The Champions League last 16 draw is complete and the results are official. Kudos to you if you actually woke up at 4 am this morning to catch it live (you’re a true soccer lover in our book).

Oddly enough, it was the exact same outcome as Wednesday’s rehearsal. Yes, we too are trying to figure out the math behind those probabilities, still working on it though.

Nonetheless, here are the results:

Real Madrid vs Manchester United
Arsenal vs Bayern Munich
Milan vs Barcelona
Borussia Dortmund vs Shakhtar Donetsk
Celtic vs Juventus
Porto vs Malaga
Valencia vs Paris Saint-Germain
Galatasaray vs Schalke

Arguably, the road only gets harder from here on. With the most talked about pairing this morning: Real Madrid vs. Manchester United. With both the English and the Spanish media calling it ‘mouth-watering’, but whether or not it’ll live up to its description only time will tell. On paper at least it does appear to have all the ingredients for a great showdown.

Not only because they’re both strong teams, but also because there’s a brief, yet exciting history behind the two clubs. Both teams haven’t gone head-to-head for the past nine years. The last time they did meet it was a feast for the eyes with Madrid triumphing 6-5 on aggregate.

As with this upcoming match, that one also featured a Ronaldo, the Brazilian who scored a hat-trick at Old Trafford. Only this time around it’ll be Cristiano Ronaldo. The Portuguese international will return to his old playground since his move in 2009.

Not to be left out of the equation, is the face-off between old rivals Sir Alex Ferguson and Jose Mourinho, two of the best coaches in the game. Both are strategic and excellent tacticians with either one able to outsmart the other.

Of course, this Madrid team isn’t the same team as that of 2003, which included the likes of Zidane, Figo, Ronaldo, Carlos, Makelele. In fact, some might argue this isn’t even the same team as last year. Madrid has been struggling domestically this season and are 13 points behind La Liga leaders Barcelona. Still, with its ability to play a very high-paced and attacking game, the Los Blancos will be a handful for United.

As for the Red Devils, the outcome of this phase will likely put to rest some of the criticism it’s been receiving about its strength on the European stage. This will test if United is still a powerhouse in Europe or only in the Premier League.

But with all the hype surrounding this match, let’s not forget about the seven other incredible matches in the competition.

As viewers it’s natural to gravitate to the teams we support or to the coupling of two (yet not the only) big names. Except that the most talked about coupling may or may not turn out to be the more entertaining soccer.

It seems like viewers of this sport are creatures of habit. Did we already forget about the group of death? Experts and pundits initially branded it not only as the toughest group (rightly so), but also as the one that would probably offer the most enjoyable soccer. Enjoyable? Meh! It was decent soccer, which never really lived up to expectations.

There were certainly individual teams in that group, which played exciting football such as Borussia Dortmund. But was it the best soccer in the Champions League group stage with respect to battles? You be the judge of that.

As for the Bayern and Arsenal match-up, while the former are clear favourites, one shouldn’t rule out the latter. After all, the Bavarians were upstaged at home in last year’s final by none other than Chelsea, who were the weaker team with all odds against them, but luck.

Then there’s Barcelona against AC Milan, a rivalry rich in history and championships that may prove to be a tighter race than expected. But the biggest surprise of the tournament were Celtic, which is why Antonio Conte just revealed today that he won’t underestimate them, especially after they managed to pull off a win against Barcelona.

I personally think Borussia Dortmund and Shakhtar Donetsk will provide viewers with some unbelievable soccer. But this is the beauty of the game as well as the Champions League. Not only is it unpredictable in nature, as last year validated, but it’s also offers something for an array of tastes.

England

Liverpool will face Zenit in the next round of Europa League.

Wenger squashes rumour, says he has the full support of the board.

Italy

Juve will not underestimate Celtic.

La Liga

Barcelona confirm Vilanova underwent surgery.

Germany

Thomas Tuchel taking Mainz 05 to new heights.

A great review of German soccer both internationally and domestically.

Bit and Bobs

Michael Cox discusses Champions League tactics.

Zidane goal in charity match.

Comments (24)

  1. Real should be able to make a meal of United. But their form as of late has been worrying to say the least, and whatever is behind that Jose needs to take care of before the new year.

    Borussia and Shakhtar is indeed going to be great. Either team would advance deservedly. PSG is going to find Valencia tough. Porto should advance pretty comfortably against Malaga, similarily Galata over Schalke (especially if Klaas-Jan leaves). If Celtic hold Juve off in Glasgow, get ready for an upset. Just a hunch.

    • While I recognize that the EPL has received some criticism this year, I think the idea that any team “should be able make a meal of United” is pretty fucking stupid. Underestimate them if you want.

      • No…Dan’s right.

        madrid gonna absolutely mind fck the $hit out of any english team. They should’ve beaten city by like 5 goals. They’ll finish the tie in the first leg lol.

        Unless…wait? What’s that? Oh yeah! If man u park the bus their chances improve quite dramatically hahahahahahahahahahaha

        • “mind fck the $hit ”

          You know you can swear on here right?

          Shit.

          See?

          • lol no need to get hyper up in here…*hypocrisy @ it’s finest*

            ronaldo, Di Maria, Ozil, Xabi Alonso, Benzema, Casillas

            WHAT THE HELL IS united GONNA DO?!?!?!

            TOM CLEVERLY?!?!?

            ANDERSON?!?!?!

            GIGGS?!?!?!

            FERDINAND?!?!?!

            RAFAEL?!?!?!

            HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

            1ST LEG WILL BE LIKE 5-1!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

          • U think Vidic is a tough guy or something?!?!?!

            HAVE YOU SEEN PEPE?!?!?!

            HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

            HE’S GOING TO KICK ROONEY’S AND VAN PERSIE’S ASSES HAHAHAHAHAHAHAH

          • ooooohhhhh!!!

            Now I understand where the confusion is coming from…you are dyslexic right?

            hahahah sorry. Next time I’ll spell it out…hahahahaha

      • Exactly what is there to fear about United at this point? Their vaunted defence? Their world-class midfield? Like I said, Madrid’s been struggling, but there’s time to fix the problems and rally the troops for the Cup run. United has Van Persie and not much else. That works in England, but if you think Jose Mourinho is going to let RVP run roughshot on his team you have another thing coming.

    • If Madrid can “make a meal of” united,United can definitely beat Madrid as well.both teams doesn’t have good defense and very dangerous up front

      • Madrid’s D is pretty solid when everybody plays to their potential. A back four of Coentrao-Pepe-Varane-Ramos or Marcelo-Pepe-Ramos-Arbeloa certainly is more appealing than Evra-Smalling-Ferdinand-Rafael…

      • omg…you guys serious?!?!

        YOU GUYS SERIOUSLY THINK HAHAHAHA united EVEN HAS A CHANCE?!?!?!

        HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

        wow…unless you got a memo from ferguson saying he’s going to park the bus…they have close to 0% chance.

      • “both teams don’t have good defence he says…”

        Forgets to mention one team has 3 world cup winners in defence while the other has a 7th choice Brazillian right back (Rafael), a jumped up Frenchman (Evra), an adorable elderly English gentleman (Rio), and one…just one monster (Vidic).

        Please don’t say, “but Didier!! They have smalling, phil jones and valencia too!!!!!!!!!”

        hahahahahahahahahaha omg…

  2. Are players that played in the Europa knockout stage (or champs league teams that got knocked out) still cup tied and not allowed to participate in the champs league if transferred?

    • Champions League regulation 17.18: One player per club who would normally be cup-tied can be registered and eligible to play, so long as his previous club did not field him in the same competition

      So, to answer your question, yes, you can sign one player from a Europa team to play on a CL team.

  3. Aside from parking the bus…there’s only one other way united could muster a win…

    Give it up for!

    *drum roll*

    http://footyreflex.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/howard-webb-meme.jpg

  4. man u madrid a great tie but united having a world class midfield hardly bud!!! that is a real weakness and could be the tipping point in this match up my gunners dont have much of a hope in hell against bayern but at least it isnt fucking barca again and perhaps podolski will help us with the familiarity he has in german football bring on febuary

  5. Wait…did I just read that correctly…???

    “As for the Bayern and Arsenal match-up, while the former are clear favourites, one shouldn’t rule out the latter. After all, the Bavarians were upstaged at home in last year’s final by none other than Chelsea, who were the weaker team with all odds against them, but luck.”

    “…one shouldn’t rule out the latter…” -(O_o)-

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA WHO’S WRITING THIS STUFF?? HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

    So pretty much one should not rule out the “latter” if arsenal go in there and park the biggest bus in European Cup history after signing me, Drogba, in the January transfer window…

    Some first class analyses everywhere today I see…hahahahahahahahahahaha

    • this is what happens when you are signed to a chinese team

      HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

    • mr drogba it seems to me u have never watched the arsenal if u had u would know that the gunners dont know how to park a bus even when they should and doing that over 180 minutes is alot different than over 90 mins think before u type and post folks

  6. Apparently they shouldn’t bother playing this next round of games. Too bad – I was looking forward to some good games.

    • No no no.

      It’s simple.

      Just don’t watch the games involving english teams.

      hHAHAHAHAHAHAAHAHAHAHAAHAHAHAHA

      Well…actually yeah, go ahead and watch them…if you want to see the gulf in class between German/Spain and england hahahahahahahaha.

  7. Please ban didier drogba!! The comments section has become a farce

  8. While Madrid clearly has a better side I would not be surprised if united pulled an upset it’s impossible to pick an obvious winner from any of these games
    Can’t wait

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