Real Madrid director Emiliano Butragueno predicts a special night for Cristiano Ronaldo when he returns to Manchester United in the last 16 of the Champions League.
As a result of today’s draw in Nyon, the Portuguese striker will play at Old Trafford for the first time since moving to the Spanish capital for €98m in 2009.
Butragueno, Real Madrid’s director of institutional relations, believes it will be a special match for Ronaldo and the two managers, Jose Mourinho and Alex Ferguson.
He told www.uefa.com: “I am sure it will be a special game for him. I’m sure he’s going to do his best to help us qualify. It’s going to very, very special for him.
“It will be a thrilling experience for everyone. Manchester United are not only a great team but a great organisation known around the world.
“But we know it’s going to be tough. Sir Alex Ferguson has been there over 25 years and he’s a fantastic manager.
“He knows how to get the best out of his players and they have top players, but we are Real Madrid and we will try our best.
“I know the coaches have a great relationship. We are very happy with him (Mourinho) and I hope he’s going to lead the team to the Champions League to make our fans feel proud of the team.”
Ferguson told Manchester United’s official website: “Well, it’s the tie of the round.
“It’s a great opportunity for our fans to see Cristiano again and also for me to meet up with Jose again – I’ll need to order some good wine!”
AC Milan sporting director Umberto Gandini is looking forward to rekindling old rivalries as the Rossoneri were drawn against Spanish giants Barcelona.
Milan met the Catalans four times in last season’s competition, twice in the group stages with Barca taking four points, before the Rossoneri exited the quarter-finals courtesy of a 3-1 aggregate defeat.
Gandini told www.uefa.com: “Last season we faced them twice (the group stage and quarter-finals), this time only once fortunately. We are now used to playing in Catalonia.
“We face a perfect machine even if they had more problems than usual this season in the group stage. This is the highest hurdle we could face but if we manage to pass it we can go all the way.”
Barca coach Tito Vilanova was this morning having cancer treatment on his parotid gland before undergoing six weeks of chemotherapy.
Gandini said in support: “We are all very close to Tito Vilanova and his family and we wish him all the best for his surgery.
“We hope he will be on the bench against us.”
Fellow Italian side Juventus face a trip to Celtic, a prospect which filled club representative and former Bianconeri winger Pavel Nedved with fear.
“When I saw the draw I was scared,” the Czech told juventus.com. “It could have been much worse, though.
“We have to treat Celtic with the utmost respect. They were they only team to beat Barcelona and they deserved to qualify.
“For a lot of players this is a first Champions League experience and we have to be at our best for this challenge.”
Celtic boss Neil Lennon told Sky Sports News: “Well in terms of glamour it’s a beauty.
“Juventus are one of the great traditional European teams. They’re current Italian champions and finished the group stage very strongly.
“We will take it as it comes, we’re looking forward to the games now and I’m sure our supporters will be as well.”
Last season’s runners-up Bayern Munich will take on Arsenal, and Gunners boss Arsene Wenger will meet an old friend in chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge.
He told www.uefa.com: “I think we enter this match as the slight favourites, but we can be making the mistake of underestimating them.
“But by no means will this be an easy game for us. I look forward to our game in London and back home in Munich.”
In the other matches German champions Borussia Dortmund face Shakhtar Donetsk, Valencia play Paris St Germain, Porto encounter Spanish side Malaga and Galatasaray will come up against Schalke.
Dortmund general manager Hans-Joachim Watzke told his club’s website: “It’s not really the opponents we wanted.
“It is a very, very difficult task, but we showed in the group stage that we can succeed against strong opponents.”