Today’s draw for the next round of the Champions League threw up some mouth watering clashes.
The tie that the media will be salivating over is the all Spanish affair between Rafa’s Liverpool and Real Madrid. This means of course that there will be at least one Spanish team in the quarter finals.
The English clubs all drew Italian opposition.
Manchester United are up against Italian Serie A leaders Inter Milan. On paper this is probably the toughest test for Shrek and the other swamp characters against foreign opposition. (Inter went six points clear of Juventus in Serie A last weekend.)
The return of Jose Mourihno to these shores will attract the very same press that hounded him throughout his time with Chelsea. Whether or not he does his famous sprint and knee slide remains to be seen but I’m sure he’ll take a nice bottle of red with him to share with Sir Alex. Whether or not Sir Alex will be in the right mood or not is anyone’s guess. He’s not a happy bunny at the moment. Bless him.
Wenger’s young boys are up against the side that topped Chelsea’s Champions League group, Roma. I can already predict that Arsenal will play the best football ever seen but after a brave performance in Rome will ultimately lose to a team that only won because Arsenal’s team is half the age of the Roma side.
Chelsea have been paired up with the Old Lady of Italy. Whom coincidently are managed by everyone’s favourite uncle. Of course I’m talking about Juventus and Claudio Ranieri.
Claudio captured the hearts of all football fans with the dignity he displayed in his last season as Chelsea’s manager. Ultimately Mourihno proved to be the right manager but without hindsight it was gut wrenching to witness the way that Claudio was treated.
If I were to pick my favourite Claudio moment it would be his reaction to the win at Highbury in the quarter final of the Champions League. His tears of happiness were shared by all Chelsea fans who witnessed Wayne Bridge’s winning goal. We’ve seen players and fans shed tears of upset after a defeat but to witness a grown man with a large slice of life experience behind him release that kind of emotion pulled at the heart strings of many football fans. It demonstrated the amount of pressure that Kenyon and the like had put onto him.
The home tie versus Juventus is on the 25th February 2009 with the away leg on the 10th March 2009
Here is the draw in full:
CHAMPIONS LEAGUE DRAW
Chelsea v Juventus
Villarreal v Panathinaikos
Sporting Lisbon v Bayern Munich
Atletico Madrid v FC Porto
Lyon v Barcelona
Real Madrid v Liverpool
Arsenal v Roma
Inter Milan v Manchester United