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Draw sees Beckham back at Man Utd & Mourinho at Chelsea

David Beckham, Sir Alex Ferguson, Jose Mourinho and Carlo Ancelotti
The draw sees Beckham, left, and Mourinho, second right, return to former clubs

Manchester United will face former midfielder David Beckham in the last 16 of the Champions League after they were paired with AC Milan in the draw.

It will be the first time since his 2003 departure that Beckham has faced the club where he made his name, with his return set for 9/10 or 16/17 March.

Chelsea, meanwhile, were drawn against ex-manager Jose Mourinho's Inter Milan.

Arsenal enjoyed arguably the easiest of the draws, against Porto, with the first leg on 16/17 or 23/24 February.

Holders Barcelona will face German side Stuttgart, while their La Liga rivals Real Madrid face a tricky tie against French side Lyon.

CHAMPIONS LEAGUE LAST 16 DRAW
Stuttgart v Barcelona
Olympiakos v Bordeaux
Inter Milan v CHELSEA
Bayern Munich v Fiorentina
CSKA Moscow v Seville
Lyon v Real Madrid
FC Porto v ARSENAL
AC Milan v MAN UTD

But the two draws of the round undoubtedly involve English clubs, with Manchester United and Chelsea both reunited with former heroes.

Beckham, who will rejoin AC Milan on loan from LA Galaxy in January, will be eligible to face United as long as he is registered by the Italian club before 1 February and is one of the three additions made to their Champions League squad.

The 34-year-old will surely relish his return to the club with whom he won six Premier League titles, the Champions League and two FA Cups.

"Beckham will get a fantastic reception, as players coming back usually do at Manchester United," said Manchester United director of communications Phil Townsend. "He was a terrific servant for the club and we all hope he will be playing.

"Manchester United against AC Milan is what this stage of the Champions League is all about.

PHIL MCNULTY'S BLOG

"We've played them four times in 52 years, I think, and not knocked them out yet, so hopefully our time will come this year."

United defender Patrice Evra said that he was relishing the prospect of playing against Beckham.

"I am very happy for David Beckham," he said. "He did a lot of great things for Manchester United and I want to say to him 'Welcome Home'.

"But I hope he plays badly and I intend to make sure he doesn't do very well."

United have beaten five of their last seven Italian opponents in the Champions League knockout stages but, significantly, the two occasions they lost were both to AC Milan: 2-0 on aggregate in the round of 16 in 2005 and 5-3 on aggregate in the semi-finals in 2007.

Mourinho's return to Stamford Bridge will be no less intriguing, reuniting the Blues with the man who led them to two league titles, an FA Cup and two League Cups before unexpectedly leaving in 2007.

All the clubs who come to Chelsea now have a point to prove

Chelsea chief executive Ron Gourlay

Chelsea coach Carlo Ancelotti was in charge of Inter's city rivals AC Milan last season - but denied there was any bad blood between him and Mourinho.

"If we don't have a good relationship, this game can be a good opportunity to return to a good relationship," said Ancelotti.

"There were some problems, some questions and discussions in the papers. Only this. Nothing important.

"I'm not ready to play mind games. I never will be ready to play these games. I prefer to play football matches. I have experience of what he'll do."

Inter director Luis Figo is anticipating a testing tie for his team.

"It's going to be difficult for both teams because they're both very strong and they're dominating their leagues," he said.

"Mourinho has nothing to prove. He arrived at Chelsea and brought titles to a club who had won nothing for a long time. The people love him so I think it's going to be a fantastic and emotional return."

It is important try to negotiate the first game well and to score away from home but it is a difficult draw

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger

That sentiment was echoed by Chelsea chief executive Ron Gourlay, who said: "I'm sure Jose will get a fantastic reaction from our fans and it will be quite a spectacle.

"All the clubs who come to Chelsea now have a point to prove. Jose had a fantastic impact on the club and we had some fantastic players then.

"(But) we have a fantastic coach who is unbelievably experienced at this level having won the competition twice as a player and twice as a coach. At this level, Carlo can take us to the next step."

Inter Milan currently lead rivals AC by five points at the top of Serie A and are sure to provide stiff opposition to the Premier League leaders.

Arsenal met Porto in the group stage of last season's competition - winning 4-0 at home but losing 2-0 in Portugal.

"The little advantage is that we have the second game at home," said manager Arsene Wenger of the draw.

"It is important try to negotiate the first game well and to score away from home but it is a difficult draw.

"I believe the tie is difficult but feasible."



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see also
Draws as they happened
18 Dec 09 |  Football
Liverpool face Unirea in Europe
18 Dec 09 |  Europe
Beckham signs AC Milan loan deal
02 Nov 09 |  Europe
AC Milan 3-0 Man Utd (Agg: 5-3)
02 May 07 |  Europe


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