute 3-1 at the Parc des Princes. This time around the second leg is at Old Trafford.
They also met in last season’s group with each side winning the game away from home.
UEFA said that Messi and Ronaldo have met in 36 previous matches, with Messi finishing on the winning side 16 times to Ronaldo’s 11. Messi scored 22 goals in those games and Ronaldo’s 21.
Villarreal was meanwhile drawn to face Manchester City.
Titleholders Chelsea and 2019 winners Liverpool appeared to have kind draws in the form of Lille and the last 16-newcomers Salzburg.
Six-time winners Bayern Munich face a tricky task against Diego Simeone’s Spanish champion Atletico who eliminated the Germans in their last knock-out meeting in the 2016 semi-finals.
“It’s a good draw.
A good, interesting opponent in a beautiful city. I’m looking forward to it.
It will be an exciting tie against an emotional coach,” Munich coach Julian Nagelsmann said.
Nagelsmann beat Atletico in the then one-legged 2020 quarter-final, and Bayern and Atletico last met in the past season’s group stage, with Bayern winning 4-0 at home and drawing 1-1 in Spain.
Benfica v record champions Real Madrid, Sporting v Juventus and Inter Milan v Ajax are the other ties.
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.